In medical malpractice lawsuits, identifying the defendant may be difficult because there may be more than one responsible party.
Who’s Responsible in Medical Malpractice Cases?
Physicians and other medical professionals have a duty to protect their patients from harm. When patients suffer medical-related injuries, they may be entitled to recover damages by filing a legal claim with medical malpractice lawyers. In some cases, harm is caused by several different parties.
Ill patients or patients undergoing medical procedures often see more than one physician. It’s common for a primary care physician to order medical testing such as x-rays, ultrasounds, and blood tests. In many cases, patients are referred to specialists who diagnose and treat certain health conditions. In the ordinary course of treatment, patients often see numerous medical professionals that may contribute to medical-related injuries.
When patient injuries occur, determining who’s responsible can make legal claims difficult. A patient’s injuries may result from numerous conditions including:
- Improper diagnosis and/or medical treatments
- Improper prescription medications
- Hospital errors
- Surgical errors
- Defective medical equipment
- Negligent medical actions
Medical experts estimate that 1 in 20 patients are misdiagnosed. That equates to about 12 million people seeking medical attention for some type of illness, injury, or disease each year. While many patient injuries result in legal actions with a medical malpractice lawyer, many patients suffer in silence because their injuries go undetected and are never linked to misdiagnosis.
Physicians who prescribe medications, as well as drug manufacturers who produce and distribute them, may be named as defendants in medical malpractice lawsuits. According to drug safety laws, drug manufacturers must include warning labels on prescription medications that warn patients of drug risks, and physicians must convey those risks to their patients.
According to the National Library of Medicine, patients admitted to hospitals, even for a few days, have much higher risks for injuries. Hospital patients have a 17.6% risk of developing infections; a 5.5% risk of adverse drug reactions; and a 3.1% risk of developing ulcers. Hospitals can be held liable for patient injuries because they assume responsibility for employee actions.
Defective Medical Equipment
Defective medical equipment is often responsible for patient injuries, but it may be difficult to determine if fault lies with the manufacturer or the medical professional using the equipment. If patient injuries are caused by a medical professional using the device, medical malpractice lawyers can file a lawsuit to recover compensation for patient injuries.