Parties That May Be Liable in a Surgical Malpractice Case

Parties That May Be Liable in a Surgical Malpractice Case

Who can be held liable in a surgery malpractice suit?

surgical malpractice parties that may be liablePhysicians and surgeons are not the only parties that injured patients can hold liable in a medical malpractice claim.  Depending upon the situation and the nature of the healthcare worker’s employment, there are a number of medical professionals or establishments that might be liable in malpractice suit, such as:

  • Hospitals;
  • Clinics;
  • Nurses;
  • Home health care services;
  • Nurse practitioners; and
  • Physician's assistants.

In some cases, a manufacturer or pharmaceutical company may also be liable if a product or drug caused harm to the surgery patient. It can be difficult to ascertain exactly who the liable parties are, but a medical malpractice attorney can assess, investigate, and identify the potential parties that might be held legally responsible for the negligent behavior.

Vicarious Liability: The Doctrine of Respondeat Superior

The majority of medical malpractice cases in the BJS report originated from an in-patient hospital setting. Hospitals are often held responsible for the negligent acts of their employees because of what is known as the doctrine of Respondeat Superior. This essentially holds the employer responsible for its employees’ actions because its employees are acting for and representing the employer.

It’s the hospital’s duty to employ responsible, well-trained professionals to care for patients. If a surgeon, physician, or other employee makes or contributes to an error that causes a patient harm, injured patients may generally bring the suit against the hospital.

However, if the surgeon is an independent contractor and not an actual hospital employee, then the hospital may not be liable, though there are exceptions such as if the hospital allowed an incompetent or unqualified surgeon to operate in its facility. There are numerous extenuating circumstances and mitigating factors in determining liability in medical negligence cases, and you’ll want to speak with a local attorney to pinpoint medical malpractice liability for your specific case.

Special Considerations in Surgery Malpractice Case

If you or someone you loved suffered harm because of a medical professional’s negligence, there are few special considerations you’ll need to keep in mind: 

  • Statute of limitations – There is a one-year time limit in Ohio (from the date of malpractice or the date of discovery of the injury) on bringing forth medical malpractice claims. You do not want to procrastinate. 
  • Damage cap – Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2323.43 says that non-economic damages (things such as pain and mental anguish) in a medical malpractice case are capped at the greater of $250,000 or three times the victim’s economic damages (things such as medical bills and loss of wages). There is an overall maximum of $350,000 per victim. The caps are raised to $500,000 if the victim suffered certain permanent or catastrophic injuries. 
  • Legal counsel – Hospitals generally have a team of lawyers on the ready to fight surgical malpractice claims. If your family is facing a suit, you’ll want a lawyer on your side, ready and able to stand up for your rights and pursue the compensation to which you’re entitled. 

Contact a Lawyer at Ryan LLP

Ryan, LLP represents clients in the Cleveland area. Our firm can develop a strong case for malpractice victims. Contact our office today at 877-864-9495 to schedule a free case evaluation.

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