One of the more challenging issues that occur sometimes with medical negligence cases is figuring out exactly who should be the defendant. This is especially an issue thanks to the emergence of corporations that own multiple hospitals, practices, and clinics. Let's take a look at how a medical negligence attorney determines who ought to be the subject of a claim.
The first issue that has to be explored is how the particular location where the malpractice occurred was organized at the time of the incident. Was their an in-charge practitioner at the time? For example, there is usually a particular surgeon who is in charge of a procedure, and they may direct other parties' actions during surgery.
Sometimes these structures can get a bit tricky to unwind. Suppose two surgeons were needed during an especially long procedure. It may take some level of review of what happened to even decide who the surgeon in charge was at the moment an injury was inflicted on a patient.
When Did the Negligence Happen?
Given the involvement of so many people in treating patients, it's also a challenge to think about when the particular act of negligence might have occurred. For example, what if there are questions about whether a doctor's choice of prescription was wrong or if the pharmacy filled the order inaccurately? Both potential defendants are likely to point the finger at the other one, and it will take time to sort through records and find the liable party. Also, your medical negligence attorney may have to consult with expert witnesses to determine who got what wrong in the prescribing process.
Who Has Insurance?
Realistically speaking, a medical negligence attorney is going to follow the insurance. It's not uncommon for a doctor to be insured against negligence and malpractice, but it's less likely that someone further down the food chain is going to be insured. Perhaps an incident occurred because a nurse or medical technician failed to remove a clamp or sponge from a patient's body at the end of a procedure. Those folks are less likely to be insured, and that means the target of a claim is more likely to the organization itself, usually the hospital where the procedure occurred.
A similar issue occurs in the previous prescription hypothetical. It's unlikely that a claim would be filed against the pharmacy technician. Instead, the pharmacist or the pharmacy would probably be the target.