Have you gone in to get a routine procedure, only for the nurse to make a medical error and cause you injury? Who do you sue for the injury and damages? Do you sue the nurse, or do you hold the attending doctor, a different medical professional, or the medical facility liable for malpractice?
Depending on the exact circumstances of your case, different parties may be held responsible for malpractice. If you want to maximize your chances of a successful claim, you must file your malpractice lawsuit against the right parties.
By knowing who to sue for nursing malpractice, you can improve your chances of recovering a settlement. Learn more about who to sue for nursing malpractice and how to find the right lawyer to represent you in this article. However, first, let’s establish what constitutes nursing malpractice.
What Is Nursing Malpractice?
To file a nursing malpractice lawsuit, you must be sure you have a case. This begins with knowing what constitutes nursing malpractice or negligence.
Nursing malpractice occurs when a nurse fails to perform their responsibilities based on prevailing professional standards. In other words, nurses become liable for malpractice when they do not correctly perform tasks any competent nurse would be able to perform in the same situation.
For example, a competent nurse should be able to safely start an intravenous (IV) line. When a nurse fails to insert an IV in a way that minimizes infection, the nurse deviates from safety standards. If the patient is injured or develops an infection as a result, the nurse who failed at correctly inserting the IV line committed nursing malpractice.
In short, you can think of nursing malpractice as a nurse’s failure to do what’s expected from a professional person with nursing training. If a nurse is attending to you, commits an error, and injures you as a result, you have a legitimate nursing malpractice claim.
How Malpractice in Nursing Affects Patients
As established earlier, malpractice in nursing happens when nurses fail to render services based on the minimum standards of care. When nursing negligence occurs, the effects on patients can be catastrophic.
Here are some of the potential results of nursing malpractice.
Patients can sustain injuries when nurses fail to provide a safe environment. Patient injuries can range from minor cuts or bruises to more severe ones like traumatic brain injuries. To prevent injuries, nurses must remove potential safety hazards from a patient’s room. Nurses can ensure patient safety by checking on patients from time to time.
Patient injury can also result from improperly performing nursing procedures. With this in mind, nursing managers must delegate nursing procedures like IV insertions, catheter removals, and nasogastric tube (NGT) insertion only to qualified nursing personnel.
In a worst-case scenario, nursing negligence can result in a patient’s disability. Permanent disability can occur when a patient sustains injuries to the head and joints. Accidents in the hospital are a major culprit for patient disability. For this reason, nurses must ensure that the environment is safe for patients at all times.
Exacerbation of Existing Condition or Symptoms
There are many ways nursing negligence worsens a patient’s condition. First, nursing negligence in the form of medication errors can prevent a patient from recovering in a timely manner. A patient’s condition may also deteriorate when a nurse fails to administer medication correctly.
Besides medication errors, nursing neglect can also lead to the deterioration of a patient’s condition. One example of this is when nurses leave elderly patients in one position for a long time. When left unchecked, elderly bedridden patients can develop decubitus ulcers, otherwise known as bedsores.
Bedsores are a clear indication of nursing negligence. However, a hospital or nursing care home may be liable for medical malpractice for a patient’s development of bedsores.
Injury and disability can mean one thing for a patient – the inability to work. Unless a patient’s place of employment allows workers to recover with pay, the patient will lose money as a result of disability and injury. This is why medical malpractice lawsuits will often include lost wages as part of the damages.
Psychological or Emotional Trauma
Some acts of negligence can result in psychological or emotional trauma. Some common examples of nursing malpractice cases that have damaged the emotional well-being of patients involve nurses failing to provide privacy by divulging sensitive facts about a patient’s condition to people not on their medical team.
Death is another potential result of nursing negligence. When negligence occurs, patients may receive incorrect treatments and be at risk for severe injuries. All of these can lead to a patient’s untimely death, leaving family members to grieve.
When a death occurs because of nursing malpractice, loved ones can file lawsuits to recover compensation from the medical professional, hospital, clinic, etc.
Contact The Pagan Law Firm to speak with top-rated lawyers in New York City. We are here to fight for you and get the compensation you deserve.
Common Examples of Nursing Malpractice
Nurses can fail to provide reasonable care in several ways. Here are some of the ways nurses can be liable for malpractice.
Making Medication Errors
Medication errors happen when nurses commit mistakes during the administration of medications. Errors in medication administration do not just lead to wasted drugs. These mistakes can also potentially injure patients and cause organ toxicity.
Besides administering the wrong medication, nurses can also commit medication errors in other ways. Nurses may administer medications to the wrong patient. When this happens, the patient the medication was intended for doesn’t receive their required drug on time. Worse, the patient who receives the wrong medication will be at risk of reacting poorly.
