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Who is Responsible When a Patient Files a Wrongful Death Claim?

Monday, May 21, 2018By Nina Shapirshteyn

A wrongful death suit can be brought by the estate of a patient who was the victim of medical malpractice. The estate can be awarded damages for the negligence of the hospital or medical professionals involved in the patient’s death. In these types of cases, there can be multiple parties who engaged in negligent conduct that resulted in death. Plaintiffs should understand who can be sued and which entities are responsible for the negligent actions of others.

The liability of hospitals. A hospital where a patient dies can be found liable based on the negligent conduct of doctors and nurses who are employed by the hospital and provided care to the patient. The hospital may also be deemed negligent in its supervision practices. A plaintiff may allege that the hospital did not properly maintain and provide equipment or manage the care provided at the facility. A hospital can additionally be liable for actions unrelated to the conduct of its employees, including failing to dismiss incompetent employees, instituting faulty hiring procedures, or failing to establish effective safety protocols.

Physician negligence. The negligence attributed to physicians can arise during various stages of treatment. A doctor may be liable for misdiagnosing the patient, administering incorrect drugs, or committing surgical errors. When a physician is an employee of the hospital and the physician’s negligence caused the death of the patient, then the hospital is liable in a wrongful death lawsuit. In many cases, a physician treats a patient or performs surgery at a hospital but is not an employee of that hospital. Questions of employee classification are complex and require an analysis of a number of factors, including the extent to which the employer exerts control over the worker. These determinations directly impact which parties can be held liable when malpractice occurs.

Nursing errors. Similarly, a hospital is not liable for the conduct of a nurse who is an independent contractor and is not employed by the hospital. Assuming that the nurse has been deemed an employee of the hospital, the hospital can be held liable where a nurse breached her duty of care to the patient. This can include acting or failing to act in the following situations: recording incorrect information on the patient’s chart, administering the wrong medication or dosage, or failing to report certain symptoms or conditions that exacerbated the illness or injury.

If you or a member of your family suffered injury or death as a result of negligence or a defective automobile, contact the attorneys Alexander Law Group, LLP. Our exceptional personal injury lawyers will answer your questions and get you the maximum compensation that is possible. Call 888.777.1776 or contact us online.

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