Hospital negligence refers to an incident of medical malpractice that is caused by an employee of a hospital or similar healthcare facility. Hospital negligence claims are usually considered distinct from medical malpractice claims that are filed against a physician. If you were harmed by negligent medical care, you need to understand what constitutes hospital negligence and whether you may have such a claim.
Hospitals Usually Are Not Liable for Physician Errors
You might be under the impression that a hospital can be held liable for an act of malpractice that is committed by a doctor. However, in many cases, the doctors who provide care in a hospital setting are not employees of the hospital. Instead, doctors are usually considered independent contractors who only have admitting privileges at the hospital. Hospitals very rarely have an employer-employee relationship with the doctors who practice in the hospital. But some physicians (often ER doctors) are employed by the hospital. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can review the employment relationship between the hospital and the doctors whose negligent care injured you to determine if the hospital might be subject to employer liability in your medical malpractice claim against your doctor.
Types of Hospital Negligence
A hospital negligence case may involve one or more theories of liability:
- Employer negligence: Hospitals can be held liable for the mistakes of their employees, including nurses, medical technicians, and other staff members, when those mistakes result in patient injury. Examples of errors that may be committed by hospital staff include:
- Negligent triage
- Failure to provide post-discharge instructions
- Failure to conduct follow-up care
- Failure to monitor the patient’s condition
- Taking an inadequate patient history
- Inadequate physical exam/patient assessment
- Lack of communication between members of the patient care team
- Failure to maintain sanitary or sterile conditions
- Negligent hiring: Hospitals can also be held directly liable for negligently hiring staff who subsequently commit mistakes that injure a patient. A negligent hiring claim requires showing that the hospital overlooked facts that indicated that a prospective employee posed a risk of committing negligence.
- Negligent training, supervision, and retention: Hospitals might also be held negligent for failing to provide adequate training and supervision over staff members and for not terminating staff who demonstrate an inability to perform their jobs within the standard of care.
- Inadequate staffing: Hospitals are sometimes held directly liable when a patient’s injury is caused in part or in whole by the hospital’s failure to have adequate staffing levels after the hospital consciously chooses to hire an inadequate number of staff members.
- Apparent agency: Finally, a hospital may sometimes be held liable for a doctor’s malpractice, even where the doctor is not employed by the hospital if the patient had a reasonable belief that the doctor was a hospital employee and the hospital took no steps to inform the patient of the doctor’s contractor status.
Proving Hospital Negligence
As with any other kind of medical malpractice claim, proving that you have been the victim of hospital negligence requires showing several key elements, including:
- The hospital and its staff failed to provide treatment to you in accordance with the standard of care, which is often defined as the treatment decisions and actions that other healthcare providers of similar training and experience would make in the same circumstances.
- The hospital’s failure to adhere to the standard of care caused you to suffer injuries or other physical harm, and that injury or harm would not have occurred but for the hospital’s negligence
- You incurred losses that you can be financially compensated for, including additional medical expenses, lost income or earning capacity, and pain and suffering
Contact A Medical Malpractice Attorney for a Consultation About Your Hospital Negligence Case in New Jersey
Were you or a loved one injured due to medical malpractice in New Jersey? Then you need to talk to an experienced medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible for guidance on how to proceed. The Haddonfield hospital negligence attorneys at The Law Offices of Andres & Berger P.C. are prepared to assist you with your legal claim. We represent victims of negligent surgeons, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists throughout New Jersey, including Pennsauken, Voorhees, Lindenwold, and Collingswood. Call us today at (856) 795-1444 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation. Our main office is located at 264 Kings Hwy. E., Haddonfield, NJ 08033.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.