Picture this: you’ve suffered an injury or come down with a serious illness and you’re subsequently hospitalized. You expect that you’ll receive quality care from quality medical professionals. Unfortunately, many people have negative experiences in hospitals that result in infections (such as sepsis), worsening of their original condition, or even wrongful death. If you have suffered an injury or illness during your stay at a hospital, this blog post outlines how to sue a hospital for financial compensation.
At Lipton Law, a seasoned Southfield medical malpractice attorney with our law firm is here to ensure that your voice is heard. We will give you the tools necessary to fight for your right to just compensation. While you focus on your recovery and well-being, we’ll focus on all the legal heavy lifting. To schedule your free consultation with a hospital negligence lawyer, call our Michigan law office at 248-557-1688 today.
Can I Sue a Hospital for Medical Negligence?
Yes, but you’ll need to be prepared with substantial evidence. If you received the wrong treatment, if a hospital staffer makes the wrong choice, or if your family member dies in the hospital’s care, you may have the option to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit. Your best option for a medical malpractice claim against a hospital is to work with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer to sue a hospital.
You’ll need to gather sufficient evidence in order to prove the hospital’s liability for your injury or your loved one’s wrongful death. Most cases will require testimony from medical experts. This way, they can testify as to what the appropriate standard of care should have been. At Lipton Law, we have nurses on staff who advise us in our medical malpractice lawsuits. Their medical professional backgrounds give us the extra edge we need to properly litigate your case.
Can You Sue a Hospital for the Actions of Its Employees?
This depends on whether or not the medical professional who caused your injury was an employee of the hospital or an independent contractor. The key in these cases is liability. Hospitals have what is known as “vicarious liability” for their employees. This basically means that, if one of their employees negligently injures a patient, that patient can sue both the negligent employee and the hospital.
But what if the responsible person is only an independent contractor of the hospital? If this is the case, you’ll need to determine whether or not you were informed that the liable party is not an employee of the hospital. Let’s say the hospital fails to inform you that your doctor is an independent contractor, which leads you to believe that they are a hospital employee. This brings “apparent agency” into the picture.
Apparent agency means that the hospital has failed to inform you that the medical professional who harmed you is an independent contract. In other words, the doctor in question is an “apparent agent” or employee of the hospital. When this happens, you can absolutely sue for hospital negligence.
Can You Sue a Hospital for Emotional Distress?
Having botched medical care that causes you more pain and sickness than it should have can be extremely distressing emotionally. You can, in this case, sue for emotional distress. However, you’ll need to provide enough evidence to prove your distress clearly. One strong piece of evidence could be a diagnosis from a qualified psychiatrist. The following medical diagnoses could greatly strengthen your case.
- “White coat syndrome,” which is a fear of medical professionals (who often wear white coats)
Along with the diagnosis, your psychiatrist will need to clearly state that your diagnosis resulted from the medical malpractice you suffered from. Two of the best ways to do this are to work with an experienced emotional distress lawyer and to seek help as soon as possible. Seeking a diagnosis for your emotional distress sooner will help connect the distress with your medical malpractice case.
Is It Difficult to Sue a Hospital?
This depends on the facts of your medical malpractice case. Many personal injury attorneys believe that proving medical malpractice is very difficult. However, our medical malpractice lawyers have considerable experience litigating and winning medical malpractice cases on behalf of injured patients. We know what evidence is necessary when it comes to holding a hospital responsible for your injuries.
Additionally, most medical malpractice claims actually settle out of court. In fact, more than 90% of these cases settle rather than going to trial. You’ll still need to work with seasoned medical malpractice attorneys to ensure that your evidence is as strong as possible.
Reasons to Sue the Hospital
Hospital negligence can come in many forms, all of which are unfortunate mistakes that should never happen. People go to the hospital for injury or illness treatment, and they expect all hospital employees to provide excellent medical care. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. There are a number of ways in which doctors, medical technicians, and other medical professionals can engage in medical negligence. We list some of the most common examples below.
- Emergency room errors: When people need emergency medical treatment, there is very little room for a medical error of any kind. However, an emergency room is a high-stress, fast-paced environment. Mistakes can still happen when doctors fail to uphold the appropriate standards of care.
- Prescribing the wrong medication: Medication errors are another unfortunately common medical mistake. These can come in the form of either prescribing the wrong dose or the wrong medication entirely.
- Surgical errors: A doctor’s mistake during surgery can be absolutely devastating for a patient. Examples of surgical errors include operating on the wrong patient, wrong site surgery, and even leaving equipment inside the patient (retained surgical instrument).
- Mistakes by medical technicians: A medical technician is generally responsible for supporting the doctors while you receive treatment. They must monitor your blood pressure, vitals, pulse, temperature, and other critical data. Failing to properly monitor patients or sanitize surgical instruments can lead to infections and injuries.
- Delayed or wrong diagnosis or treatment: Delayed or incorrect diagnoses cause delays in patients receiving the treatment that they really need. This can cause their condition to worsen, sometimes to the point of being life threatening, or even fatal.