Another example of a medication error is giving the wrong dose. Dosage matters because too much of a drug can cause toxicity. With this in mind, nurses must calculate the right dose of medications before administering them. Otherwise, they may be held liable.
Making Documentation Errors on the Patient’s Chart
Besides administering medication, it’s the nurse’s responsibility to document procedures, findings, and drugs. If nurses commit mistakes in documentation or fail to document patient care, other health team members will lose track of a patient’s progress. The lack of knowledge about how the patient is doing may also result in the absence of treatment.
It’s the nurse’s duty to document everything that goes on with the patient. If the nurse fails to make the necessary entries in the patient’s chart, the nurse will have committed nursing negligence.
Failing to Monitor the Patient’s Condition
Nurses can also be held accountable for failing to monitor a patient. Nurses have a duty to evaluate patients regularly. The failure to do so is a form of medical and nursing negligence.
Nurses must monitor certain things that indicate a patient’s health status. Among them are the vital signs, fluid input and output, eating patterns, and so on.
Failing to Perform a Routine Procedure Safely and Correctly
Errors in performing routine procedures are also a form of nursing malpractice. Some examples of these mistakes are errors in performing dressing changes, IV line insertions, medication administration, and medication preparation.
Hospitals may be liable for malpractice even if an individual nurse failed to follow proper procedure and made errors. For this reason, hospitals and institutions must provide the necessary skills training to keep staff competent.
Besides providing adequate training, hospitals must start by hiring qualified professionals to avoid any liability.
Neglecting a Patient
Neglect is a form of negligence most commonly seen in nursing homes. Nurses can neglect their patients or residents by leaving them unattended or in the same position for hours.
Nursing neglect occurs in other settings as well. Patients can sue a hospital for nursing negligence if it takes too long for nurses to respond during an emergency.
Failing to Check Medical Equipment
Checking medical equipment is part of providing a safe and therapeutic environment for patients. This is because any equipment that malfunctions can endanger patient lives. Nurses are responsible for ensuring that every piece of equipment is in perfect working order. Any failure to check equipment makes a nurse and the hospital or clinic liable for negligence.
Who Is Responsible for Nursing Malpractice?
When nurses commit malpractice or negligence, it’s common to hold the nurses themselves responsible. With that said, you may hold nurses liable for personal negligence, but personal liability doesn’t always equal legal liability. If you take legal action, it must be against parties who are legally responsible for the nurse’s malpractice.
In most nursing malpractice cases, there are two other parties you can take legal action against – the attending doctor and the hospital.
When Will the Attending Doctor Be Responsible?
Doctors can be liable for malpractice if the negligent nurse performs under their supervision. Physicians become liable if they don’t intervene when nurses act negligently. An attending doctor shares in the nurse’s liability when the physician knows about the act of negligence but does not report or correct it. Lastly, physicians can also be liable for malpractice for giving instructions that led to a nurse’s failure to act responsibly.
When Will the Hospital Be Responsible?
As the employer, a hospital can become legally liable for acts of negligence the nurses perform. Lapses in nursing performance can indicate that the hospital failed to do one of three things. First, the hospital may have failed in its hiring responsibilities, mistakenly hiring an unqualified nurse. Second, a hospital may be liable for not ensuring that staff receive proper training to perform based on the standard of care. Lastly, a hospital may have failed to properly monitor nursing performance, allowing acts of negligence to occur.
If you are unsure of who is responsible for your medical malpractice lawsuit, discuss your case with a seasoned attorney from The Pagan Law Firm.
What to Do If You Think You Have a Nursing Negligence Case
If you feel that your injuries are the result of a nurse’s negligence, you may have a nursing negligence case. If you feel that you have a case, follow these steps to begin filing your nursing malpractice case.
Records can include a copy of your patient’s chart, prescriptions, and admission forms. These records can help prove negligence by showing what treatment you received and what medications were prescribed to you. By showing these valuable pieces of information, your attorney can determine where the negligence occurred.
Document Your Injuries
You can document your injuries in several ways. You can take a photograph of your injuries if they are visible. For internal injuries, you can secure any diagnostic records like X-rays and CT scans. Diagnostic records not only show that you suffered injuries but also prove the true extent of your injuries.
Get a Second Opinion From a Medical Expert
Expert testimony can establish that an error occurred as you received medical care. By seeking a second opinion from another physician, you can strengthen your claim by adding expert testimony to support any evidence you have gathered. Also, expert testimony carries a lot of weight in courtroom litigation if your nursing or medical malpractice claim escalates to that level.
Call a Nursing Malpractice Attorney in New York
Filing nursing and medical malpractice lawsuits in New York can be tricky. For this reason, you must contact an attorney or law firm with experience in medical malpractice cases. An experienced attorney can determine who is at fault, establish liability, and prove the link between the nurse’s or physician’s negligence and your injuries.
