Negligence in a hospital setting is a medical malpractice and range from occupational therapist, physician to nursing malpractice. Also, it implies that the hospital administration was negligent. In case you are a victim of a medical malpractice, Grand Junction Medical Malpractice Lawyer is here for you.
Litigation covers two main types, that is negligence of hospital employees leading to liability, and the negligence of the hospital itself through its mistakes in hiring or supervising employees and maintaining equipment.
The liability for the negligence of hospital employees is filed in accordance with the vicarious liability law, where employers including hospitals are liable for the negligence of their employees. The hospital is held liable for any malpractice committed by the nurse, physician, and other health care providers employed in the facility.
As to hospital liability, vicarious liability covers mistakes due to failure to maintain or repair equipment or supervise or hire employees.
Hospital Liability for Employee’s Negligence
As much as most health care service providers working in hospitals are independent contractors, most are direct employees of the hospitals. The hospital is liable for any negligence committed by the employees. The victim is entitled to sue the hospital for negligence or malpractice. Additionally, the victim can sue the employee too.
What are the types of employees who can be involved in the medical malpractice case?
In most cases, negligence committed by physicians fall in the following cases:
- Negligence affecting childbirth or pregnancy
- Mistakes in administering or prescribing medications
- Surgical errors
If a physician working for the hospital is liable for any of the above medical malpractices, the victim can sue the hospital along with the physician. However, it’s easy to sue the hospital than an independent contractor as some investigations are unnecessary.
Nurses have an independent professional duty to their patients. As much as the nurse is not directly in charge of offering medical care to the patient, there are tasks that they perform that are part of patient care. The tasks include feeding and monitoring patients. Plus, they administer medications. Therefore, nurses are liable for negligent mistakes committed by:
- Failing to properly monitor a patient
- Failing to take the vital signs at proper times
- Failing to enter nursing records into the chart of that patient
- Administering wrong medication or medication amount
- Failing to administer medication at appropriate time
- Failing to respond to the patient’s distress call or report suspicious complaints and symptoms to the doctor in charge.
These failures constitute negligence and if the nurse is an employee of the hospital, the acts constitute hospital negligence which is legally liable.
Irrespective of whether mental health, occupational or physical therapists, they too can be negligent. A therapist may fail to follow instructions given by the physician correctly or manipulate the patient injuries strongly causing more injuries like re-breaking a bone or re-tearing a muscle when the patient is under rehabilitation.
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Hospital Vicarious Liability for Negligence by Independent Contractors
If the nurse, physician or therapist is not a direct employee of the hospital, can the liability stand? Yes, it stands. The hospital is vicariously liable for the negligent actions of the independent contractor. The court will examine the factors like terms of employment between that independent contractor and the hospital. For example, the nature of control the hospital has over the job performance and conditions of the contractor and how he/she is paid.
The more control the hospital has, the higher the chances that the court will find the hospital liable and treat the independent contractor as an employee instead.
A hospital can be directly negligent by failing to do repairs or maintain its equipment. Plus, the failure to supervise or hire employees resulting in the negligent activities makes the hospital vicariously liable. How is this so?
By failing to verify that the nurses, therapists or physicians are licensed health care providers makes them liable to negligence. Plus, if the hospital fails to check if the employees are up to date on the license requirement like continuing medical education, they can be sued for vicarious liability.
Other instances include, failing to put in place proper patient safety protocol when it comes to sanitation, preventing patient falls, hand washing, updating medical developments and patient safety. Failing to dismiss incompetent staff, unsafe or unlicensed employees. Victims can sue the hospital for violating patient confidentiality or mishandling the patient records.
Contact Our Experienced Hospital and Vicarious Liability Lawyers Today
Establishing vicarious liability is a complex matter and you need a good Grand Junction medical malpractice lawyer to help with the lawsuit. Contact a reputable lawyer to ensure you get justice.