can you sue a hospital

If you think your doctor’s negligent medical care has harmed you, you may wonder, “Can I sue my doctor for medical malpractice?” If your doctor’s negligent treatment occurred in a hospital, you may want to know, “Can you sue a hospital?”

As discussed in a previous blog post, doctors and hospitals have a legal duty to provide treatment that meets certain professional standards. Common types of medical malpractice include harmful errors in making diagnoses, prescribing or administering medication, performing surgery, administering anesthesia, and delivering babies.

If the doctor was negligent in these or other types of treatment, you may be able to bring a lawsuit against the doctor for medical malpractice. But what about the hospital where the treatment was performed?

When Can You Sue a Hospital for Medical Malpractice?

You may be able to sue a hospital under certain circumstances:

  1. If the doctor was negligent and the doctor was an employee of the hospital, the hospital might be held liable as the doctor’s employer. First, you must find out if the doctor was a hospital employee. It’s common for doctors to be independent contractors rather than employees, but whether a doctor is an employee or an independent contractor is sometimes complicated. In that case, a lawyer can help.
  2. If you were harmed by the negligence of someone other than the doctor and that person is an employee of the hospital, the hospital might be liable. For example, nurses and technicians are typically hospital employees. The hospital might be liable as the negligent professional’s employer in this situation.
  3. Sometimes, you may be able to hold a hospital liable for a doctor’s negligence even if the doctor was not a hospital employee. This situation may arise if the hospital failed to disclose to you that the doctor was not their employee, or if the hospital knew or should have known that the doctor was dangerous or incompetent. 

There are also situations where a hospital can be negligent for its own actions (or failures to take action) rather than being liable for the actions of its employees. For example, a hospital could fail to screen and train its personnel properly. Or, it could be liable for negligence if the hospital’s equipment is not properly sanitized. You might be able to sue if you slipped and fell on the hospital premises in a puddle of liquid that had not been promptly cleaned up. You could have a discrimination claim if the hospital treated you unequally based on certain characteristics. 

In these situations, you could sue the hospital for negligence or discrimination. These types of lawsuits may provide substantial settlements or jury awards. They may very well not, however, be medical malpractice claims. It’s only when a doctor or other provider commits medical malpractice that a hospital might also, in some situations, be held liable for medical malpractice as well.

Contact the Personal Injury Attorneys at Garmey Law

Medical malpractice is a complex area of the law. You need an experienced lawyer to guide you through the process. The medical malpractice legal team at Garmey Law has more than 60 years of combined experience helping people get substantial compensation for the harm they have suffered. Contact us for a free consultation to find out more.