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How Can a Hospital be Liable for Medical Malpractice?


When you think about the concept of medical malpractice, you probably consider the different ways a doctor, a specialist, or treating physician may make a mistake when providing medical care. It’s true that these individuals may be liable for errors or omissions, but there are other situations where responsibility for malpractice falls upon the hospital. Florida’s statute on liability of health care facilities imposes a duty on such organizations to exercise “due care” in fulfilling their duties, so a failure could lead to a claim for compensation.

You may have rights as a victim, and a Florida medical malpractice and hospital errors attorney can tell you more after reviewing your case. A summary of the two types of hospital liability and examples of hospital errors may also be useful.

  1. Hospitals and Vicarious Liability: Part of exercising due care involves the hospital’s responsibilities regarding employees. If the facility fails in this duty, you could have a claim based upon vicarious liability. This legal concept basically imputes liability to an employer for the negligence of its employees. Therefore, you could file a medical malpractice claim against a hospital for:
  • Errors by physicians who are direct employees, such as misdiagnosis, birth injuries, surgical mistakes, errors in prescribing medication, and others
  • Mistakes by nurses in performing their duties with respect to patients, including feeding, providing medications, and monitoring vital signs
  • Simple negligence, such as where an employee causes injury while transferring a patient to a bed, transporting a person via wheelchair, serving meals, and other tasks

You should note that vicarious liability generally extends only to employees of the hospital, not independent contractors in most situations. Many physicians, therapists, and specialists are not directly employed by a hospital, so – in theory – vicarious liability would not apply. However, there may be grounds to hold the hospital liable for medical malpractice if a deeper examination of the business relationship shows that the doctor is an agent of the hospital or facility. 

  1. Hospital Liability for Negligent Acts: This type of legal liability for a health care facility is holding the organization accountable for its own negligence and errors. A hospital is a business like any other, so some of the concepts of premises liability may arise. For example, a facility may be liable if it:
  • Fails to properly vet and conduct background checks on employees
  • Neglects to confirm that employees have the proper credentials
  • Doesn’t train or supervise employees regarding proper procedures on hand washing, sanitation, prevention of falls
  • Neglects to repair medical equipment or dangerous conditions on property
  • Fails to maintain proper policies and procedures regarding patient care
  • Mishandles patient charts
  • Otherwise engages in negligent, careless acts or omissions that cause injury to patients

Get Legal Assistance from an Experienced Florida Medical Malpractice Lawyer 

If you have questions about how hospital errors work in medical malpractice claims, please contact the Miami or Fort Myers offices of Freidin Brown, P.A. Our Florida hospital errors attorneys can explain your rights and remedies, including a potential claim against a health care facility, after reviewing the details of your case.

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