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Can Patients Sue Hospitals for Medical Malpractice?

Can Patients Sue Hospitals for Medical Malpractice?

It’s unfortunate, but doctors and other medical staff do make mistakes in the hospital setting. While mistakes should be prevented, it’s impossible to prevent all mistakes from being made. Not only are healthcare providers human, but hospitals, in particular, can be very chaotic environments. With so much happening and so many hospital workers coming and going, mistakes can be made and sometimes, patients are harmed as a result.

If you are a victim of medical malpractice and the injury occurred in the hospital, you may be wondering if you can sue the hospital for medical malpractice. Believe it or not, the hospital may not be legally liable for the medical error, but the answer depends on the specific facts of your case.

Was the Doctor an Employee?

Whenever someone has a medical malpractice claim, the first question their attorney is going to ask is, “Was the doctor an employee of the hospital?” If the doctor was an employee of the hospital, then the hospital would be responsible for any mistakes made by the doctor, however, most doctors are NOT employees.

Instead, they are independent contractors. If you were injured by a negligent doctor and he or she is an independent contractor, you would file a claim against the doctor, not the hospital. However, if someone else injured you, for example, if you were injured by a registered nurse or a medical technician, he or she is most likely an employee of the hospital. And since hospitals are responsible for the people they employ, the hospital would be sued in this case. So, it all comes down to who injured you and if that person is an employee of the hospital or an independent contractor.

Deadline to File a Medical Malpractice Claim in SC

All states impose what is called a “statute of limitations” or a deadline to file a medical malpractice claim, whether it’s against a doctor or a hospital. Under Section 15-3-545(A) of the South Carolina Code of Laws, it says that you have “three years from the date of the treatment, omission, or operation giving rise to the cause of action or three years from the date of discovery or when it reasonably ought to have been discovered, not to exceed six years from the date of occurrence, or as tolled by this section.”

To file a medical malpractice claim, contact the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC.

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