Can a Hospital be Liable for Medical Malpractice?

Medical negligence can occur in a number of different settings. One of the most common sites of medical malpractice is a hospital. If you’ve been injured due to medical negligence in a hospital, can the hospital be liable for medical malpractice? The short answer is: maybe.


Liability for the Actions of Employees

A hospital may be liable for the actions of its employees if an employee injures someone through their negligence. The key is that the individual has to be an actual employee and not an independent contractor. Some employees of a hospital may include:

  • Physicians
  • Nurses
  • Physical therapists
  • Radiology technicians
  • Pharmacists

An employee of a hospital can be negligent in a number of different ways that would constitute medical malpractice. If this failure occurred while the employee was performing work-related duties, then the hospital may be held liable. Examples of medical negligence that can occur at a hospital include:

  • Medication errors
  • Injuries during surgery
  • Failure to properly diagnose a patient
  • Failure to monitor a patient
  • Failure to take vital signs when appropriate
  • Failure to consult a patient’s medical records


When a Hospital May Not be Liable

It is more likely than not that the physicians who work in a hospital are independent contractors and not employees. They may work in more than one hospital and in their own practice. If a physician who is an independent contractor commits malpractice while working at the hospital, then the hospital may not be liable for any injuries that occur. Determining whether an individual is an employee or an independent contractor will depend on the degree of control the hospital has over the individual and their work. This can be a complex calculation.


Hospital Negligence

In some cases, the hospital and its administration can be negligent and may be held liable for injuries that result. Some instances where a hospital may be negligent include:

  • Negligent Hiring—hospitals are responsible for hiring qualified health care providers. They should review their backgrounds and credentials and ensure that they are able to do the job.
  • Understaffing—this is a common instance where a hospital may be liable. The hospital has an obligation to make sure that it has the proper amount of staff to ensure the safety and well-being of patients.
  • Inadequate Safety Policies—the hospital has an obligation to ensure that it has policies and procedures in place to protect patients.


Contact an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you have been injured in a hospital, you should consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have been helping the victims of medical negligence for over 50 years. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español.