The Hospital's Liability for Both Employee and Non-Employee Doctors in Medical Malpractice

When a patient is harmed or injured during a hospital stay in New York State, the patient can either sue the hospital or both the hospital and the primary doctor for negligent patient care. But, what happens when the doctor is not an employee of the hospital?

Is the doctor in a medical practice case treated any differently if he or she happens to be an employee of the hospital? What is the hospital's liability for both the employee and non-employee doctor? These are some of the vital questions that many people want to know the answer to.

When is the hospital responsible for the doctor's malpractice?

Generally, when medical malpractice takes place in a hospital environment in New York, the act of malpractice is usually carried out by an employee such as a nurse, medical technician, or staff member; thus the NY hospital becomes liable for that act of malpractice.

The doctor is the only person whose actions have to be reviewed differently by legal experts as that doctor may or may not be an employee of the hospital. These are the straight-forward rules governing the hospital's liability for a doctor's negligent actions:

1. If the doctor happens to be under the hospital's administrative controls, then any harmful action on the part of the doctor makes the hospital liable for medical malpractice.

2. If the doctor is an independent contractor, then the hospital is not automatically liable unless other hospital employees or hospital facilities were directly responsible for the injury to the patient.

3. If one doctor commits malpractice under another doctor's supervision, the supervisor doctor will get sued but the hospital can go scot free.

The above situation can get further complicated if one doctor is an employee while the other is not. The best advice is to contact a medical malpractice law firm in NY to discuss the peculiarities of a particular case.

The Hospital's Administrative Controls on Staff Doctors

While non-employee doctors are treated as "independent contractors," doctors under the hospital's administrative controls are treated as employees. So for legal purposes, any identified professional misconduct on the part of an employee doctor makes the NY hospital responsible or "liable."

A doctor is deemed to be under hospital's administrative controls when:

· The hospital decides the doctor's working hours and the vacation schedules.

· The hospital determines the doctor's fees for patients.

Exceptions to the Above Rules of Hospital Liability

In exceptional situations, NY hospitals can be held liable for a non-employee doctor's action too. One such situation may be when hospitals fail to clarify whether a doctor is an employee of the hospital or not. In many cases the law requires that hospitals state in the admission forms whether a particular doctor is an employee or independent contractor.

Another exceptional situation is the emergency room, where patients do not get a chance to interact with the hospital prior to treatment. Thus, is anything goes wrong in the ER, the patient or the patient's family members do have a legal right to sue the hospital for the doctor's malpractice even if the doctor happens to be an independent contractor.

Another exceptional situation is where the non-employee doctor has been proven to be harmful or incompetent. The hospital can be held liable for allowing an incompetent doctor to practice on their premises.

What can a patient do when facing a medical malpractice in New York?

As medical malpractice laws are so complicated and it is often not easy to determine who is liable, the best advice to patients is to contact a medical malpractice law firm like RMFW Law in New York to get the best advice on how to proceed and what your case is worth, if anything. Do not assume anything.

If you have experienced equipment failure, emergency room errors, recovery room errors, bed sores, or any other problem while hospitalized, you have the full legal right to contact a legal team such as Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff, & Wolff of RMFW Law at 212-344-1000RMFW Law for a free consultation. The first meeting is on us. We know this arena and we are here to help.


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