Yes, members of the nursing profession can be liable if they commit malpractice. And nursing malpractice is not uncommon, according to statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which maintains the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB).The NPDB includes statistics on malpractice payments made in claims against doctors, nurses, and other members of the medical community.
In Florida, there were 643 medical malpractice payments made in nursing malpractice claims against advanced practice nurses, registered nurses, licensed nurses, and nursing para-professionals between 2005 and 2015. There were 7,376 nursing malpractice payments in the United States.
Can a doctor or doctor’s office be liable for a nurse’s malpractice?
If a nurse is the employee of a doctor or a doctor’s office, the doctor or doctor’s office can be liable for the nurse’s malpractice in some circumstances. The doctor or doctor’s office can be liable under the theory of respondeat superior, which is the legal concept that holds an employer liable for the actions of its employees. The employee nurse must be working within the scope of her employment at the time he or she committed the malpractice
A doctor or doctor’s office can also be liable for the malpractice of a nurse if the doctor or doctor’s office was negligent. A doctor or doctor’s office can be negligent in regards to nursing malpractice in the following ways:
- Negligent hiring of the nurse, such as failing to properly check the nurse’s training and credentials
- Negligent the training of the nurse, which can involve failing to properly train the nurse for tasks the nurse is required to do on the job
- Negligent supervision of the nurse, including failing to make sure the nurse is doing his or her job correctly
- Providing improper or incorrect instruction to the nurse
Can a hospital be liable for a nurse’s malpractice?
A hospital can be liable for the malpractice of an employee nurse under the theory of respondeat superior, just as a doctor. The hospital can also be liable for the malpractice of an employee nurse if the hospital was negligent in some way.
The interesting twist is that some nurses, especially nursing para-professionals and advanced practice nurses, now work as independent contractors. Liability in these situations is less clear. We would need to obtain and read the contract between the hospital and the nurse. Then we would analyze the specific facts of your case. Even if the contract calls the nurse an independent contractor, he or she might be treated as an employee if the hospital exercised a great deal of control over how she did her work.
How can I get help?
If you have been injured due to the malpractice of a nurse, you may have a claim for your damages. Since these cases often involve multiple parties, work with a medical malpractice lawyer who will fight for you. Call Montero Law today at 954-767-6500 to schedule your free consultation.