When it comes to preparing a civil pleading to seek one’s negligence-based damages, a victim may consider all of the people who could have contributed to the hazards that led to their harm. In a case of medical malpractice those people may include doctors, nurses, hospital staff members and others who work as medical or support personnel. However, there is one “person” that may not jump out as a possible medical malpractice defendant – the hospital where the medical malpractice happened.
Hospitals can be privately owned entities or publicly held corporations. In either case, under the law they are considered people. They have a legal identity and as such they can be sued when the actions they take lead to others’ losses.
While a hospital itself cannot botch a surgery or fail to monitor a patient, it is responsible for hiring staff who meet the requisite standards of care for their professional fields. When the employee of a hospital makes a mistake that causes a victim to suffer then the hospital, by virtue of putting that employee in a position where they were able to act with negligence is also vicariously liable for their actions.
An exception to this concept can arise if the medical professional who acts with negligence is an independent contractor instead of an employee of the hospital. Independent contractors are not employed by the entities where they work and therefore generally their negligence does not elevate to the hospitals and medical centers where they practice. Individuals who have questions about this potential exception should discuss their issues with medical malpractice attorneys.
In sum, a victim of medical malpractice likely can sue the hospital where their incident occurred. However, every case of medical malpractice is different and as such readers should rely on the counsel of their personal injury attorneys and not this post for their legal advice.