Other Legal Considerations
In recent years, health care industry lobbyists have pushed for legislation which restricts malpractice. Many states have passed amendments to their medical malpractice laws. In many jurisdictions, medical malpractice suits must be brought within a set deadline from the negligent act. In addition, most states have placed caps on the maximum award in medical malpractice suits.
Many states require plaintiffs in a medical malpractice suit to file a "certificate of merit". This requires that an expert review the plaintiff's case and medical records in order to decide whether the plaintiff has been injured, and whether that injury was caused by a medical professional's failure to meet accepted standards of care. The plaintiff's attorney must then submit a certificate of merit to the court which has jurisdiction, showing that a medical expert has found the case to have merit.
Medical malpractice suits can hold hospitals liable for malpractice committed by their employees under the legal doctrine of respondeat superior. To hold an employer responsible, the plaintiff must show that the employee was performing within the requirements of their employment when the negligence occurred. This can be very important in ensuring that the plaintiff will be able to recover financial damages.
Health care providers such as attending physicians at hospitals can be regarded as independent contractors, which can nullify an attempt to hold the hospital responsible under respondeat superior. However, the hospital can still be held liable for negligence for granting privileges to an incompetent or unlicensed health care provider.
Remember- medical procedures or treatments don't generally come with a guarantee. An unsuccessful result does not necessarily equal negligence. However, if you suspect that you have been the victim of negligence or other medical malpractice, you should consult an attorney with experience in this area immediately. Discussing your case with a professional is vital to protect your legal rights and keep open the possibility of financial compensation and civil action for malpractice.