Reach out to The Pagan Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation.
File Your Nursing Malpractice Claim Immediately
Once you have called a medical malpractice lawyer, you must file your claim against the negligent medical professional immediately. This is because personal injury claims in New York have a two-year statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is the timeframe within which you are eligible to file your claim. If you file your claim past the two-year window, you lose your eligibility and the case will be dismissed.
What Damages Are You Entitled to Receiving?
A successful nursing or medical malpractice claim entitles you to compensation from either the insurance of the nurse, the attending doctor, or the hospital under which the negligent nurse was employed. The compensation should cover several types of damages, including the ones we’ll be discussing below.
Medical care isn’t cheap. With that in mind, you deserve compensation if you’ve received improper treatment at the hands of a nurse or physician. With a successful claim, your medical expenses will be paid and reimbursed in full. The compensation for your medical expenses will cover everything from your hospital stay to your medications. If your nursing or medical malpractice claim is successful, you can also recover compensation for future medical bills.
You’ll likely be unable to work if you’re recovering from an injury. With a successful nursing or medical malpractice claim, you will also recover compensation that pays for each week you were unable to work.
Pain and Suffering Resulting From Your Injury
Your injuries may traumatize you psychologically and emotionally. While these aren’t as easy to quantify as lost wages and medical bills, you can still claim damages in the form of pain and suffering. They are non-economic damages best calculated with the help of a nursing and medical malpractice attorney in New York.
Damages From a Wrongful Death
You can claim damages from wrongful death if your loved one dies from nursing or medical malpractice. To file a lawsuit in New York, you must be the deceased’s spouse, dependent child, or parent. You can also file a medical malpractice claim if you are the representative of the deceased’s estate.
What Evidence Is Needed to Prove a Nursing Malpractice Case?
You might be wondering which pieces of evidence are best to include in your nursing or medical malpractice claim. As you file your lawsuit against the hospital or your physician, here are the best pieces of evidence to include. This evidence can help prove negligence, establish causation, and show that you sustained injuries.
Patient’s Records to Prove the Duty of Care
You can’t prove negligence without proving that a duty of care existed. To do so, you must show that you were a patient. You can use records to prove your admission to a hospital. These records include your patient’s chart, admission forms, and prescriptions.
Medical Expert Testimony to Establish Negligence
After establishing the duty owed to you by nursing and medical professionals, you must show that negligence occurred. Medical or nursing negligence occurs when a nurse commits an error or fails to act responsibly. To show that an error took place, you must get a second opinion from a different medical professional. Once the medical professional shows that your physician or nurse made a mistake, you have grounds to claim negligence.
Diagnostics to Prove Causation and Injuries
Not all acts of negligence make a person liable. To hold a hospital or attending doctor liable for your injury, you must prove that nursing or medical malpractice caused your injuries. There are several pieces of evidence you can include to prove causation and injury. However, the best would be diagnostic results like scans, lab results, and X-rays. These pieces of evidence tie in well with expert testimony and provide irrefutable proof that you sustained injuries.
With expert legal representation on your side, you will be able to gather all of the necessary evidence to win your case. To speak with us today, fill out our online contact form.
How Do You Find an Attorney for a Nursing Malpractice Case?
Even with the right pieces of evidence and expert testimony backing you up, you will still need a nursing and medical malpractice attorney to file your claim. How do you find the right one for your nursing or medical malpractice claim? Here are some things to look for in a lawyer.
Experience in Nursing Malpractice Cases in New York
First, your attorney must have years of experience handling nursing negligence and medical malpractice cases. The more experienced your attorney is, the better they can navigate the complexities and circumstances unique to your case.
Proven Track Record Settling Nursing Malpractice and Medical Malpractice Cases
Experience is essential, but it isn’t enough. Your attorney must also display a high rate of success in handling malpractice cases. To check for this, you can ask a firm about its past clients. Alternatively, you can look at reviews.
Successful firms won’t hide their success. You’ll know that you are speaking with the right attorney when you can easily find positive reviews on the firm’s site.
Do You Have a Nursing Malpractice Case? Contact the Pagan Law Firm Today!
Nursing negligence occurs when a nursing professional fails to act in a way any responsible nurse would in the same circumstance. If left unaddressed and unreported, it can lead to injury and disability.
When nursing negligence occurs, several parties become legally liable. Your lawsuit can be against the nurse, the attending doctor supervising the nurse, or the hospital or other facility where the nurse is employed.
No matter who is liable, you must file a claim properly in order to recover compensation for your injuries. If you want a firm that maximizes your success and what you can recover, choose The Pagan Law Firm.
The Pagan Law Firm offers assertive and robust legal representation for your nursing negligence case in New York. Click here to schedule a free consultation.