Top 5 Ways a Hospital Will Fight a Malpractice Case

September 28, 2020

If you or a loved one has been harmed due to improper care by a hospital or its staff, you may be entitled to compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit. Even if your case is valid, be prepared for hospitals to do everything they can to fight your malpractice case. We’ll explain the top 5 ways a hospital will fight a malpractice case.

Medical malpractice is generally defined as any action (or inaction) by a healthcare provider that departs from accepted medical practices and causes patient injury. When a hospital employee fails to provide proper care and commits medical malpractice, the hospital can be held responsible and liable for any resulting patient harm caused by any of their staff members, including doctors, nurses, paramedics, and technicians.

In a successful malpractice case, you may receive a settlement that provides compensation for your economic damages for expenses such as medical and rehabilitation bills and lost wages, and also your non-economic damages such as physical, mental, and emotional pain and suffering and loss of quality and enjoyment of life. In rare situations, where the medical malpractice was caused by actions that were willful or wanton misconduct or reckless indifference to your rights, you may also be awarded punitive damages. While settlement amounts vary depending on the extent of the damages and the circumstances, they can range into the thousands and millions of dollars.

Hospitals are covered by medical malpractice insurance, but insurance companies are out for profit and have high-powered lawyers that will do everything possible to fight a malpractice case. Pennsylvania laws regarding medical malpractice are complicated, so anyone attempting to sue a hospital should have an experienced medical malpractice lawyer on their side to fight for their rights and the justice they deserve.

For almost 40 years, the Philadelphia hospital negligence attorneys at Wapner Newman have been the trusted advocates for medical malpractice victims and their families throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We know the tactics hospitals use to fight malpractice and how to combat them.

We offer a free consultation to discuss the circumstances of your case and determine the best way to help. We work on a contingency basis, which means that you do not pay any fees until we have secured a recovery on your behalf, so call us today at (215) 569-0900.

Top 5 Ways a Hospital Will Fight a Malpractice Case

The following are the top tactics hospitals use to fight malpractice, and how our lawyers combat them.

1. Claiming that the Healthcare Provider Was Not Negligent

Not everything that goes wrong in medicine and every mistake that professionals make is considered malpractice. In order to win your lawsuit, you and your attorney would have to prove that the medical professional who harmed you was negligent and at fault for causing your injuries. This means showing that the defendant (the party being sued) violated the standard of care.

The standard of care is the watchfulness, attention, caution and prudence that a reasonable person in the circumstances would exercise in a similar situation. The standard of care would differ in each situation depending on the type of healthcare provider involved, so the standard of care for a family doctor would be different than one for a surgeon.

Your medical malpractice attorney is aware of the standard of care in each situation and knows how to show that it was violated. This often involves extensive research and having another doctor in the field testify as to how they would have properly handled the case.

2. Claiming the Medical Professional Involved Is Not an Employee of the Hospital

Nurses and technicians are usually hospital employees, but many doctors are actually independent contractors, working for themselves and not the hospital. Whether a doctor is an employee of the hospital or an independent contractor depends on the nature of their relationship with the hospital, and our medical malpractice attorneys know how to examine this relationship to show that the hospital was responsible.

Even if doctors are working for themselves, they might be legally considered as employees under conditions where:

  • the hospital controls the doctor’s hours and vacations
  • the hospital sets the doctor’s charges and fees
  • the patient was led to believe that the doctor was an employee of the hospital or the hospital did not make it clear that the doctor was not an employee.

3. Claiming the Hospital Did Not Know that a Medical Professional Was Incompetent or Dangerous

Hospitals are supposed to screen their staff, make appropriate hiring decisions, and train staff correctly. A hospital can be held responsible if it should have known that a previously safe medical professional had become incompetent or dangerous, such as by exhibiting behavior indicative of alcoholism or drug addiction.

Our attorneys will conduct investigations and hire experts to prove that the hospital did not follow proper procedures and retained professionals that the hospital administration knew or should have known had become incompetent.

4. Claiming that Cases Were Not Filed on Time

Pennsylvania has a statute of limitations (the deadline to file a legal claim) on most medical malpractice claims that is generally two years from the time the malpractice allegedly occurred, or the courts will refuse to hear your case. If a death is involved, 42 Pa.C.S. § 8301 generally allows two years from the time of the death. Our attorneys will be sure to file everything correctly and in a timely manner and will fight to have your case heard in cases such as when injuries take time to show up or when the victim is a minor or child or unaware of the malpractice.

5. Claiming You Were at Fault

Pennsylvania has a doctrine of modified comparative fault, so courts can assign a percentage of blame to each party involved in the lawsuit. Hospitals will try to show that you did something to contribute to your injury, so that any award for compensation will be reduced in proportion to the degree of fault assigned to you. Our attorneys will refute these charges, but even if you are found to be partially at fault, as long as your apportionment of fault is 50% or less, you can still collect the proportion of the settlement for the degree to which the hospital is found to be at fault.

Get Help Fighting Hospital Tactics to Fight a Malpractice Case

Medical malpractice cases are complicated, and hospitals will do whatever they can to fight your claim. At Wapner Newman, our Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyers know the tactics hospitals use and have helped hundreds of clients through the years to secure the compensation they need to reclaim their future through our thorough and creative investigative legal solutions. We offer a free consultation to examine your individual situation and show you how we can help.

Contact us today at (215) 569-0900 to schedule your free case evaluation.