Atlanta Hospital Negligence Lawyers
Who is Responsible for Negligence in Hospitals?
Like private practice physicians and other healthcare professionals, hospitals can be subject to lawsuits. However, given that a hospital has a large number of employees and offers many different types of medical care, a negligence claim against it is far more complex. For instance, hospitals and emergency rooms have exceptions to the duty of care and standard of care owed to patients that other medical professionals don’t have.
A negligence claim against a hospital can be very confusing, unless you have the guidance of an experienced medical malpractice attorney, like those at Grant Law Office in Atlanta. Our extensive experience in Georgia medical malpractice, hospital malpractice, and nursing malpractice is invaluable in your time of need. Our mission is to ensure that you receive all the compensation to which you are entitled under the law, so that you can focus on healing, both physically and emotionally.
"Wayne Grant was there for me during what could only be described as the worst time in my life. He was professional, yet personable and left no stone unturned in getting standard operating procedures changed in hospitals to make certain what happened to me cannot ever happen to anyone else again."
- Former Client
Recent Hospital Liability Verdicts and Settlements
- $2.2 Million - Hospital and neurosurgeon malpractice resulting in paralysis.
- $100,000 - Hospital fall resulting in fractured coccyx.
Click here for more verdicts and settlements.
The Hospital Is Liable for Its Employees
Hospitals are responsible for the behavior and performance of all their employees, no matter what the employee’s position is. This is called vicarious liability. When a hospital employee’s negligence results in the injury or death of a patient, the hospital or clinic can be held vicariously liable. To prove liability, it must be shown that the employee, such as a nurse of orderly, was acting within the scope of his or her employment when the negligent act that led to the injury or death occurred. Vicarious liability is very important in malpractice cases, because it ensures that a party with financial means (the hospital, as opposed to an employee) be required to pay compensation to the plaintiff.
In most cases, physicians practicing at a hospital are considered independent contractors, not hospital employees. When an independent contractor’s negligence leads to a patient’s injury or death, the hospital may not be held liable. This is why physicians carry their own malpractice insurance. The only time a physician’s negligence can result in the hospital being held liable is if the physician was employed by the hospital. Emergency room doctors and anesthesiologists are often hospital employees. The bottom line is that if a patient incurs injury due to the negligence of a hospital employee acting within the scope of his or her employment, the hospital can be held liable for the damages.
Georgia Hospital Malpractice Lawsuits
The statistics on medical malpractice in the United States, specifically medical malpractice in hospitals, are overwhelming. A New England Journal of Medicine study concluded that as many as 25% of all hospital patients experience a medical error, of some kind, that was avoidable or preventable. Dr. Marty Makary is a Johns Hopkins surgeon and author of the 2012 book Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won't Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care. In the book he states, "…10% to 15% of patients are not advised of all of their options regarding their medical care, surgeons operate on the wrong body part 40 times every week, approximately 100,000 people die from medical malpractice incidents each year, and medical negligence is either the fifth or sixth leading cause of death in the United States."
A hospital can be negligent due to both its actions and failures to act. Medical negligence includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Failure to maintain proper medical records
- Losing medical records
- Failure to check the credentials of independent contractors such as attending physicians, anesthesiologists, and surgeons
- Poor training or supervision policies and procedures
- Unsanitary practices and conditions
- Employee errors
- Birth injuries
- Prescription errors
- Failure to diagnose
Hospital Dangers for the Elderly
While people often die at hospitals, it is usually because they are very ill or severely injured when they’re admitted. They may also die as a result of an invasive surgical procedure, which carries a certain percentage of fatal risk. Unfortunately, patients sometimes lose their life due to hospital negligence. Many patients who die as a result of negligent care are particularly vulnerable, such as the elderly and behavioral health patients (behavioral health patients are often elderly patients suffering from dementia). Nurses and other non-physician hospital staff have a responsibility to ensure that elderly people are watched closely. An elderly patient can be seriously injured or killed in a simple fall. Qualified hospital staff should always assist elderly patients when they are getting in or out of bed, and walking in halls or to the restroom.
Behavioral health patients are often confused, and they may try to wander out of their rooms or even the hospital itself. This is sometimes referred to as patient elopement, and it is a widespread problem. Around 34,000 Alzheimer’s patients wander out of their homes or care facilities each year in the United States. Without proper supervision by hospital staff, a behavioral health patient may wander into a dangerous environment or situation and suffer serious injury or death. If hospital negligence caused the accident, the hospital can be held liable for the damages.
What to Expect When Filing a Malpractice Claim Against a Hospital
First, don’t expect a settlement or award overnight. Your attorney will probably have you examined by an independent physician to document your injuries, making a thorough assessment of their extent and what type of negligence led to them. What you should expect is pushback from the hospital and its insurance company. You should also expect to be contacted by a lawyer representing the hospital’s insurer. DON’T TALK TO HIM. Instead, refer him to your attorney.
After that, you wait. An experienced and responsible medical malpractice attorney like those at Grant Law Office will contact you regularly with updates on your claim. And don’t hesitate to call them if you have any questions. The reason you get the representation of a law firm is so that they can handle the complex process of filing a lawsuit while you concentrate on your recovery.
You Need the Assistance of Atlanta Hospital Negligence Lawyers
The hospital liability attorneys at Atlanta’s Grant Law Office are only a phone call or mouse click away. They will give you an honest evaluation of your case, determine who the liable parties are, and pursue the claim on your behalf with determination and skill. Their goal is to settle a claim with the parties and insurance companies fully and fairly. However, if those parties do not negotiate a settlement in good faith, they will not hesitate to go to trial. Contact is easy with several options: call (866) 249-5513 or (404) 995-3955, use our case review form, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to serving you.