Who Can Be Held Responsible for Medical Malpractice Injuries?
Medical errors account for more than 250,000 deaths per year in the United States. It is the third-leading cause of death in our country. After experiencing a medical malpractice injury, you may be suffering devastating consequences, including loss of income, diminished living standards, psychological trauma, and even a loved one’s death.
If you or a loved one has experienced suffering due to medical malpractice, you may be entitled to compensation for your mental and physical injuries. You owe it to yourself to hire a lawyer who understands medical malpractice law. Learn more about medical malpractice laws from the leading attorneys in Florida and Georgia. Call Farah & Farah now to get your risk-free, no-obligation case review.
What is Vicarious Liability?
Vicarious liability or imputed liability holds parties responsible for a legal relationship with the person or entity that committed the injury. In terms of medical malpractice, vicarious liability usually means that the healthcare professionals who oversee their employees are held accountable for negligent staff.
For instance, if a surgeon commits medical malpractice, the hospital will have vicarious liability for the actions of the physician they hired to perform the services. Hospitals must conduct rigorous background checks on all their staff on their certifications, licensing, and credentials. They must also provide necessary training, and medical entities will be liable for medical errors under their watch, including:
- Incorrect diagnoses
- Prescription errors
- Breach of patient confidentiality
- Negligent supervision and maintenance of medical equipment
- Failure to update and accurately record medical records
- Admitting and discharging errors
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice, or medical negligence, refers to the negligent actions conducted by a physician, nurse, or medical practice that results in patient harm, injury, or death. It extends to negligence due to the failure to act with reasonable medical care. Whether occurring in a hospital, emergency room, outpatient, or surgical setting, all medical procedures must follow specific medical standards of care.
If the hospital or staff harms a patient due to negligence, that patient has a legal right to hold the parties responsible for sustained injuries.
Who is Liable for Medical Malpractice?
Many potential parties may be liable for medical malpractice:
Doctors, Nurses and Other Healthcare Professionals
Doctors, surgeons, nurses, and other healthcare professionals, including dentists, psychiatrists, nurses, physician assistants, and chiropractors, may be held liable for medical malpractice. In any case, an attorney must prove that the healthcare provider failed their duty to provide standard care and the resulting actions caused the plaintiff harm or injury.
Hospitals may be held responsible for the actions of their employees through vicarious liability. For instance, if the hospital did not operate an adequate setting for its employees to deliver proper medical care, they may be accountable for medical malpractice.
Direct Hospital Negligence
Hospitals are liable under the corporate negligence doctrine to conduct thorough screenings of all employees, investigate credentials, and provide sufficient training if applicable to staff. For example, if a hospital hires a surgeon with falsified credentials, and the incompetent employee harms a patient, the hospital can be held responsible.
Additionally, a hospital must have sufficient registered nursing at all times to provide appropriate patient care. The hospital must also oversee their physicians’ treatment plans and decide if the treatment plan is not adequate. Hospitals must also perform clinical tests, update medical records, treat seriously ill or injured patients in emergency settings. Federal and state statutes also require hospitals to treat all potential patients regardless of race, religion, or inability to pay for treatment.
Types of Medical Malpractice
There are many different kinds of medical malpractice. Depending on the situation, the staff and hospital who committed a breach of standard care are liable.
A professional anesthesiologist is responsible for administering the correct anesthesia dose for a patient for a safe and painless surgical procedure. However, an anesthesiologist can give too much anesthesia resulting in surgical complications — or too little anesthesia — resulting in a traumatizing and painful experience. Both situations are grounds for initiating a medical malpractice suit.
A hospital is responsible for reviewing the credentials and certifications of all staff members. If a physician administers an inaccurate diagnosis or treatment makes a patient’s condition worse, this action may qualify as medical malpractice. Physicians that operate on an incorrect body part or prescribing wrong medication may also fall under this umbrella.
Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis
Medical malpractice also extends if a patient sees a doctor for clinical evaluation, and they provide an inaccurate diagnosis that results in medical complications. Commonly misdiagnosed conditions include breast cancer, lung cancer, and brain tumors. If these conditions are not diagnosed promptly, the patient’s condition may worsen and result in more pain, trauma, and possible death.
Emergency Room Malpractice
Emergency rooms are possibly the most chaotic and fast-paced environments in a hospital setting. And negligent emergency-room physicians should be held accountable for their actions, including diagnostic and medication errors, failure to order proper testing, neglecting the patient’s medical history, or failure to diagnose crucial symptoms.
