Negligence and Malpractice at Michigan Hospitals
Our Michigan hospitals do great work saving lives and helping people every day. But sometimes, mistakes happen. There are two primary medical malpractice theories that we advance against hospitals: direct negligence and vicarious liability.
Direct Negligence Claims Against Hospitals
When an injury to a patient occurs because of something wrong in the administration of the hospital, we usually file a claim that basically says that the hospital is not being managed right. Examples of hospital malpractice claims include:
- Failure to have enough nurses, aides, or other staff
- Failure to revoke privileges or fire doctors with long histories of making mistakes
- Negligently hiring or credentialing doctors (i.e., giving a doctor hospital privileges or hiring when he or she has a history of making mistakes at other hospitals)
- Failing to have appropriate policies and procedures
- Failing to sanitize
- Failing to maintain equipment in proper working order
Direct negligence claims against hospitals are very difficult to prove because the Michigan Legislature has granted hospitals and doctors broad immunity and does not allow anyone to see certain documents, such as a credentialing file or internal review documents. That means that a doctor might have made twenty surgical errors (that didn’t come to light because the patient or patient’s family did not file a medical malpractice case), and the evidence that the hospital knew of the errors will never come to light. At Hoffer & Sheremet, we do not shy away from hospital malpractice claims when we think the hospital made a mistake. Even though these cases are hard to prove, our creative medical malpractice lawyers are able to advance legal theories that we can prove without these “privileged” documents.
Vicarious Liability Claims Against Hospitals
The second legal theory against hospitals is based on a legal doctrine called “vicarious liability”. This means that someone else was negligent, such as a doctor or nurse, but that the hospital is responsible for their mistakes. For example, if a nurse commits malpractice, the hospital is responsible for her mistake as her employer. This is a doctrine within vicarious liability called “respondeat superior”.
Whether to include the hospital as a defendant in a medical malpractice lawsuit depends on many factors, such as whether the doctor was employed by the hospital and available insurance limits. Sometimes, there is no benefit to including the hospital in the lawsuit, and doing so just increases the time it takes to litigate and the amount of money it costs. As experienced medical malpractice lawyers, we know when the hospital should be included in the case and when it is best left out.
If you or a loved one suffered hospital negligence, it is important to explore your legal rights. Please contact Hoffer & Sheremet, PLC at 616.278.0888 to learn more about compensation to which you or a loved one may be entitled to or fill out our free consultation form.