Medical malpractice affects hundreds of people every year. But when it occurs, the party who should be held liable isn’t always apparent. In fact, while the doctor who caused the injury is usually to blame, others involved—including the hospital where the malpractice occurred—may also be at fault.
When is a hospital liable for medical malpractice?
If the doctor who caused you harm is an employee of the hospital, then the hospital will most likely be held accountable under the theory of employer liability, or vicarious liability. This theory states that an employer is liable for employees’ actions that occur during the course of employment.
A doctor is considered an employee of the hospital if one or more of the following is true.
- The hospital sets the doctor’s fees
- The hospital controls the hours the doctor works
- The doctor otherwise has a relationship with the hospital that is demonstrative of an employee-employer relationship
When the Doctor Isn’t an Employee
When the doctor isn’t an employee of the hospital—which is most common—but is instead an independent contractor, proving medical malpractice on the part of the hospital is a bit more difficult.
However, the hospital may still be considered responsible if one of these situations applies to you.
- The hospital knew that the doctor had a history of negligent behavior and still allowed the doctor to practice within the hospital
- The hospital did not specify to the patient that the physician was not a hospital employee
- If a hospital policy, procedure, action, etc. in any way contributed to the patient’s injuries
Also, the following people can be held liable for medical malpractice if they contributed to your injury.
- Medical technicians
- Other hospital staff
Time Limits for Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim
Even if a hospital did do something negligent contributing to a patient’s harm, the victim must still adhere to the state’s statute of limitations in order to recover compensation. The time limit for this is two years in Pennsylvania.
Why You Need a Medical Malpractice Lawyer
There is a variety of components that go into filing a successful medical malpractice claim for damages. Without legal knowledge, filing a claim can be very confusing, and often requires more work than it yields in benefits. Instead of attempting to file a medical malpractice claim and determine liability on your own, hire a medical malpractice lawyer.