When one walks into a hospital in Louisiana and greets nurses, doctors and surgeons, they are most likely to assume that they are all employees of the hospital. However, this is not the case in most situations-many healthcare providers are considered independent contractors in the eyes of the law and not hospital employees. When and why does this matter? It is important because it affects liability in medical malpractice cases.
Medical malpractice revolves around fault and the medical professional who was at fault. The question though is: who can be sued in this claim? The obvious answer seems to be hospitals, either directly for their own negligence or vicariously through their employees.
A hospital is supposed to be responsible and make reasonable inquiries when hiring medical staff such as licensed physicians, nurses and other licensed professionals. They must look into their employees’ training, education and licensing and, when it fails to do so, it might become liable under the umbrella of corporate negligence. Common examples are when a nursing shortage affects the quality of patient care or when hospital employees do not follow the patient’s private attending’s orders.
Additionally, when the hospital’s employee injures a patient, the hospital could also be held liable under the doctrine of respondent superior, which means liability can ensue if the employee was acting within the scope of their duties when they committed the negligent act or omission. However, as mentioned above, not all medical professionals are a hospital’s employees and a hospital may try to escape liability on this premise.
When someone is the victim of medical malpractice, they often end up facing months, if not years, of additional medical treatment to recover from their injuries. the trauma associated with the experience is also considerable. Trying to figure out who one can sue and for how much may be overwhelming in these instances and an experienced attorney may provide helpful guidance.