When a patient is treated for an injury or illness, the last thing he or she thinks about is the business relationship between the treating physician and the hospital or clinic where treatment is administered. This relationship between a physician and hospital becomes important, however, when a patient needs to hold a hospital liable for injuries or costs, if:
Traditionally, individuals working in the emergency room and other areas of the hospital were employees. Because of this relationship, and the long-standing doctrine of respondeat superior, a hospital could hold vicarious liability if one of its employees inflicts injury or commits malpractice. Today, however, the hospital can be immune from malpractice lawsuits when the negligent physician is considered an independent contractor. As most hospitals now share a contract relationship with physicians, their liabilities are generally reduced.
When assessing a case for medical malpractice, the hospital will be assessed to determine if it is subject to the two types of liability:
Most physicians and healthcare providers who work in a hospital setting are considered independent contractors, since most physicians have hospital privileges instead of direct employment. There remain, however, those who work for the hospital as employees. If the injury or malpractice occurred because of an independent contractor’s negligence, the hospital would not be vicariously liable; rather, you would have to bring your suit against the healthcare provider.
The professionals who could be held liable in a malpractice suit can include:
To determine if a hospital is vicariously liable, you will need to speak with a medical malpractice attorney. Contact Berkowitz and Hanna LLC today to schedule a no-obligation case evaluation. Call us or contact us online to get started.