According to national statistics, more than 250,000 people die each year because of medical errors. Medical errors are now considered the third leading cause of death in this country, behind heart disease and cancer.
Many people do not realize that it is not just doctors who can be sued for medical malpractice, but the hospitals where the malpractice occurred can also be sued. Although there are some cases where a hospital is not held liable for the negligent actions of a physician, there are many cases where hospitals are held liable for the negligent actions of their employees.
Our Virginia malpractice lawyers have helped many clients and their families get the financial compensation they deserved for the harm they endured because of negligent medical care. The following is a brief overview of malpractice and medical errors. Contact our office for more detailed information about your particular situation and how we can help.
The Theory of Vicarious Liability
The legal theory of vicarious liability is that the employer is responsible for the actions of an employee. This means that hospitals can be held liable for a medical professional employee’s act. While not every accident or mistake may be classified as negligent if it is then the employee and the hospital can be held legally liable and named in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
There can also be a legal gray area when it comes to hospital liability for malpractice. Many doctors who have hospital privileges are often not considered hospital employees, but they are considered independent contractors. If a doctor commits medical malpractice, the hospital may or may not be included in that lawsuit, depending on the circumstances.
For example, if there was a history of malpractice on the doctor’s part, yet the hospital continued to grant the doctor privileges, despite that history, a medical malpractice attorney may recommend suing the hospital, too.
However, there is no question that a mistake made by a hospital employee that harms a patient can result in a malpractice lawsuit against the hospital. For example, if a nurse gives a patient the wrong medication and that patient suffers serious injury, that patient can sue the hospital for any damages and harm that mistake caused them.
Contact a Virginia Medical Error Attorney Today
We put our trust in doctors and other medical professionals that they will heal us, not harm us. Medical errors are preventable, and the damage they cause can change a person’s life forever. If you have been injured because of an emergency room or other type of medical error or have lost a loved one due to medical staff mistakes, contact a Virginia medical malpractice attorney to discuss what legal options may be available to you.
At Shapiro, Appleton, Washburn & Sharp, we have been advocating for injured victims for more than three decades and will work diligently to get you and your family the financial compensation you deserve for the injuries and losses you have suffered. Call our office today to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation and find out how our legal team can help.