Most catastrophic injuries or deaths in medical malpractice or negligence cases occur in hospitals, and when due to provable negligence, most such cases usually involve multiple doctors and nurses who share the fault. Most nurses are employees of the hospital (although there are many exceptions to this rule) but almost all doctors are not employees of the hospital, thus the hospital is not legally liable for any negligence of the doctors.
While there are many circumstances, especially communication errors or other hospital system errors, that can result in a significant injury or death of a patient, proving the connections between negligent care and the outcome of a significant injury or death can be challenging. The majority of patients admitted to hospitals have significant medical problems when they arrive, so the outcome caused by negligence may be difficult to prove separate and apart from the natural outcome of the underlying medical condition.
Nursing malpractice occurs when a nurse fails to competently perform his or her medical duties and that failure harms the patient. There are a variety of ways that a nurse can harm a patient — from administering the wrong drug to failing to notify a doctor when something is really wrong. In nursing malpractice cases, often a key issue is who is liable for the nurse’s misdeeds — the doctor or the hospital. Whoever is liable will be responsible for compensating the patient for the nurse’s misdeeds.
A hospital may be legally and financially responsible for nursing malpractice if the nurse was an employee of the hospital, the nurse was fulfilling a job duty when the patient was injured, and an independent doctor (one not employed by the hospital) was not in control of the actions of the nurse. This may be true even if an attending physician is supervising the nurse when the misdeed occurs, depending on whether the attending physician was present and had control such that he or she could have prevented the nurse’s negligence. Because most nurses are hospital employees, nursing malpractice cases are most often times brought against the hospital that employed the nurse.
If you or a family member are the victim of hospital or nursing malpractice, please contact our office and speak with a member of the firm. The applicable statute of limitations is likely already running, so timing can be critically important to your case. Contact us today for a free, no obligation, confidential legal consultation.
Inland Empire & Southern California Malpractice Attorneys Located in Redlands, CA Serving clients in: San Bernardino County | Riverside County | Los Angeles County | Orange County | San Diego County
Raynes Erickson, Attorneys at Law focuses its practice on the legal representation of clients who are victims of medical malpractice, catastrophic injury, or wrongful death. Contact us today to learn more about your legal rights and how our litigation team can help you receive the compensation you deserve.