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Many people who were injured by their doctor’s actions ask the same question: Can you file a medical malpractice lawsuit even if the case does not involve surgery? Many people assume that the only viable medical malpractice cases are those that involve a mistake during surgery. This is actually completely untrue. In fact, a huge number of cases each year do not involve surgery at all. This guide will explain more about when a medical malpractice lawsuit is appropriate.

Malpractice Cases

Medical malpractice has occurred any time a doctor fails to meet the expected standard of care that all physicians are required to meet, and this failure causes an injury of some kind. If a doctor fails to provide good care, but it does not cause any damage, then a lawsuit filed will likely not be successful. Examples of this include:

  • Prescribing the wrong medication
  • Ignoring a patient’s symptoms
  • Failing to diagnose a simple condition
  • Causing injury during an examination or treatment

It is also important to note that sometimes injury can occur even when the physician does meet the standard of care that is expected. Sometimes injury is simply unavoidable given a certain disease or condition. Other times, a condition is unusual or rare enough that a fully competent doctor may not realize and address it in time. In these cases, filing a lawsuit is still an option, but the chances of the defense winning are increased.

Filing a Lawsuit Against the Hospital

Sometimes it is more appropriate to file a lawsuit against the hospital, rather than an individual physician. These cases are rare, however, as most hospitals try to legally distance themselves from the doctors. Most doctors are independent contractors, instead of employees, and as such the hospital is not responsible for any malpractice committed by the doctors.

However, sometimes the protocols, safety regulations, or administrative processes of the hospital itself can cause injury. If this happens, you probably have a strong case for holding the hospital liable. Even if the doctors are not employees, the hospital is still responsible for only hiring competent doctors. If a doctor was not properly evaluated prior to being hired, and the incompetent doctor caused your injury, the hospital may be responsible.

Additionally, some doctors actually are employees, in which case you might be able to sue the hospital instead. However, keep in mind that hospitals usually have been legal teams to defend them, which may make it more difficult to win your case. Speak with a hospital malpractice lawyer in Salt Lake City, UT for more information.

Thanks to Rasmussen & Miner for their insight into medical malpractice and cases that do not involve surgery.