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How To Sue a Hospital?
Prerequisites & Steps You Need to Take

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If a hospital error leads to your injury, you can sue the doctor, nurse, or hospital in state court. You can also sue hospitals for failing to evaluate and stabilize a medical condition under federal law. This law is called the Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act (EMTALA).

As a personal injury attorney, I have previously worked on medical malpractice cases and I can assist you in gathering evidence and advise you on what to do next to negotiate a settlement. But first, let me tell you how to sue a hospital.

Summary of the Key Findings

  • Filing medical malpractice lawsuits against a hospital differ from filing a medical malpractice case.
  • The statute of limitations for claiming medical malpractice varies by state, with most states having a period of between two and six years.
  • Suing a hospital for hospital negligence can be a complex process.

Reasons To Sue A Hospital

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You can either use a hospital for injuries you received as a result of medical malpractice damages such as:

  • Received the wrong diagnosis.
  • You were given the wrong medication.
  • Medical technicians sometimes make mistakes, like not sanitizing equipment properly. 
  • Surgical errors can happen when surgical instruments are left inside you during surgery. 
  • Hospital employees did not provide the required level of care.
  • If a healthcare professional makes a mistake that causes harm to a patient.
  • Wrongful death.
  • Discrimination (someone refuses to treat you fairly because of your race, sexual orientation, or nationality).

The statute of limitations for claiming medical malpractice varies by state, with most states having a period of between two and six years.

Difference Between Suing a Hospital and Medical Malpractice Cases

A lawyer holding and reading a bookFiling medical malpractice lawsuits against a hospital differ from filing a medical malpractice case. A medical malpractice claim is when you sue an individual doctor or nurse for medical negligence. You would file a medical malpractice lawsuit in civil court [1].

In order to win a medical malpractice case, medical malpractice lawyers will need to prove that medical professionals did not provide the standard of care that a reasonable person in their profession would have provided.

You would also need to show that this negligence led to you being injured. Suing a hospital is different from suing an individual doctor or nurse. When you sue a hospital, you are suing the institution; therefore, proving medical malpractice is important.

3 Prerequisites Needed to Sue a Hospital

There are three main things that you need to prove in order to sue a hospital and be successful:

  • You will need to show that the hospital was negligent.
  • You will need to show that this negligence led to you being injured.
  • You must prove that you have suffered damages from your injuries.

8 Steps To Sue A Hospital

A lawyer reading a book on his table

Since suing a hospital for hospital negligence can be a complex process, here are 8 steps that you need to take if you want to sue a hospital:

1. Take Action Before The Deadline For The Statute Of Limitation

One of the biggest mistakes a patient can make is waiting too long to file a medical malpractice lawsuit because statutory time limits require patients to file legal claims promptly. 

2. Consult a Medical Malpractice Attorney.

A hospital negligence claim is complex. They require an understanding of the law and medical procedures.

3. Determine Who Was Negligent

In most cases that I previously worked on, you cannot sue a hospital for a doctor’s treatment error unless the doctor is a hospital employee. This is because most doctors are not employees of the hospital. 

However, there are some exceptions. For example, if the doctor’s incompetence should have been obvious to the hospital, making it direct hospital negligence.

4. Get Your Medical Records

Hospitals must keep patients’ records for a few years after they finish treatment. Patients can request copies of their records, but the hospital may charge a copying fee.

5. Calculate Your Losses

Consider all conceivable losses and harm caused by the negligence of healthcare providers, as well as wage losses, emotional or physical pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and wrongful death. 

6. Know Who to Sue

If something goes wrong with your health due to a medical error, it can be hard to know who from the hospital employees is responsible. Is it the doctor, the hospital, or a nurse? What about an ambulance service? If it’s unclear who is responsible, the patient might file a lawsuit against more than one party. 

7. Comply With Any Procedural Rules

In most cases, patients must complete a variety of formalities before bringing a medical malpractice claim to court. 

These parameters differ by state. A claimant may have to file an affidavit of merit, in which a qualified medical expert certifies that the plaintiff has adequate grounds for their claim.

8. Prepare and File The Complaint

To file a complaint, the patient should include their name and contact information, the name of the responsible party or parties, a description of how the injury occurred, and an estimate of the amount of money that would make the patient feel fairly compensated. 

The patient should take this information to their state court system’s county clerk’s office.

“To win a medical malpractice lawsuit against a hospital, you must be able to show that its staff caused your injuries.”
Benedict P. Morelli, Attorney

Potential Financial Settlements for Hospital Negligence Claims

A doctor talking to two people in the hospital

Here’s the list of compensations you can expect if you win a hospital negligence case:

  • Damages, injuries, or loss of life financial compensation.
  • Non-financial compensation.
  • Medical bills will be paid.
  • Loss of consortium.
  • Compensation for physical and non-physical pain and distress.
  • Exemplary damages.

Related Articles:

See all related medical malpractice lawsuits our lawyers have taken on.

FAQs

Can I Sue a Hospital for a Doctor’s Mistakes?

No, you cannot sue a hospital for a doctor’s mistake. You can sue the doctor, but you cannot sue the hospital. The reason for this is that most doctors are not employees of the hospital. They are an independent contractor.

What are the Main Theories to Sue a Hospital?

The main theories to sue a hospital are negligence, res ipsa loquitur, and vicarious liability.

How Long Do I Have to Sue for Medical Malpractice?

To sue for medical malpractice, you have between one and four years. However, the statute of limitations may differ depending on the state in which you live.

What are Some Legal Remedies Involved in a Hospital Lawsuit?

The legal remedies involved in a hospital lawsuit are Injunctive Relief, Damages, Compensatory damages, and Punitive damages.

Suing a Hospital

You may want to sue the hospital if you are hurt or become ill because of hospital negligence. Before you take any steps, make sure to consult our experienced lawyers at Schmidt & Clark

You will have access to a team of personal injury lawyers in a free consultation session. We will investigate your claim, and if we find merit in your hospital negligence case, we will file a lawsuit on your behalf.


References:

  1. https://www.cms.gov/Regulations-and-Guidance/Legislation/EMTALA

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