What is Corporate Negligence in Healthcare?

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Picture of Researcher: Ariana Arce​

Researcher: Ariana Arce​

a.arce@legalhelpadvisor.com

Picture of Journalist: Aaron Vivanco

Journalist: Aaron Vivanco

a.vivanco@legalhelpadvisor.com

Picture of Editor: Daniela Polo

Editor: Daniela Polo

d.polo@legalhelpadvisor.com

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What is Corporate Negligence in Healthcare?

In cases of corporate negligence, plaintiffs retain hospitals liable for a healthcare negligent act, such as hiring an incompetent doctor to perform medicine in their facilities. This usually comes to light when a patient gets injured because of malpractice. Read more about corporate negligence in healthcare and learn how to sue a company for negligence.

When May Corporate Healthcare Negligence Occur?

Corporate negligence occurs when a healthcare organization or corporation fails to meet its responsibilities towards its patients, resulting in harm, injury, or death. It is a form of malpractice where the actions or inactions of the corporation or its employees lead to patient harm.

Examples of corporate negligence in healthcare, include inadequate staffing, lack of training or supervision, faulty equipment or infrastructure, lack of communication between staff, and failure to follow established protocols and procedures. Let’s see each of them individually: 

  • Inadequate staffing

It is a frequent type of corporate negligence. When a healthcare organization fails to hire enough staff to meet patient needs, patients may not receive the care they need, leading to adverse outcomes. This can also occur when staff members are overworked and unable to provide the appropriate level of care.

  • Lack of training or supervision 

When healthcare employees are not properly trained or supervised, they may not have the knowledge or skills to provide safe and effective care. This can lead to mistakes, errors, and adverse outcomes.

  • Faulty equipment or infrastructure

Sometimes, failure to maintain or replace faulty equipment or infrastructure may put patients at risk. 

  • Bad or nonexistent communication between staff members

When healthcare employees, managers, and owners don’t communicate effectively with one another, they may be more prone to making mistakes. Therefore, patients may not receive the appropriate care they deserve. 

  • Failure to follow standard protocols and procedures 

When healthcare organizations fail to follow established protocols and procedures, patients may be at risk of harm. This can occur when staff members fail to follow infection control procedures, or when they fail to properly document patient care.

What is the Corporate Negligence Doctrine? 

Corporate Negligence is determined by a legal doctrine that retains healthcare facilities, hospitals, and clinics liable for patient injuries. A case ruled in 1991 established the doctrine of corporate negligence, blaming healthcare institutions for their patient’s injuries instead of doctors and other medical staff.

The doctrine establishes that all health providers and medical institutions must:

  • Make sure that their medical staff is adequate, qualified, and certified to perform medical procedures and treatments. 
  • Apply adequate measures and develop the required policies for that their patients receive quality medical care.

Examples of corporate negligence in healthcare 

If a patient gets injured or is otherwise affected by medical negligence, the healthcare corporation can be sued. Usually, these corporate negligence lawsuits are presented on the grounds of: 

  • Omission to check the credentials of their medical staff.
  • Poor hygiene and safety in the healthcare facility.
  • Underprepared staff.
  • Failure to inform their patients correctly about procedures and treatments.

How to Sue a Company for Negligence? 

To sue a hospital or another medical facility for negligence, you need to gather the following:

Proof of the negligent act 

There are several things to be proved, such as:

  • The hospital had a legal responsibility to care for you as their patient
  • The treatments, actions, or decisions didn’t hold the adequate standards for a healthcare institution.
  • The injuries or damages caused by the negligent action were serious. 

Level of damages caused by the negligent conduct

The damages refer to the money you receive as compensation when you settle or sue another party. Besides the injury itself, the consequences of the injuries the hospital or medical facility caused you may have been economic or non-economic.

The financial damages include treatment because of the injuries, expenses, additional treatment, and loss of wages and/or earning capacity. The non-financial damages may be, for instance, the pain and suffering you experienced because of the injury. 

Consequently, to determine the damages, you need to collect the following evidence:

  • Medical records
  • Bills from the hospital
  • Testimonies from experts who can confirm that your disability or injury reduces your earning capacity
  • Bank statements that prove your reduced income.

Finding who to sue for negligence

To file a lawsuit for corporate negligence, you need to know who to sue first. It is essential to know exactly who is the responsible person or company for your injury or illness. The options are many, such as:

  • Medical staff: nurses, doctors, assistants
  • Pharmacists
  • Emergency medical technicians
  • Cleaning or janitorial staff (them failing to clean, therefore leading to infections)
  • Physical therapists
  • Interns or assistants

After determining who made the mistake or negligent act, then you need to figure out how their negligent action or omission led to your injuries. To do so, you need to compile:

  • Testimonies from coworkers and witnesses
  • Hospital records linked to the negligent act
  • Background checks or records of the doctors, nurses, and the rest of the medical staff
  • The employment relationship between the potentially responsible person and the hospital. To do this, your lawyer may ask for contracts, medical records, and other documents. 
  • Medical expert testimonies

In any circumstance, determining who to sue and how to do that may be difficult. A well-experienced attorney specializing in corporate negligence and healthcare could guide you through this process. Contact us so we can help.