Most medical malpractice lawsuits in Ohio and around the country are brought against negligent physicians, but they may also be filed against hospitals, clinics or other medical facilities, anesthesiologists, nurses or pharmaceutical companies. Whoever the defendant in a medical malpractice case is, the plaintiff must establish that the care they received did not meet generally accepted medical standards and directly caused their harm.
Lawsuits against hospitals
Hospitals may be sued for medical malpractice when they fail to check the credentials of the medical professionals they hire or do not have enough doctors or nurses on duty to provide adequate care. Hospitals could be ordered to pay punitive damages in medical malpractice cases if they engage in certain types of behavior such as covering up mistakes made by their doctors or hiring physicians they know to be unqualified or incompetent. Hospitals can also be held responsible for the actions of their employees under the vicarious liability doctrine of respondeat superior. Vicarious liability is a legal principle that allows one party to be held responsible for the behavior of another party. Respondeat superior deals specifically with employers and employees.
Lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies
Pharmaceutical companies are not usually sued over the side effects of taking their drugs, but they may be if the facts suggest that these side effects were not disclosed to doctors. They could also face legal consequences if they encourage physicians to prescribe drugs to treat conditions not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. This is known as off-label prescribing.
Causation in medical malpractice cases
Causation is often the most difficult element of a medical malpractice lawsuit to prove. This is because the plaintiffs in these cases were usually already sick when their doctors made mistakes. Personal injury attorneys with experience in this area may call on experts to help them establish causation. Specialists could study hospital or physician records to identify errors or a failure to diagnose, and they could then explain to juries that the plaintiff’s outcome would have been much improved if proper care had been provided.