Hospital Negligence: What You Need to Know
Medical malpractice remains far too common. Recently, researchers determined that medical errors are now the third leading cause of death in the United States. Only cancer and heart conditions are responsible for more deaths. In too many cases, negligent healthcare providers fail to take the proper safety precautions to protect patients.
Multiple different parties could potentially be held liable for a patient’s injuries through a medical malpractice lawsuit. While these claims are often brought directly against doctors, there are also cases in which a negligent hospital could bear responsibility for a victim’s injuries. These are deeply complex claims: victims of hospital negligence need strong legal representation.
At Dawson & Albritton, P.A., our North Carolina medical malpractice attorneys have extensive experience handling hospital negligence claims. We have the legal skills and knowledge to hold hospitals and other health care providers liable for negligence.
If you or your family member was injured or suffered medical complications as a result of hospital malpractice, please do not hesitate to contact our Greenville, NC law office for immediate assistance.
What is Hospital Negligence?
Hospital negligence is medical malpractice that is committed by a hospital (the organization) or by one of its employees. These claims are generally distinct — though they may overlap or they may be filed concurrently — with medical malpractice claims brought against physicians.
Often, doctors who are admitted at a hospital are not actually employed at that institution. Thus, these doctors carry their own medical malpractice insurance. For this reason, hospitals are generally not liable for the malpractice of an individual doctor. However, hospitals are responsible for ensuring that they provide all patients with reasonably safe conditions on their premises. When patients suffer injuries or medical complications a result of hospital negligence, they should be ready to take action to hold the facility legally liable.
Some of the most common examples of hospital negligence include:
- Not monitoring or stabilizing a patient;
- Mistakes on medical reports;
- Failure to ask for or order necessary medical testing;
- Misuse of medical devices or medical equipment;
- Unnecessary operations or wrong-site surgeries;
- Negligent post-operative follow-up care;
- Premature discharge of a vulnerable patient;
- Failure to implement reasonable hiring standards or to adequately train staff members;
- Improper treatment of patients following operations;
- Failure to properly sterilize the facility or the equipment, leading to hospital-borne infections; and
- General unsafe conditions on the premises.
North Carolina Hospitals are Responsible for their Employees
Under North Carolina law, hospitals are responsible for the conduct of their employees. As was mentioned, doctors are often not actually employees of the hospital. Though, there are certainly many exceptions to that general rule. In addition, many other medical professionals are employees of hospitals. Some examples of parties that could be employees include nurses, medical technicians, paramedics, administrators, and others. When a negligent employee of the hospital causes harm to a patient, the facility is legally responsible. Our North Carolina hospital negligence attorneys have the skills and experience to help victims prove liability and hold healthcare providers — including hospitals — accountable.
Proving Hospital Negligence in North Carolina
In many hospital negligence cases, the core claim is not that a specific employee was responsible for the patient’s injuries; instead, the claim is that there was a systematic breakdown at the institution. To hold a hospital legally liable for its negligence, a plaintiff must be able to prove the following four required elements:
- The hospital owed the patient a duty of care;
- The hospital violated its duty by providing substandard care;
- The patient was injured, at least in part, because of the hospital’s negligence; and
- The patient suffered real harm.
In practice, proving hospital negligence can be difficult. It is generally accepted that hospitals are hectic, complex environments. Not every medical procedure will go well; and a hospital is not liable simply because a patient suffered harm, or otherwise had poor results. There are certainly times where a hospital can do everything right and a patient will still suffer harm.
To prevail in a medical malpractice claim, the patient must be able to prove that they suffered harm because the hospital provided worse care than an ordinary hospital would have provided under similar conditions. In other words, the hospital must have done something wrong. Like all other medical malpractice claims, hospital negligence cases must be backed up by strong, persuasive supporting evidence. It is crucial that victims seek help from a top North Carolina hospital negligence lawyer as early as possible. Your lawyer can start an immediate investigation, taking action to build a strong legal claim against the hospital and any other negligent parties.
Compensation Available to Medical Malpractice Victims
If you or your loved one was a victim of hospital negligence in North Carolina, is it crucial that you seek professional guidance. Under state law, injured victims can bring hospital negligence claims to recover compensation for both monetary and noneconomic damages. However, hospitals and their insurers are known to fight these claims. When negligence is clear, insurers typically shift their strategy and they focus on trying to get plaintiffs to settle their medical malpractice lawsuit for the smallest dollar amount possible. At Dawson & Albritton, P.A., our North Carolina hospital negligence attorneys know how to hold health care providers and their insurers accountable. We help patients maximize their recovery. You may be eligible to recover compensation for:
- Emergency room care;
- All other hospital and medical bills;
- Physical therapy and physical rehabilitation;
- Lost current and future wages;
- Pain and suffering;
- Psychological trauma;
- Permanent disfigurement;
- Long-term disability;
- Reduced quality of life; and
- Wrongful death of a family member.
Were You a Victim of Hospital Negligence in North Carolina?
We can help. At Dawson & Albritton, P.A., our top-rated North Carolina medical malpractice lawyers are strong, committed advocates for the victims of hospital negligence. If you are considering filing a malpractice claim against a hospital or other health care provider, you need professional legal representation. To request a free review of your case, please do not hesitate to call our Greenville, NC law office at 252-752-2485 or 1-800-261-9681.