- Failure to uphold the standard of care: Standards of medical treatment exist for a reason. When a doctor’s malpractice breaches the expected standard of care, they open themselves up to a medical negligence lawsuit.
- Medical negligence from a staff member: All hospital staffers are expected to operate with patient safety and sanitation in mind. When they fail to do this, patients could be left vulnerable to serious hospital infections and illness, such as sepsis.
- Wrongful death of a family member: Unfortunately, the actions of negligent healthcare providers can ultimately lead to the wrongful death of family members. When this happens, family members of the deceased have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
How to Sue a Hospital
There are certain steps that we recommend you take when you intend to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against a hospital.
- First, contact a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. They will help guide you through the process of filing a claim and ensure that you don’t make any costly mistakes.
- Next, you’ll need to gather evidence of the damages you suffered, as well as their value. Examples of important evidence include medical records, statements from medical experts, documentation of lost income or lost wages, and proof of other forms of non-economic damages.
- Then, you should gather a thorough testimony from a qualified medical expert. Their statement should show that the care you received was below the expected standard, that a doctor with similar experience in the same field would have taken different steps to avoid harming the patient, and that your injuries are more likely than not a result of the negligent doctor’s actions.
- Determine the value of your claim with help from an attorney. Your lawyer will likely add up the values of the following damages in order to determine the full value of your claim.
- Current and future medical expenses
- Current and future lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Emotional and physical pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of quality of life
- Disability, disfigurement, or severe scarring
Why Is Suing a Hospital Different from Other Medical Malpractice Cases?
You might think that suing a hospital is exactly the same as suing a doctor, but these cases are often very unique. The main reason is that hospital staffers could either be directly employed by the hospital, or they could be independent contractors. This can greatly impact whether or not you have the right to sue the hospital directly. If the hospital is your doctor’s employer, you may be able to sue both the doctor and the hospital. If the doctor is an independent contractor, you may be barred from suing the hospital (if you knew that the doctor was not a hospital employee). However, most of the fight will be against the hospital or doctor’s insurance company.
Insurance companies exist to make a profit, and as a result, they will try their best to avoid payouts. Working with a skilled attorney can help you secure the leverage you need to combat stubborn insurers and get the compensation you deserve.
How Long Does It Take to Sue a Hospital?
This is a difficult question to answer, as the amount of time that any kind of lawsuit takes can vary greatly. Just the processing of a medical malpractice claim can take several months to complete. If the case leads to a lawsuit filed in court, it may take anywhere from 16 months to two years before the final decision is reached. Before the case can even begin, you’ll need to recover from your illness or injuries. Speaking with an attorney can give you a better idea of how long your case might take.
Is It Common for Hospitals to Settle Out of Court?
Yes, it is very common for hospitals and medical professionals to agree to settle out of court. This is partially because litigation is very expensive, and partially because they carry insurance that protects them from medical malpractice lawsuits. However, insurance companies will make you fight for a fair settlement, meaning you’ll need strong evidence.
What Are the Chances of Winning a Hospital Negligence Lawsuit?
This largely depends on the strength of the evidence you have. Many online statistics claim that juries and judges mostly rule in favor of medical professionals. However, Lipton Law has more experience handling these cases than the average attorney. We have what it takes to examine the facts of your case, gather strong evidence on your behalf, and use that evidence to build a strong case for you in court.
We also have nurses on staff at our office, which gives us a large leg up on the competition. Our attorneys work closely with these nurses during every medical malpractice case, as this gives us a better understanding of what the appropriate standard of care should have been. If you have been harmed by a negligent medical professional, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We offer free, no-obligation consultations, and we don’t accept a cent unless we secure a recovery for you.
Potential Compensation from Suing a Hospital
As we stated previously, most medical malpractice cases settle out of court. Your attorney will play a large role in valuing your case. So, your best bet is to work closely with them. The value of your claim will come from the losses you suffered as a result of the medical negligence. It’s important to understand the list of things you can sue for in a medical malpractice claim. The final award you receive in your case will depend on the following factors.
- Severity of your injuries
- Circumstances and facts of your case
- Relevant laws of your state
- Parties involved in the case
How Long Do You Have to Sue a Hospital for Negligence in Michigan?
According to Michigan Law, patients have two years from the date when the medical mistake occurred to sue the hospital for medical negligence. However, exceptions exist for certain cases. They involve minor patients, patient deaths, and the discovery of medical malpractice after the statute of limitations has passed.
Contact a Michigan Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today
If you or someone you love has suffered medical malpractice damages due to negligence from a hospital or medical professional, you deserve full and fair compensation. We strongly recommend that you work with a personal injury attorney who has extensive experience handling medical negligence cases. At Lipton Law, our Michigan personal injury lawyers regularly take on and find great success with medical malpractice claims. You have the right to sue the hospital for medical malpractice if their negligence caused your injury or illness. To schedule your free consultation about your medical malpractice claim, call our office at 248-557-1688 today.