Many doctors don’t have private practices and offices; instead, they perform their work within a hospital. This is true of many surgeons, anesthesiologists, obstetricians, and more. When a medical error occurs, then, liability can become complicate: is the doctor liable, or the hospital in which the error occurred accountable?
When the Hospital Contributed to the Error
If the hospital as an institution in any way contributed to the medical error that caused patient harm, then it’s likely that the hospital will be held liable—or at least partially liable—for damages.
Examples of ways in which a hospital may contribute to an error may include the following.
- Employing a person who contributed to the error, such as a nurse
- Allowing a doctor to practice who has a record of malpractice
- Failure to properly train staff
- Poor institutional practices
What’s more, if the doctor is an employee of the hospital, then the hospital may be held indirectly liable under the doctrine of employer liability. This is also called the doctrine of vicarious liability.
When the Error Was the Doctor’s Alone
Sometimes, a hospital in no way contributes to the error made by a doctor within its facilities. If the physician is not an employee of the hospital and does something negligent on his or her own that is not influenced by the hospital, then the doctor will probably be held solely liable.
Regardless of who is liable, though, the types of damages recoverable are often the same.
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Death benefits (if applicable)
How do I know who’s liable?
Determining whether or not a doctor should be held responsible for an error, or if the hospital should instead be held accountable based on the above, can be complicated. To figure out where liability lies, thorough investigation into the relationship between the hospital and doctor, the hospital’s policies, and events preceding the malpractice is necessary.
You will have to prove the negligence (prove medical malpractice) of the at-fault party, and demonstrate that the negligence was the direct cause of your harm, to recover compensation.
How a Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Attorney Can Help
For assistance in collecting evidence, filing a medical malpractice claim—per law, one must file in two years—and proving negligence and liability, call a medical malpractice attorney. To set up a free case consultation to discuss who might be liable for your medical injuries, call Cordisco & Saile LLC. You can reach us at 215-642-2335 today.