When to sue a hospital vs. an individual practitioner for medical malpractice

When you face harm due to medical negligence, deciding who to sue in a medical malpractice claim – the hospital or an individual practitioner – can significantly affect the direction and outcome of your case. This decision often depends on whether the healthcare provider is an employee or an independent contractor.

If the practitioner involved in your case is a formal employee of the hospital, the hospital might be responsible for their actions. This is known as “vicarious liability”, a doctrine that holds employers accountable for errors their employees commit during their employment. However, if the doctor or nurse was an independent contractor, the hospital is typically not liable for the contractor’s mistakes. Whether the hospital is liable or not often depends on their hiring policies and the terms of engagement defined with the practitioner.

Therefore, it’s important to carefully examine the contractual relationships and employment status of those involved in your care. These factors are key to determining the right party in your medical malpractice claim.

The specifics of your case

When you think you have a medical malpractice case but don’t know who to sue, navigating the differences in liability between hospital vs practitioner can be challenging. Typically, the decision depends on how the medical care was administered and who was directly responsible for the harm at the time of the incident.

These generally are steps that you need to take as soon as possible, directly after you believe you’ve become the victim of medical malpractice.

  • Obtain All Medical Records: Start by collecting every piece of documentation related to your treatment. This includes records from before and after the incident. Remember, the more information you have, the better your lawyer can help you.
  • Gather Your Insurance Information: Make sure you have all your insurance documents handy. This includes your policy, any claim forms you’ve submitted, summaries of claims paid or denied, and any correspondence from your insurance company.
  • Organize Medical Bills and Invoices: Compile all the bills and invoices related to your original health condition and any additional expenses incurred due to the suspected malpractice. These documents are key to demonstrating the financial impact of the negligence.
  • Document Your Experience: Write down everything about your ordeal in a detailed journal. Note every aspect of your pain, the challenges you face daily, and how your life has been affected. Detailed records of the timeline are easier to refine than trying to remember specifics later on.
  • Take Photos/Videos of Injuries: If you have visible injuries, document them with photos or videos over time. This visual evidence can be powerful in showing the extent and progression of your injuries.

The decision to sue a hospital vs doctor depends on the specific circumstances of the case, the extent of liability and the desired outcome. Determining the legal status of the involved parties can clarify whom to hold accountable.

The help you need

Finally, when it comes to documenting and pursuing a medical malpractice case, retaining the services of an experienced attorney is crucial. The first step in retaining the services of a capable, committed medical malpractice lawyer is to schedule an initial consultation.

Are you ready to file a formal complaint against a doctor or a hospital in California? Legal advice is invaluable here, as a specialized attorney can help you draft and file a formal complaint and guide you through the maze of medical malpractice laws.

Remember, you are not alone on this journey. Taking these steps can help you move forward and fight for the justice you deserve.