Surgeons are one of the most frequent groups of medical professionals subject to medical malpractice. These professionals must juggle many complex procedures, and they are responsible for their actions while the patient is under the knife. The most common surgical errors include: neglecting vital signs, puncturing an organ, leaving surgical tools inside the body, using unsanitized surgical equipment, or failure to inform patients of pre-surgical requirements.
Medical Device Errors
Many elderly patients rely on operating equipment and medical devices. The hospital and physicians must make sure that the medical equipment they use functions correctly. Devices with manufacturing errors, design errors, or inadequate warnings pose serious threats to patients’ wellbeing. If a patient suffered due to delayed treatment, misdiagnosis, or consequences from medical devices, they might have the grounds for a medical malpractice claim.
Types of Medical Malpractice Injuries
The result of medical malpractice can be devastating to patients. There are several categories of medical malpractice of patients injured in a hospital setting:
Delayed Diagnosis or Misdiagnosis
If a physician did not diagnose the condition on time or incorrectly diagnosed it, the patient’s condition could worsen and result in suffering.
Failure to Treat
A doctor may fail to disclose a diagnosis to a patient or act accordingly based on the diagnosis. This scenario can lead to devastating consequences for the patient under the physician’s care.
There are many ways a surgeon can harm a patient during surgery, including bodily damage or severe injury.
Medical Product Liability
Physicians sometimes use ineffective or faulty equipment that results in injury.
Negligent prenatal care that results in birthing complications or death.
Factors That Support Your Medical Malpractice Claim
Medical malpractice claims must meet a strict account of negligence met by a doctor, nurse, or medical professional. It is complicated to file a medical claim in Florida and Georgia, and two key elements are essential:
Breach of the Standard of Care
Your attorney must contact a medical expert in the same field where the medical malpractice occurred and obtain an affidavit that the patient’s care was inadequate. A lawyer must provide evidence that the medical practice committed a breach of standard care that resulted in patient harm.
Proximate Causation and Damages
An attorney must also prove that the negligent medical professional is the direct cause of the patient’s injury. The injuries would not have occurred if the physician was not negligent. Furthermore, you will want to ensure that the injuries you or a loved one sustained were adequate to pursue legal action.
Florida Medical Malpractice Laws
The most relevant medical malpractice laws in Florida is the three-strike rule and statute of limitations for your case:
Florida Three Strikes Law
A medical board must strip a Florida medical practitioner’s license guilty of three or more medical malpractice cases within five years.
Florida Statute Of Limitation For Medical Malpractice
The statute of limitations pertains to the time between the committed medical malpractice and when the injured party pursued legal action. The afflicted party must file a medical malpractice claim within two years from when the plaintiff was aware of sustained injury.
Georgia Medical Malpractice Laws
In Georgia, a medical malpractice case must abide by the statute of limitations. Additional provisions like the Statute of Repose may affect the strength of your claim.
Georgia Statute Of Limitation For Medical Malpractice
Georgia’s statute of limitations law stipulates that you have two years after the date of the medical malpractice to file for compensation. The law forbids you from bringing forth any claim that occurred more than five years after the negligent act occurred.
Georgia Statute Of Repose For Medical Malpractice
Georgia statute of limitations law also outlines a statute of repose. This law is especially pertinent in cases involving medical oversight that does not immediately cause noticeable harm but causes damage after the treatment. For example, if an unnecessary surgery caused a spike in blood pressure, which later led to further complications. In these cases, lawsuits can be filed up to five years after the discovery of the error.
There is an exception to this rule. If a foreign object is discovered — such as a sponge or surgical implements — you will have one year to file a claim. According to the law, foreign objects do not include chemical compounds, fixation devices, or prosthetic aids or related devices.
Contact Us If You Need Help With Your Medical Malpractice Case in Florida Or Georgia
When the professionals we trust with our lives make mistakes, they should be held accountable. It is your legal right to pursue action for medical malpractice. Hiring a lawyer with a proven record of winning medical malpractice cases can help you get the justice you deserve. Farah & Farah has a substantial history of assisting clients in getting the justice they deserve.
If you or a loved one has suffered illness or injury due to a medical provider, hospital, or device manufacturer’s negligence, you owe it to yourself to call Farah & Farah. We will learn more about your case during a free, no-obligation case review. Contact Farah & Farah today!