Updated June 28, 2020
Medical malpractice lawsuits are complex and often involve several parties. Doctors are not the only healthcare professionals that can be sued for medical malpractice—nurses, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and other parties providing healthcare services can, depending on your case, be held liable.
Most doctors are considered independent contractors, so they are not considered hospital staff members under medical malpractice law. Independent contractors are not the same as employees, and any legal action would most likely need to be brought against the doctor directly rather than their place of work.
Determining whether to sue your doctor or the hospital in a medical malpractice case is difficult and depends entirely on the specifics of your situation.
Licensed healthcare providers include nurses, nurse practitioners, and physician’s assistants. Since they are employed by a hospital or healthcare facility, the individual or the institution could be held liable.
In many cases, however, a case would be brought against the institution or any medical doctors overseeing the employee instead of the nurses themselves because nurses do not carry significant liability insurance.
Hospitals, whether public or private, can be held liable for their own negligence and the negligence of their staff members. In general, they are responsible for the actions of any staff member that might have resulted in the injuries of a patient while that employee was performing job-related duties.
In some cases, hospitals can be held liable for a nonemployee’s actions or for giving staff privileges to nonemployees. Additionally, since hospitals are required to have sufficient nurses on duty at all times, they can be sued for patient injuries that took place due to a nursing shortage.
Pharmaceutical companies or pharmacists can make errors and mistakes that qualify as medical malpractice. If a pharmaceutical company or manufacturer failed to warn physicians of a drug’s potential side effects or dangers and the drug then caused a patient injuries, they may be held liable in medical malpractice cases.
Since physicians have the primary duty of care to their patients, though, they are responsible for communicating medication risks and side effects. If the pharmaceutical company informed the physician, then they are generally not responsible.
Depending on the circumstances of your medical malpractice case, other parties providing healthcare services may be applicable.
The complexities surrounding medical malpractice lawsuits, especially when determining liability, require years of legal experience to understand. Consider seeking legal counsel to help you navigate your case.
If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of medical malpractice, contact the Indianapolis Medical Malpractice Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you determine who is at fault and get you the compensation you deserve.
Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
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