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Do Medical Malpractice Victims Sue Doctors or Hospitals?

July 26, 2021

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Medicine is an inexact science. That means that two patients with the same conditions and the same treatments may have different outcomes, with one getting better and one staying the same—or even getting worse. Although worsening health is always a possibility in medicine, many times a patient getting worse is preventable and the result of negligent doctors and healthcare facilities.

If you or someone you love was recently a victim of medical malpractice, you’re likely wondering how the mistake was made, who made it, and who can be held liable: your doctor or the hospital they work for. This is a common question, and it must be answered quickly and accurately for medical malpractice victims to maximize their chances of getting full compensation.

Medical Malpractice Victims Typically Sue Doctors When…

They are harmed by doctors in private practice.

Around 45% of doctors work in private practice in the U.S. When medical malpractice occurs in these doctors’ offices, they are usually held solely liable. However, that can change if they work as employees of other doctors or administrators who run individual or networks of walk-in clinics and other healthcare facilities.

They are harmed by doctors who are independent contractors.

Doctors who aren’t officially employed by clinics or hospitals have greater freedom in when and where they practice, but they also face significant liability. That’s because they aren’t “protected” from medical malpractice by a hospital, healthcare clinic, or another employer, and therefore must purchase huge insurance policies in case they are sued.

They are harmed by doctors’ obvious negligence.

Even when doctors are employed by hospitals, private practices, or a network of healthcare facilities, other providers, administrators, and owners may be absolved of responsibility when those doctors act negligently in a blatant way that others couldn’t have known about or prevented.

Medical Malpractice Victims Typically Sue Hospitals When…

They are harmed by miscommunication or administrative errors.

Sometimes, doctors make serious and even fatal mistakes that were out of their control. That can happen when patient charts get mixed up or communications break down concerning critical aspects of patient care.

They are harmed by an inexperienced or unqualified doctor.

It’s up to hospitals to ensure that the doctors they hire, or contract have the right education, credentials, licensure, certifications, and experience for their jobs. But that doesn’t always happen—and sometimes, unqualified doctors are asked to make diagnoses or perform procedures that are far from their expertise or training.

They are harmed by a provider’s negligence while at a hospital.

Although there are certain scenarios where only an individual doctor may be liable for medical malpractice and not their employer (i.e., a hospital or clinic), in many cases, their employer can and should be held liable, too. That’s because ultimately, the organizations employing those negligent providers are considered negligent themselves by allowing their patients to suffer preventable harm.

Knowing Who to File a Medical Malpractice Claim Against Requires Experience

The previous scenarios are only guidelines for medical malpractice claims and determining who can and should be sued after a preventable illness or injury. Every case is different, and the circumstances of what led to medical malpractice vary from case to case and person to person. From a patient and family level, it can be almost impossible to pinpoint where the fault lies in a medical malpractice claim or even who can be held liable.

That’s why it’s so important to get medical treatment right away if you suspect medical malpractice and to contact an experienced law firm. Getting evaluated by another doctor can paint a clear picture of what happened, which can help prove liability. Meanwhile, calling a law firm can make it easier to collect evidence that can further strengthen your claim.

We’re Ready to Put Our Experience to Work for You

At Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy, we know that experiencing worsening health after a diagnosis or treatment that was supposed to make you feel better can be shocking, frustrating, and traumatic. You may have a mountain of medical bills for a treatment that didn’t work or that left you feeling worse than ever, and now you need even more treatment to correct the new problems.

Our Ohio medical malpractice lawyers want to help you get the money you’re owed for what you’ve been through. We have decades of experience assisting people who have been in your shoes, and we know what it takes to win. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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