You hear the term “medical malpractice,” and there is a presumption that a medical doctor made a mistake. Perhaps she left a sponge in the victim during surgery, mishandled the birth of a baby or misdiagnosed an illness with treatment that caused more significant harm. But medical malpractice has a broader scope. While doctors may be involved, it’s important to remember that they may not be the only negligent party involved.
The purpose of a medical malpractice suit is proving that a negligent entity caused harm or personal injury. The entity can be a person, organization, drug manufacturer, or health care facility and its employee. There can even be parental liability or contributory negligence.
Why others can be involved
The reason for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit depends on the circumstances of the injury, which means that others could be responsible:
- Hospitals: These organizations are in the business of helping patients, but can be guilty of negligence in hiring unqualified employees and allowing them to work, improperly staffing departments, using faulty equipment or generally allowing an environment that harms instead of helps the victim. They can also be liable if a private attending physician recommends what is clearly the wrong treatment or fails to follow the outside physician’s correctly prescribed treatment.
- Drug companies: As we have learned from the lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, drugs marketed as safe but causes severe harm can lead to significant lawsuits. Examples include a drug that was not adequately tested for all potential side effects and risks – this can be a product liability issue where the drug is unreasonably dangerous.
Injuries will often be serious
The circumstances of medical malpractice injuries will vary, but these cases often involve victims who have suffered severe or permanent harm. Victims and loved ones will often seek damages to pay for ongoing care, loss of income as well as other concerns.