Hospital Liability for Staff and Employee Errors

The majority of medical malpractice lawsuits involve doctors and other medical professionals who inflicted harm on patients by behaving irresponsibly. However, medical facilities and hospitals are occasionally held accountable for negligence. Here are some of the most common instances of medical negligence, as well as when a hospital might be held liable.

Hiring Negligence

For irresponsible hiring, a hospital might be held accountable. The hospital is responsible for ensuring that its staff has the required credentials and the requisite experience and education to fulfill their job obligations competently. The hospital is also in charge of training its employees. Hospitals should also do background checks on employees to look for issues such as drug addiction or the conduct of crimes against patients.

Before granting workers rights to deal with patients, hospitals must conduct adequate screening processes. State and national screening protocols have been created, as have state and national standards.

Employee Negligence

While many health care professionals who serve in hospitals are independent contractors, others work full- or part-time for the hospital. Because the hospital is accountable for its workers’ carelessness, a patient who is injured by the medical negligence of an employee doctor or other health care provider may sue both the facility and the individual employee.

Non-Employee Events

In very limited circumstances, hospitals may be held accountable for the behavior of a non-employee. For example, if a patient was misled into thinking a doctor was an employee, the hospital may be held accountable.

Furthermore, a hospital may be held accountable if it grants staff privileges to a doctor who is ignorant or hazardous. Medical facilities can also be held accountable if they should have known a doctor was unfit or hazardous but continued to employ him or her nonetheless.

Vicariously Liable

An individual or a hospital may be held accountable for the actions of another person under the principle of vicarious responsibility. This legal concept is generally applied when employers are held liable for the actions of their staff. As a claimant in a medical malpractice case, establishing vicarious responsibility of the facility might be critical. Usually, the hospital’s insurance will have the funds to compensate the injured patient adequately.

The important aspect in determining whether or not a hospital is liable for the activities of one of its workers is most commonly determining whether or not the individual was operating within their scope of employment when the carelessness that led to the harm happened. Doctors are not the only medical professionals that may be negligent when it comes to a patient’s treatment; other hospital personnel who can offer care to patients can also be guilty of negligence. As a result, the hospital may be held vicariously accountable for several individual workers’ medical misconduct.

Independent Contractors

What if the irresponsible doctor, nurse, or therapist is an independent contractor rather than a hospital employee? Is the facility still vicariously responsible for the negligence of that health care provider?

This is a difficult topic that is determined by your state’s legislation, but in general, the courts will consider criteria such as:

The specific terms of the employment agreement between the hospital and the health care provider, including how much influence the facility had over the employee’s job conditions and behavior, as well as how the provider was compensated.

As a basic guideline, the more authority an organization has over the conduct of a seemingly independent contractor, the more probable it is that the independent contractor is essentially an employee.


More and more clinics are marketing to patients in order to persuade them to attend one hospital or healthcare institution over another. If a health care institution, such as a hospital, advertises fast wait times, cheaper rates, or “top-notch service” promises to entice a patient to attend, and the patient does not get the type of care offered and suffers negligent damage, the hospital may be held accountable.

How can a medical malpractice lawyer help?

Establishing responsibility in any medical malpractice case is difficult, and the procedural requirements in these types of claims may be rather complicated, so if you believe you have been damaged by the medical negligence of a hospital or a member of its staff, you should consult with a medical negligence lawyer.