Understanding Hospital Negligence

Understanding Hospital Negligence

Medical malpractice is one of the most complex areas of law – and hospital negligence can be one of the hardest forms of medical malpractice to determine. It all comes down to the relationship between the hospital and the medical professional.

Hospitals are responsible for their employees

If a medical professional is the employee of the hospital, then the hospital is liable for that employee. Hospital employees are usually nurses, medical technicians, and the operations staff. If during a hospital admission a patient is injured, the hospital is responsible for the errors of its employees. If, for example, the wrong medicine or treatment is administered by a nurse or medical technician and the patient is injured, the hospital is responsible for the outcome.

Doctors are not usually employees of the hospital

Unlike most nurses and staff, doctors are typically not hospital employees. Most of the time doctors are independent contractors. Characterizing doctors as independent contractors are how hospitals try to protect themselves from mistakes doctors may make.

Not every doctor at a hospital is an independent contractor. If the hospital pays the doctor directly and provides employee benefits, then there is a good chance the doctor is an employee. Most of the time, however, a doctor merely has staff privileges at the hospital.

This also means that if a hospital employee commits malpractice while under a doctor’s supervision, the hospital may not be liable. If the doctor was present when the injury occurred and could have prevented it, the doctor may be the one primarily responsible.

The Exceptions

Like anything else in law, there are exceptions. This nuance is why its important to have a good attorney helping you navigate your hospital negligence claim. Here are some of the exceptions that your attorney should look for:

  1. Is It Clear Who the Doctor Works for?The hospital should clarify to a patient that the doctor is not an employee. Hospitals often avoid this problem through standard disclaimers in the fine print. They inform patients in their admission forms that the doctor is not a hospital employee.
  2. Did the Hospital Know the Doctor was Dangerous? Hospitals are responsible for providing privileges to work in their facilities. If there were indications that a doctor was or is a risk to patients and the hospital did not address the problem or revoke those privileges, they may be at fault.

Hospital Negligence


Looking for more answers?

Medical Malpractice in Plain English Book

Get A Copy of Our Book, "Everything You Need to Know about Medical Malpractice in Plain English"


Get a free consultation. Speak with a lawyer about your case.

Cirignani, Heller, and Harman Logo

At Cirignani Heller & Harman, LLP, we represent Illinois clients in Chicago and throughout Cook County, including the cities of Cicero, Elgin, Schaumburg, Oak Park, Maywood, Berwyn, Elmhurst, Evanston, Skokie, Des Plaines, Mount Prospect, Arlington Heights, Palatine and Hoffman Estates. We also help clients in DuPage County, Kane County, Lake County, McHenry County, Will County and Winnebago County. If you have been the victim of medical malpractice in Illinois, CHH Law is the law firm with attorneys that can help.

Email Us

CALL US: 312.346.8700 LAUNCH CHAT

Loading Animation
Close Chat Prompt Lawyers Ready To Chat