When Can a Hospital Be Liable for Negligence?
If you or a family member has been hurt in a hospital, you may be entitled to financial compensation. In addition to pursuing a medical malpractice claim against a doctor, individuals may be able also to pursue a claim against a hospital. When the negligent party is an employee of the hospital, the hospital is responsible for the actions of their staff, making them liable for the injuries they inflict. For example, here are four common scenarios where hospitals can be held liable for patients’ and visitors’ injuries:
1. Hospital Employee Negligence
Just like other employers, New Jersey law makes hospitals financially liable for the negligent acts of their employees (with limited exceptions). While doctors typically are not hospital employees – read below for more on this topic – nurses, medical technicians, paramedics, and others who work in hospitals are commonly on the hospital’s payroll.
So, for example, if you suffered harm because a nurse administered a medication improperly (or administered the wrong medication), you could have a claim against the hospital for medical negligence.
2. Hospital Administration Errors
Another common scenario arises when administrative errors lead to patients’ illnesses and injuries. For example, say you were admitted to the hospital, and then your condition worsened because no one checked on you for hours.
Was the hospital understaffed? If so, this could give you grounds to pursue a negligence-based claim for financial compensation. Other examples of hospital administration errors include:
- Failing to appropriately label and store medications.
- Failing to ensure that employees are properly trained and licensed.
- Failing to establish and enforce appropriate safety protocols.
- Mishandling patients’ medical records.
3. Physician Medical Malpractice
Despite the fact that doctors typically are not hospital employees, there are still a couple of different ways that hospitals can become liable for physicians’ medical malpractice.
The first is if the hospital does actually hire physicians as employees. While not typical, there are still numerous hospitals that hire doctors as full-time employees rather than granting them privileges as independent contractors.
The second is if the hospital hired or kept an unfit doctor on staff. If you were harmed by a physician’s mistake and the hospital either (i) failed to conduct appropriate background screenings before granting the physician privileges, or (ii) kept the physician on staff despite an obvious concern – such as alcoholism or drug addiction – then the hospital may be liable for allowing the physician to treat your illness or injury.
4. Slips, Falls, and Other Premises-Related Accidents
Finally, not all injuries that occur in hospitals result from medical negligence. If you or a loved one was injured due to any other dangerous situation in a hospital, you could also have a claim for compensation.
Slips, falls, and other premises-related accidents are among the most common examples, though there are a variety of other situations in which accident victims will have non-medical negligence claims against hospitals, as well.
Injured in a NJ Hospital? Schedule a Free Consultation Today
If you need help seeking compensation after an illness or injury sustained in a New Jersey hospital, contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Hasson, P.C. for a free consultation with an experienced Hackensack personal injury attorney. Call (201) 928-0300 or tell us what happened online today.