Can I Hold a Hospital Liable for Medical Malpractice?

hospital hallway with doctors Although many medical malpractice cases are based on a doctor’s negligence, there may be cases where a hospital is liable for the patient’s injury.

Hospitals have an obligation to implement procedures and employ qualified staff members that meet the standards held by the medical community. If a hospital fails to uphold this standard, it can be held liable for medical malpractice.

If you or a loved one has suffered because of a hospital’s negligence, contact Greg Coleman Law’s experienced medical malpractice lawyers in Knoxville for a free, no obligation consultation. We have a strong record of success helping victims of negligence obtain the justice and compensation they deserve.

Below, our Tennessee personal injury lawyers discuss when a hospital can be held liable for medical malpractice:

The Health Care Provider is an Employee

Hospitals are liable for any action committed by a health care provider or staff member employed by the medical facility.

However, many hospitals hire health care providers who are not actual employees and work as an independent contractor. This means the hospital does not control how the health care provider operates and is not fully responsible when he or she has made an error.

Hospitals often try to avoid liability by claiming that the healthcare provider is an independent contractor. To determine if a health care provider is an employee or independent contractor, consider the following factors:  

  • What is the level of control the hospital has over the health care provider?
  • Does the health care provider choose his or her own working hours?
  • How is the health care provider paid for his or her services?
  • Does the hospital provide benefits to the health care provider?
  • Does the hospital set the health care provider’s fees?

An experienced medical malpractice attorney will investigate the relationship between the health care provider and the hospital to establish the type of employment relationship that existed.

If the health care provider that treated you or your loved one was not employed by the hospital, you may still be able to bring legal action against the negligent doctor.

The Hospital Is Negligent

In some situations, the hospital itself is directly responsible for the injuries the patient sustains. A hospital may be negligent in many different ways, including:

  • Keeping an unqualified employee on staff
  • Hiring incompetent or inexperienced healthcare providers
  • Failing to adequately train its medical staff
  • Failing to hire enough health care providers to tend to the needs of patients
  • Neglecting to implement or enforce sanitary procedures
  • Using outdated, obsolete or broken equipment during medical
  • Losing medical records or test results

Injuries caused by medical malpractice can often be significant and result in patients suffering long-term or permanent adverse health complications.

When the Time Limit Has Not Passed  

Another important factor you must consider when filing a lawsuit against a hospital is Tennessee’s statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases.

In Tennessee, you have a one-year statute of limitations to file a lawsuit against a negligent health care provider or medical institution that provided substandard care, according to T.C.A. § 29-26-116.

This means you have one year from the date you received negligent treatment to bring legal action against the at-fault party. However, there are some exceptions that may alter the statute of limitations.

This includes the rule of discovery, which extends the statute of limitations if you can prove you could not have reasonably known you suffered an injury because of substandard medical treatment. The one-year statute of limitations will begin on the date you discovered, or should have reasonably known, that you suffered an injury.  

Additionally, Tennessee has a three-year statute of repose for medical malpractice cases. This means you must bring your case against the at-fault party within three years of receiving substandard medical treatment. If you fail to take action during this time frame, you cannot pursue compensation from the at-fault party.

However, the statute of repose does not apply to cases where a foreign object was left inside a patient after surgery or a medical procedure. In this situation, the patient will have one year to file a claim from the date he or she discovered the foreign object.

Contact Greg Coleman Law’s Experienced Lawyer for Help

Medical malpractice claims are often complex and require the preparation and experience of a seasoned lawyer to represent your case.

The attorneys at Greg Coleman Law are well-acquainted with establishing a medical malpractice lawsuit and will use their experience to help secure the justice and compensation you deserve. We will work to build a case that demonstrates the connection between your injury and the hospital’s substandard care towards its patients.

Contact us as soon as possible to discuss your claim during a free, no obligation consultation. We understand the difficulties you may be experiencing, which is why we only charge clients on a contingency fee basis. This means you only have to pay us if we recover compensation for your claim.

Call (865) 247-0080 for qualified legal help with your claim.