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Who Can I Sue for Medical Malpractice?

Who is Responsible?

Responsibility for proper medical care is not limited to doctors and nurses. The concept of medical malpractice applies to all medical professionals including anesthesiologists, nurse practitioners, dentists, psychiatrists, and others. Health care facilities, pharmaceutical companies, and any entity that provides health care services may also be held liable in some instances.

The main objective of a medical malpractice suit is to prove fault, and our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers are trained to help you with this. This usually involves proving that a doctor, nurse, or someone directly involved in the patient’s medical care committed a breach of duty to the patient. However, there are circumstances in which companies and corporations are also liable.

Hospital Liability

Hospitals are either public or private corporate entities. When it comes to medical malpractice suits, hospitals may be directly liable for negligence, or vicariously liable for the negligence of their employees.

Hospital Negligence

The medical staff of a hospital will include licensed physicians as well as other licensed health care professionals. These include physician’s assistants, nurses, and nurse practitioners. When it comes to hiring its medical staff, reasonable inquiries should be made into the applicant’s education, licensing, and training. When a hospital fails to investigate the credentials of a practitioner, or where it allows a practitioner whom it knew or should have known, was incompetent to treat patients, the hospital may be held liable.

Additionally, hospitals must ensure that there are sufficient numbers of registered nurses on duty at all times. Any hospital that fails to do this may be held liable for injuries to patients that result from the shortage of nurses. Potential liability also arises when an employee of the hospital fails to follow the orders of a patient’s personal attending physician. Conversely, if an employee discovers that the personal physician’s treatment plan is contraindicated, and fails to inquire about it, the hospital may also be found liable.

Vicarious Liability

The legal doctrine of “respondeat superior,” a hospital may be held vicariously liable when a hospital employee has injured a patient due to medical malpractice. This doctrine provides for an employer to be held liable for the negligent acts of its employees. This only applies if the employee was acting within the scope of their employment when the negligence occurred. This doctrine helps to ensure there is a financially responsible party who is able to compensate for the injured patient.

If a particular health care provider is an independent contractor rather than an employee of the hospital, the “respondeat superior” doctrine will not apply. However, in certain situations, a hospital may be directly or vicariously liable for the negligent acts or omissions of contractors it retains to operate outpatient clinics and emergency rooms.

Pharmaceutical Companies

In some cases, a pharmaceutical manufacturing company may be liable for damages when a drug has caused a patient’s injuries. However, this only applies if the manufacturer failed to warn physicians of the potential dangers or side effects of the drug.

The manufacturer’s primary responsibility is to the physician, and the physician is usually considered the “learned intermediary.” This term refers to the fact that because of his or her extensive medical knowledge and presuming he or she has been provided with adequate information from the manufacturer, the physician is in the best position to determine whether a certain device or drug is appropriate for his or her patient.

A pharmaceutical company only owes a duty to make sure that its products are reasonably safe when used as intended. If, however, the company fails to adequately warn a physician of a particular drug’s dangers, the drug becomes “unreasonably dangerous” according to product liability law, and the manufacturer may be held liable due to failure to provide proper warnings.

Shea Law Group

When you or someone you love has suffered harm due to the carelessness or negligence of a doctor, nurse, or other medical professionals, you have a right to compensation. Our law firm has unparalleled experience helping victims of medical malpractice, and we are prepared to help you achieve the positive outcome you deserve. Give us a call at (877)-365-0040 to book your free consultation with a dedicated and knowledgeable Chicago medical malpractice lawyer at Shea Law Group today.