We trust our healthcare providers with our very lives and always expect them to act in our best interests when we come to them for medical treatment, surgeries, or procedures. But when a healthcare provider’s negligence or mistake causes you to sustain an injury or worsened medical condition, that provider is responsible and must compensate you for the damages. Medical providers carry malpractice liability insurance to pay out on a proven claim of medical malpractice. While it may seem that the doctor who treated you and made an error is clearly at fault, they may not be the liable party in your case. It’s important to understand who a malpractice victim can sue after a provider’s action or inaction causes them harm.
Understanding Liability in the Medical Field
Most personal injury claims depend on proving liability on the part of the person at fault by showing that owed a duty of care to take reasonable precautions to keep others safe, such as a driver’s duty to follow traffic laws and avoid distractions. Violating that duty leaves a driver liable for damages after a car accident in an at-fault insurance state like Illinois. But the law holds medical providers to a different standard for liability. Medical providers have the duty to treat a patient at the accepted standard of care within the medical community. Proving liability in medical malpractice hinges on the question of whether another reasonable medical professional would have acted differently under the same circumstances.
There are five general types of medical malpractice covering a variety of circumstances where a provider might fail to treat a patient at the accepted standard of medical care:
- Diagnostic mistakes
- Surgical errors
- Birth injuries
- Medication mistakes
While you might reasonably believe that the doctor treating a patient is always the party at fault, liability could lie elsewhere.
Who is Liable in a Medical Malpractice Claim?
Depending on the circumstances of the treating physician and their status at the facility where the incident occurred, liability could lie with the following:
- The doctor if they are an independent contractor with privileges at the facility where the malpractice occurred
- The hospital, clinic, or healthcare facility itself if the doctor or provider is an employee or if the facility’s management used negligent hiring or staff-training procedures
- The facility, if their procedures caused the malpractice
- Any member of the healthcare staff if they committed negligence, recklessness, or an incorrect procedure.
Who Can Be Sued for Medical Malpractice?
Depending on the unique circumstances of your medical malpractice injury, you could recover damages like your additional medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering from the following:
- Licensed healthcare providers
- Dentists/oral surgeons
- Hospitals, nursing homes, and other medical facilities
In many cases, it takes an experienced medical malpractice attorney to diligently investigate liability for a medical malpractice case to file a claim against the appropriate party with a compelling case for liability. A Chicago malpractice attorney has valuable resources and access to medical experts to review the circumstances of your injury and determine the prognosis and related financial damages.
When a healthcare provider makes a mistake or acts negligently, it can result in grave injury and even lasting disabilities. In extreme cases, a medical malpractice incident can lead to a wrongful death lawsuit.