Hospitals and other medical facilities in Oregon and around the country may face legal action when they fail to take all reasonable steps to ensure the well-being and safety of their patients. Medical malpractice lawsuits filed against hospitals generally involve the doctrines of either corporate negligence or vicarious liability. Vicarious liability is a secondary liability that holds supervisors responsible for the actions of those under their control. Corporate negligence has been recognized as a cause of action against health care facilities due to the impact that they can have on the health of their patients.
The doctrine of corporate negligence creates a duty of care owed by hospitals and clinics to their patients that cannot be delegated. This means that plaintiffs need not establish reckless behavior on the part of health care workers in order to bring a legal action for corporate negligence against their employers. Claims against a hospital based on the negligent actions of workers would be based on vicarious liability.
To avoid hospital negligence lawsuits, health care providers should ensure that their facilities are safe and clean and their doctors and nurses are competent and available in sufficient numbers. Hospitals should also have policies and procedures in place to ensure that staff are properly trained and supervised and any accidents or errors are reported and investigated.
Mistakes made by doctors or hospitals can have catastrophic repercussions, but seeking civil remedies from the reckless individuals and institutions involved can be challenging for those who have suffered injury, loss or damage. Medical professionals and their employers usually have significant resources at their disposal, and they are rarely eager to admit that mistakes were made. Personal injury attorneys with medical malpractice experience are likely familiar with these challenges, and they may rely on medical experts of their own to establish that the level of patient care was inadequated.