Who are Potential Parties in a Florida Medical Malpractice Case?
According to Medical News Today, an online source reporting on the latest developments in medicine, there are an estimated 15,000 to 19,000 medical malpractice lawsuits against health care providers every year. While the numbers may be shocking, they also raise questions regarding the defendants in these cases.
- Who is being sued?
- What is the theory of liability?
- Are there limitations on claims?
A Florida medical malpractice lawyer is in the best position to provide answers related to your specific circumstances, but an overview regarding potential parties may be helpful.
How Liability Works in Medical Malpractice Cases: In general, medical malpractice may occur when a health care provider deviates from the standard of care that applies when delivering medical services to a patient. The focus is on decision-making, treatment, and other medical services. If another reasonably careful provider would have acted differently under the circumstances, this could be considered a deviation from the standard of care – which supports a claim for medical malpractice.
The definition of “health care provider” is broad enough to include a wide array of individuals who come into contact with the patient, such as doctors, nurses, specialty physicians, assistants, orderlies, and others. However, a hospital, clinic, or organization may also be a party to a medical malpractice action.
Hospitals and Health Care Facilities as Potential Parties: When a corporate or organized entity is involved with a med mal case, they’re not responsible for the victim’s injuries in the same way as an individual provider. The lead hospital administrator isn’t in the operating room or treating a patient, so it’s not possible to prove deviation from the applicable standard of care as to that particular operation. Still, you may file a claim against an entity for other misconduct. For instance:
- Hospital administrators must exercise reasonable care in hiring medical staff, by reviewing their credentials, education, and training. They must also refrain from retaining a health care provider if a background check reveals a criminal conviction or other activity.
- Hospital administrators must also formulate appropriate policies and procedures for all health care providers providing services in their hospital. These policies and procedures cover topics such as nurse-physician communication, chain of command, labor & delivery, medication administration, and more.
- Hospital management must ensure there’s a sufficient number of physicians, registered nurses, and other essential personnel on duty at all times to provide quality patient care. Improper staffing could lead to serious injuries for patients.
- Hospitals may also be liable for medical malpractice through vicarious liability, which applies in the context of employer-employee and agent-principal relationships. Under this theory, the employer/principal is responsible for misconduct – including medical errors – made by employees/agents while acting within the scope of their duties.
- Many physicians work as independent contractors, so they’re not employees of the hospital. However, it may still be possible to seek compensation from a hospital if the physician acted as an agent of the hospital, or if the facility didn’t exercise proper care when contracting out services, such as the operating room, outpatient facilities, or office space.
Set up a Free Consultation with a Florida Medical Malpractice Attorney
Determining the right parties to pursue in a med mal claim is complex and requires a knowledgeable legal professional. Our lawyers at Freidin Brown, P.A. have extensive experience with these claims, so we’re prepared to seek compensation from all appropriate individuals and entities. To set up a free consultation regarding your circumstances, please contact our offices in Miami or Fort Myers today.