Who Is Liable if I Am Injured by Medical Malpractice?
Imagine the following scenario: You go to the doctor or the hospital for medical care, and the treatment you receive actually makes you worse rather than better. This is the nightmare that thousands of Americans live through each year, sometimes with catastrophic results. While the victims of medical malpractice invariably have dozens of questions, foremost among them is often, “Who is liable for my injuries?”
While we would love to provide a simple answer to this question, as is often the case in law, the answer is, “It depends.”
It depends, in large part, on whose negligence caused your injuries and their employment relationship to the hospital, clinic, or other facility you visited for care. Below is some basic information about liability in medical malpractice cases. For specific advice about your potential medical malpractice case, please call our office today at (860) 447-3300 or contact us online.
Medical Malpractice and Vicarious Liability
Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional breaches the prevailing professional standard of care. Under Connecticut Law, that standard of care is the level of care, skill, and treatment that, under the relevant circumstances, is recognized as acceptable and appropriate by reasonably prudent and similar healthcare providers.
While people typically associate medical malpractice with doctors and surgeons, many healthcare professional can commit medical malpractice, including:
- Nurse practitioners
- Physical therapists
In many medical malpractice cases, the healthcare professional who injured you is directly liable for your injuries, meaning that you may attempt to recover compensation by filing a claim against his or her malpractice insurance company. If, however, the healthcare professional is an employee of a healthcare company and the malpractice that injured you occurred within the scope of the professional’s employment, the company may potentially face liability through a legal doctrine known as respondeat superior.
In the hospital setting, doctors and surgeons are typically independent contractors, while nurses, nurse practitioners, and other healthcare professionals work as employees. That said, some hospitals choose to employ some of their doctors. To determine liability, discuss your case in detail with an experienced lawyer.
What Does Medical Malpractice Look Like?
If you’re confused about what exactly medical malpractice is, keep in mind that not every adverse medical outcome means that malpractice has occurred. The injury must result from the negligence of a medical professional.
Examples of mistakes that would likely rise to the level of negligence include:
- Operating on the wrong body part
- Operating on the wrong patient
- Performing the incorrect procedure
- Failing to diagnose a disease or condition when a patient presents with symptoms indicative of that disease or condition
- Failing to order certain tests when a reasonable healthcare professional would have ordered them
- Prescribing the wrong medication
- Prescribing an incorrect dosage of medication
Call Polito & Harrington Today to Speak With a New London Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you suffered an injury because of the negligence of a medical professional, speak to an attorney as soon as you can. Medical malpractice cases can prove extremely complicated, so seek out a lawyer familiar with Connecticut medical malpractice litigation. To schedule a free case evaluation with one of our medical malpractice attorneys, call our office today at (860) 447-3300 or contact us online.