Doctors Usually Cannot Be Defendants in Hospital Negligence, Malpractice Claims
If you are injured or somehow harmed while undergoing treatment in a hospital, you may have the ability to sue the hospital for negligence. In most cases, however, the doctor who performed the procedure is not eligible to be named as a defendant in your claim.
The reason for this is that in many cases, doctors are not actually employees of the hospitals they work at. They are typically independent contractors with the hospital, which is usually done so that hospitals cannot be held responsible for doctors that commit malpractice, even if the malpractice incident occurred in the hospital. Doctors might be hospital employees if they have their vacation time or working hours controlled by the hospital, or if the hospital sets certain fees that the doctor can charge.
There are exceptions to this, however, even when the doctor is an independent contractor.
First, if the hospital does not make it clear to patients that the doctor performing their procedures is not employed by the hospital, they open themselves up to liability in malpractice committed by the doctor. Usually hospitals will say on admission forms if the doctor is or is not employed by the hospital. This is not usually true for ER doctors, as there typically isn’t time to inform the patient that the doctor is not employed with the hospital.
Another exception is if the hospital staffed an incompetent doctor. Hospitals are responsible for ensuring that all doctors working for them as contractors or employees are competent, both during the hiring process and through regular reviews of the doctor’s work.
For more information about who could be the defendant in your hospital negligence claim, consult the skilled Atlanta attorneys at McMenamy Law, LLC today.