Understanding Hospital Liability in a Medical Malpractice Case
Medical malpractice cases represent some of the most complicated, challenging legal matters in the U.S. judicial system. One of the most complicated elements of a medical malpractice case is the process of identifying and holding all liable parties responsible for negligence. If you have suffered injuries arising out of medical malpractice, you need to understand the legal concept of vicarious liability. You need to understand the parameters of hospital liability when it comes to your injuries, losses, and damages.
Understanding Vicarious Liability
Vicarious liability is a legal concept that holds a supervisory party responsible for the conduct of a subordinate, according to Cornell University School of Law. The technical legal term applied to this concept is respondent superior.
In the case of medical malpractice that occurs in a medical center, because of the doctrine of vicarious liability, not only is a negligent physician or other staff member responsible for injuries and losses, but so is the hospital itself. Because the hospital has supervisory authority over a doctor, or other staff member, the medical center as a duty of care that extends to a patient.
There is a duty that requires a medical center to exercise reasonable care for the manner in which a physician, or other staff member, treats a patient. The duty is breached when a doctor fails to provide care and treatment to a patient in a reasonable manner. Due to the doctrine of vicarious liability, the responsibility for the negligence of a doctor extends upwards to the hospital itself.
Statute of Limitations and Identifying All Responsible Parties
The process of identifying all responsible parties in a medical malpractice case can be time consuming in some instances. For example, if the case involves a surgery in which there was some sort of equipment defect, coupled with negligence by the doctor and other staff members, and associated liability from the hospital, pulling together all parties can take time. An attorney must develop an essential case against each party before a lawsuit can be filed.
There are limitations on the amount of time that can be spent identifying responsible parties in a medical malpractice case, and preparing a lawsuit more generally. In fact, the law that establishes the deadline is called the statute of limitations. In the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the law only allows you two years to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. If you miss the deadline, odds are you will be precluded forever from pursuing a lawsuit in your medical malpractice case.
Retaining a Capable Medical Malpractice Attorney
The first step in retaining a medical malpractice attorney is scheduling an initial consultation with experienced legal counsel. A medical malpractice lawyer usually does not charge a fee for an initial consultation. During an initial consultation, you receive a case evaluation. That process will include a discussion of possible parties that might be included in a claim for your injuries, damages, and losses under the concept of vicarious liability. You will also have the opportunity to put forth any questions you have about your case.