When you visit a healthcare facility, it is with the expectation that the facility and its staff will work in your best interest to improve your health and wellbeing. Unfortunately, sometimes you may receive substandard care or poor-quality treatment that may either harm or injure you or hinder your treatment.
Due to the critical impact hospital negligence can have on a patient’s health and life, U.S. law allows you to sue a hospital for negligence. Here’s what constitutes hospital negligence, along with what and how much you can sue for.:
What Counts as Hospital Negligence?
Hospital negligence is when a hospital employee acts in a way as to cause harm or injury to a patient receiving care at the hospital. Although often used interchangeably, medical malpractice and hospital negligence differ in the fact that medical malpractice involves the actions of a physician while hospital negligence refers to actions of the hospital as an entity. The hospital is held responsible for the actions of its administration and staff.
Examples of hospital negligence include:
- Giving the wrong dosage of medication
- Wrongful amputation
- Infections acquired from the hospital
Can You Sue a Hospital for Negligence?
According to a legal theory known as “respondeat superior,” you can sue a hospital for negligence if you incur any injury or harm due to incompetence or negligence of its staff.
Respondeat superior—a Latin term meaning “let the master answer”—suggests that you can sue employers if you were hurt by their employees who were on the clock at the time of the injury. Therefore, if you were hurt or injured by any hospital employees such as medical technicians, nurses, and support staff, you can sue the hospital for negligence.
There are three reasons for which you can sue a hospital for negligence:
- Wrongful death: The avoidable death of a patient caused by medical errors
- Medical malpractice: A mistake made by a healthcare provider, who is aware of the possible consequences of an omission or action, that leads to harm or injury (unfortunately, medical malpractice deaths per year amount to a shocking 251,000)
- Medical negligence: An honest mistake by a medical professional that leads to harm or injury
Keep in mind that you must file your claim within a certain time period after your injury or its discovery. This is known as a statute of limitations on medical malpractice. To speed things up, it’s best to consult an attorney such as a nursing home abuse lawyer, for your case.
How Much Can You Sue a Hospital for Negligence?
There is no standard amount that you can expect to receive from a hospital negligence claim because every case is different. In many cases, you may be offered a settlement offer. However, you should not accept a settlement unless you feel that it is fair.
The average payout for a medical malpractice suit in the US is about $242,000. How much you sue a hospital for negligence depends both on the individual case and the harm caused as well as the state you live in. To get an idea of how much you can sue for a hospital negligence claim, take a look at a few past cases:
Negligence in Appendicitis Cases
Case: A man visited the emergency room complaining of abdominal pain, which was caused by a ruptured appendix resulting in stroke. The radiologist incorrectly interpreted the CT scan, because of which the plaintiff’s condition worsened.
Case: A boy came to the hospital with symptoms of appendicitis and was treated. However, the plaintiff contended that the hospital had failed to diagnose and treat his appendicitis in a timely manner.
Anesthesia Malpractice Cases
Case: A woman underwent surgery in which the anesthesiologist injected her with the wrong medication, causing permanent brain damage.
-South Carolina (2018)
Case: The anesthesiologist was unable to monitor the patient’s compromised breathing, leading to hypoxic brain injury and death.
Emergency Room Malpractice Cases
-South Carolina (2020)
Case: After falling down a flight of stairs, a senior citizen was taken to the emergency room and discharged shortly thereafter. His condition worsened and he died a few weeks later.
Case: A man came to the ER with chest pain but the physician did not recommend a CT scan. The man presented again the next day and was diagnosed with an aortic dissection, but did not survive after the surgery.
Of course, if you’re ready to start the process of a lawsuit for a medical negligence or malpractice case, be sure to reach out to an experienced attorney at Strom Law to make sure you receive the compensation you or your loved one deserves.