In Florida, a patient who suffers an injury as a result of a faulty medical procedure or diagnosis may be able to sue a hospital or healthcare facility directly for that malpractice negligence. That patient may also be able to sue the facility for vicarious liability if a physician or staff member employed by the facility caused the malpractice injury.
In many medical malpractice cases, a patient may require long-term care and treatment for resulting injuries. The patient can recover compensation to pay for that care and treatment and other related expenses with a medical malpractice lawsuit against all potentially responsible parties, including the hospital or healthcare facility where the medical mistake happened.
An experienced Florida medical malpractice lawyer is an injured patient’s best resource to identify all liable parties and pursue the full measure of available malpractice damages from those parties.
When is a Florida Hospital Directly Liable for Medical Malpractice?
For example, a hospital may be directly liable for medical malpractice injuries when:
- The hospital keeps a physician or other employee on its staff when it knows or should have known that the staff member has a history of making mistakes or is known to be a substance addict
- The facility fails to implement procedures to prevent medication errors
- The facility’s procedures allow a patient to be discharged prematurely or without adequate instructions or care
Every medical malpractice case is unique in its specific facts. When you hire the right medical malpractice attorney to represent you when you suffer a malpractice injury, that attorney will analyze all the facts and circumstances that point to the parties who may be liable for your damages, including the hospitals and healthcare facilities where you were diagnosed or treated.
When is a Florida Hospital Vicariously Liable for Medical Malpractice?
In Florida and elsewhere, a hospital or healthcare facility is responsible for the acts and omissions of its direct employees under a legal doctrine known as respondeat superior (literally, “the master must answer”). This means that if a doctor, nurse, pharmacist, therapist, medical technician, or other hospital employee makes a medical mistake, the employer-hospital is financially liable for the consequences of that mistake.
A knowledgeable Florida medical malpractice lawyer will thoroughly assess a medical mistake to determine if and when a hospital is a legitimate target of a malpractice lawsuit under a respondeat superior theory. Medical mistakes can include:
- Misdiagnosis of an illness or condition
- Surgical errors
- Inadequate or improper monitoring of a patient
- Giving the wrong medication or the wrong dose of a prescription pharmaceutical
- Ignoring or failing to report clear or suspected illness symptoms
- Poor or incomplete follow-up of a diagnosis.
Are There Exceptions to When a Florida Hospital May Be Vicariously Liable for Medical Malpractice?
In some situations, a hospital may be shielded from vicarious liability for a staff member’s malpractice, such as:
- Medical mistakes happening in healthcare facilities owned by a governmental entity.
- A physician is an independent contractor and not an employee of the hospital (e.g. the doctor has admitting privileges but is not an attending doctor at the hospital), and the patient has been made aware of the doctor’s status as an independent contractor.
- The hospital claims that the doctor who made a medical error was working outside of their scheduled hours or exceeded the defined scope of their employment.
When Should You File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Against a Florida Hospital?
Florida has set a short two-year statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against a hospital or medical care provider. This means that you must file your lawsuit within two years after you discovered an injury that was caused by medical negligence. There are limited exceptions that might extend this deadline, but if you suspect that you were harmed by medical negligence, you should always act promptly and retain a Florida malpractice lawyer to preserve your right to recover damages.
Florida also requires injured patients to support their malpractice lawsuits with an expert affidavit to attest that the patient’s case has merit. Your malpractice lawyer will need time to procure an expert opinion and prepare the affidavit for your case. Because of the short filing deadline and affidavit requirement, you should not hesitate to consult with a lawyer about your medical malpractice claims.
Call the Medical Malpractice Attorneys at Kogan & DiSalvo
The medical malpractice lawyers at Kogan & DiSalvo have helped Florida patients who have suffered medical malpractice injuries to recover millions of dollars in compensation to reimburse economic and other expenses incurred due to malpractice. We use our knowledge and experience to pursue all parties that may bear liability for malpractice harm, including hospitals and their staff members.
Please call our offices in Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, or any of our other locations in South Florida for a complimentary and confidential analysis of your Florida medical malpractice claims.