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How to Sue a Hospital for Medical Mistreatment?

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22nd Jan 2021

In a situation where you’re a subject of medical mistreatment (malpractice), you might want to sue your hospital. You see, financial compensation may not be enough to make up for all the pain that you have endured but it can make up for all the profit you’ve lost due to your inability to work. It can also cover all your medical expenses which, in some cases, can be quite high. Lastly, physical and emotional pain may leave you scarred in so many ways and this compensation may help you cope with the situation by paying for therapists or acquiring specialized tools. Still, how does one sue a hospital?

Check if the hospital is liable

The first step is to determine whether the hospital is liable, to begin with. Sure, in some cases a hospital may be liable for the negligence of their staff but their liability is still not a sure thing. Things like misdiagnosis, negligence, mistakes in prescribing or administering medication and surgical errors are negligence of the physician. Failure to monitor the patient properly, forgetting to check important vital signs or bad administering of medication are negligence instances conducted by nurses. The key thing to determine whether the hospital or the specialist is liable depends on whether they’re the employee or an independent contractor. Speaking of which…

Check if the doctor is an employee or an independent contractor

One thing that the majority of people are unaware of is the fact that the doctor may not actually be a direct employee of the hospital. There are two tests to determine whether this is the case. If the hospital sets the fee and working hours of the doctor, they’re most likely an employee. This is virtually what determines the issue of liability. If they’re not an employee, you cannot sue the hospital. You would have to sue the physician/nurse in question, instead. So, in order not to make this mistake, you need to check if the doctor is an employee.

What is medical negligence?

The most important thing is being able to tell if the sequence of actions that took place was actually medical negligence or not. Failure to diagnose is just one form of medical negligence. Improper treatment that caused the injury is another thing that falls under this category. The same goes for failure to warn a patient of known risks, which is just as likely. As long as the doctor’s negligence, lack of proper diagnosis or failure to issue a mandatory warning took place, this is medical negligence and something that you can sue for.

Find specialists

The concept of medical negligence is such a widespread occurrence that there’s an entire branch of law that specializes in it. Keep in mind that this is a field that’s quite complex and peculiar, which is why getting a general practitioner of the law might not be the best course of action. Getting someone with similar previous cases will ensure that you always get the right advice and that the legal counsel you receive is well-placed and timely. They will also be more skilled at necessary investigatory work, seeing as how gathering the evidence may determine the whole ordeal.

Suing a doctor vs. suing a hospital

The last thing you need to understand is that suing your doctor and suing your hospital are not one and the same. Previously, we’ve discussed the issue of suing either a doctor or a hospital, based on whether they’re a direct employee of the hospital. However, there’s one more thing to consider – the non-employee liability. Namely, a hospital may be liable in some scenarios despite the employment status of the doctor. If, for instance, patients are not informed that the doctor is not an employee (like in the ER where there’s often no time for such information), the patient may be able to sue the hospital.

In conclusion

Sometimes, medical treatment just doesn’t end up with a happy end. However, if this bad outcome is a direct result of medical negligence, a patient may be able to sue. No, this isn’t malicious or even vengeful – it’s protecting your own interests and minimizing the chance that something like this will ever happen again. By holding the medical system accountable, you’re working towards improving it as a whole. In other words, it’s acting in the interest of the general good as much as fighting for interests of your own.