Hospital Malpractice Law

A quick overview on hospital malpractice claims and laws by state

When a person is injured while receiving treatment in a hospital, the hospitals are generally held responsible for the negligence and incompetent care provided by its staff, nurses, medical technicians, paramedics and other employees. However if the doctor is careless and makes a mistake injuring the patient, the hospital is not liable for it unless he is an employee of the hospital. Now-a-days the grievances filed by aggrieved patients alleging malpractice by doctors and hospitals are relatively common in US than in any other country.

Situations that initiate hospital malpractice:

As per the hospital malpractice law the patient can sue the hospital under certain common situations like:

  • Incorrect treatment of a diagnosed illness
  • Giving the patient the wrong medication or dosage
  • Performing surgical procedures which are not necessary or without patient consent
  • Failure to monitor or stabilize the patient
  • Improper use of medical devices
  • Injuries due to physician’s negligence
  • Negligence in medical procedures by hospital staff etc.

On the other hand, sometimes the cases of medical negligence often involve intricate issues concerning emergency room care, surgical procedures, intensive care treatment, labor and delivery and other medication errors.

Hospital malpractice laws by state:

  • Alleging claims against the hospitals fall under different categories such as the medical and ordinary negligent claims. As in all hospital malpractice law claims, it is very important to assess the facts and circumstances of the injury to make sure if there was negligence and whether the negligence falls within the definition of a medical claim or not.
  • The statutes of medical malpractice lawsuits either from hospital malpractice or a doctor’s mistake are complex to determine and vary as indicated by the state laws. For instance in February 2010, the Illinois Supreme court has overturned the state’s medical malpractice law and established caps of $500,000 for non-economic damages in verdicts against doctors and $1 million in claims against hospitals.
  • The statute of limitations varies from one state to another but in general depend upon decreases in the amendments and rights of the state constitution and as determined by legal judges. According to hospital malpractice law, for medical claim the patient must file a lawsuit within one year of the injury and the affidavit of merit should be submitted even before filing a court case. However, if the injury doesn’t meet the definition of a medical claim and is caused due to negligence of the nurse or the hospital staff the statute of limitations is two years and requires no affidavit of merit.


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