Medical Malpractice FAQ

If my doctor makes a mistake while treating me in a hospital, can I sue the hospital?

Probably not. For the most part, hospitals are not responsible for a doctor's medical malpractice if the doctor is not an employee of the hospital (most doctors are independent contractors and not employees). There are several exceptions to this rule.

  • A hospital might be responsible for a non-employee doctor's medical malpractice if the hospital does not make clear that the doctor is not an employee. But most hospitals avoid this problem by informing patients of the doctor's non-employee relationship in admission forms.
  • When a patient is treated in an emergency room, the hospital often does not have the opportunity to inform the patient about the doctor's non-employee status. Because of this, hospitals are often responsible for an ER doctor's medical malpractice.
  • Some states allow patients to sue hospitals for the medical malpractice of a non-employee doctor if the hospital gave staff privileges to an incompetent or dangerous doctor.

To learn more about when hospitals might be liable for a doctor's medical malpractice, see Nolo's article Medical Malpractice: When Can Patients Sue a Hospital for Negligence?

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