We get this question from a lot of clients we represent in medical malpractice lawsuits, and it’s one with a fairly complex answer. In many instances, you’ll be able to sue the doctor, but in others it’s more appropriate to sue the hospital.
So, whom do you sue?
When a doctor does something that causes harm, you might assume that’s who you’ll be taking action against. In many instances you’ll file a lawsuit against the doctor.
However, sometimes it’s appropriate to sue the hospital instead of the doctor. This largely depends on whether the doctor who caused the harm is a hospital employee or an independent contractor.
If the doctor is an employee, you’ll sue the hospital. If not, you’ll usually sue the doctor directly. There are some instances where a malpractice victim could sue both the doctor and the hospital or facility.
How to determine if the doctor or hospital is liable
This is one of the many reasons you’ll need the help of an experienced medical negligence attorney because through their investigation, they can determine if the doctor is a hospital employee or an independent contractor and who is liable for your injuries.
Regardless of which person or entity you sue, you’re going to need evidence that supports your claims in order for your lawsuit to be successful. You’ll have to prove the doctor acted negligently and that you were harmed due to their negligence. You’ll also need to show that your outcome would have likely been different if the doctor had provided you with the proper standard of care.
The difference between doctors who are employees of a hospital and doctors who are independent contractors
The doctor’s affiliation with or employment by a hospital or institution is a huge distinction for your case, one that will determine the path your lawsuit takes.
Hospitals are held liable when a patient is harmed or dies as a result of their employee’s negligence. The injured must prove that the employee was acting within the scope of their employment when the negligence occurred.
Many doctors have their own private practice which means that they are their own entity or they could be an independent contractor who is assisting the hospital but isn’t employed by them. This means that they carry their own malpractice insurance to protect themselves should they face a lawsuit.
It’s possible that both the hospital and the doctor could be held liable for your damages because a hospital has a duty to ensure that you’re properly cared for while at their facility. If it failed to meet that duty and you were injured, then it might be liable.
For example, the hospital where the doctor practiced might not have done a sufficient job of vetting them, or they covered up complaints and prior acts of negligence or had a disciplinary record.
Our medical malpractice lawyers are ready to help
An experienced Americus medical malpractice lawyer with Shrable Law Firm is ready to answer your questions during your free consultation. To schedule a free case evaluation, call (229) 349-6291 or contact us online today.
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