Patients expect to be taken care of in a hospital. Patients can reasonably expect that the nurses are giving them the right medication. And they can count on the staff to be following doctor’s orders. Nurses and hospital staff owe every patient a duty of care. When the staff and the nurses hurt you, the patient, you may wonder, can I sue the hospital?
When a patient is hurt in the hospital, it can be hard to figure out who is responsible. Is the doctor at fault? Doctors are usually independent contractors. Meaning the hospital isn’t typically responsible for their actions. Or, is the nurse or hospital staff at fault? Hospitals often employ their nurses and staff. As a result, the hospital is responsible for their neglect.
When you think you or a loved one has a medical malpractice case against a hospital, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Suing a hospital is a complicated undertaking. Here are some things to consider when figuring out if you have a case against a hospital:
- Figure out who is Responsible
Just because a patient was hurt in the hospital doesn’t mean the hospital is at fault. Generally speaking, hospitals are vicariously liable (responsible) for the actions of their employees. They are not liable for the acts of independent contractors. Since most doctors are independent contractors, hospitals aren’t typically on the hook for a doctor’s negligence.
For the most part, nurses, medical technicians, and support staff are hospital employees. If a patient is injured while being treated by a hospital employee, the patient can usually sue the hospital for resulting damages.
Figuring out who is responsible is often the most difficult part of a case against a hospital. This can require medical experts. This can also mean a lot of time and money.
- Don’t miss the Statute of Limitations
In Texas, you have two years from the date of injury to file suit. This is not the date of death. It is the date of the injury. Also, many people talk about the Discovery Rule. This is the principle that the statute of limitations does not run until after the injury is discovered. In Texas, the Discovery Rule is a difficult one to argue in medical malpractice. As a result, the rule of thumb should be, two years from the date of injury regardless of when you find it and whether the injured is a minor. It is better to be safe than sorry.
- Get Your Paperwork
If you think you have a medical malpractice claim, order your records. Any lawyer will need these to evaluate your case. Also, any medical expert working the file will need to review them.
Also, in the event the medical malpractice has caused death, you will want an autopsy. Medical malpractice cases are difficult to prove without one.
- Don’t Go It Alone
Medical malpractice cases are tough. The law is complicated. The medicine is complex. These cases are also expensive. Trying to represent yourself can be a big mistake. It is in your best interest to contact a medical malpractice attorney if you feel you have a claim.
Getting the legal help that you need can mean the difference between having a claim and paying someone else’s attorneys’ fees.
- Don’t Give Up
Medical malpractice cases can take a long time. They may also not be as satisfying as you would hope. Tort Reform in Texas has greatly impacted these cases. Don’t give up, though. You may not only stand up for yourself, but you may also make a difference for other patients.