Who Is Liable in a Medical Malpractice Case?

When people file a medical malpractice lawsuit, the initial complaint may include a laundry list of known and unknown defendants. However, as the case develops through the discovery of evidence, that list can transform, adding and subtracting names to and from the defendant’s column. This blog discusses how liability for doctors can be linked.

Liability of Different Doctors

Doctors are liable for injuries that result from their failure to exercise proper medical care to prevent unnecessary injuries during the professional medical treatment of their patients. In today’s healthcare system, treatment can involve several different physicians, specialists, medical groups, and hospitals. Often, other doctors can be found vicariously liable for another doctor’s malpractice.

Doctors who may be vicariously liable for medical malpractice include:

  • Employer-Employees. Doctors who own and operate their own clinics might be liable for the malpractice of any treating doctors if the patient sought treatment from the clinic rather than a specific doctor.
  • Referring Physicians. Referring doctors are only liable for the malpractice of the referral doctor if their affiliation amounts to a partnership or employment relationships.
  • Consulting Physicians. If a doctor was consulted for medical advice, they might be liable for the treating doctor’s malpractice if their involvement exceeded informal treatment of the plaintiff, effectively creating a physician-patient relationship.
  • Professional Corporations. Professional corporations are liable for their employee’s malpractice, as well as the negligence of their non-medical staff.

Liability of Hospitals

In general, hospitals can be found vicariously liable for injuries caused by the malpractice and negligence of their employees which arise during the course and scope of their employment.

Hospital liability includes:

  • Medical Negligence. When an injury results from the negligent act of the hospital staff during their performance of necessary medical services, the hospital may be liable.
  • Ordinary Negligence. If a patient sustains an injury resulting from the hospital staff’s negligence – such as a slip and fall injury – the hospital is also liable to the extent it assumed an applicable duty of care in such situations.
  • Negligent Credentialing. Hospitals owe admitted patients a duty to hire and utilize competent doctors. They are liable for the malpractice of any doctor who would not be allowed to practice in a similarly situated hospital exercising ordinary care in determining their medical competence.
  • State Hospitals. Hospitals that are owned and operated by a political subdivision of the state of Cleveland are liable for the malpractice of employees to the extent that the sovereign immunity was waived.

Injured by Medical Malpractice?

If you were injured as a result of the medical negligence of a doctor, nurse, or hospital employee, you might be entitled to receive recompense under the law. At Spangenberg Shibley & Liber LLP, we have years of experience litigating medical malpractice injury cases. You should not have to deal with recovering your health while fighting to recover compensation for preventable medical injuries. That is why we are committed to taking care of the technical legal issues to ensure your right to a remedy for your injuries.

To schedule an appointment with one of our medical malpractice attorneys, call us at (216) 600-0114 or contact us online today.

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