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Who can you sue for medical malpractice?

A medical malpractice claim is not necessarily against your doctor or only against the doctor. A nurse can commit malpractice. The hospital itself or manufacturers of medical products could be liable. Or all of the above. It's not about a scattergun approach. It's about identifying the medical professionals or entities who contributed to your family's tragedy and holding them accountable.

According to a recent survey of doctors by Medscape, it's rare (just 12 percent of the time) that the treating physician or surgeon is the only party named in a lawsuit. More often, there are multiple parties involved, each with their own roles (and defenses). Who else might you end up suing for malpractice, besides the primary care doctor or specialist?

  • Referring physician
  • Nurse or nurse practitioner
  • Physician's assistant
  • Radiologist or lab technician
  • Anesthesiologist or anesthetist
  • Pharmacist and/or pharmacy
  • Hospital or outpatient clinic
  • Hospital administrator
  • Pharmaceutical company
  • Medical device maker

Passing the buck and playing dumb

Traditionally, doctors are independent contractors, unlike nurses and techs who are employees. From a legal standpoint, the hospital is not necessarily responsible for the doctor's conduct, and vice versa. This sometimes creates a black hole of accountability in which medical providers try to deflect blame or throw each under the bus. All of which is very frustrating if you or a family member were seriously harmed by medical negligence.

The genesis of most medical malpractice lawsuits is not a quest for a payoff but a search for answers. How did this happen? Did someone screw up? Why are we getting the runaround? We just want to know the truth. Eventually you seek a lawyer when it becomes clear that providers are more interested in covering their tracks and dodging a lawsuit.

Holding the right people responsible

An experienced medical malpractice attorney will know how to obtain and interpret the medical records and other evidence of a medical error or lapse in protocol. That attorney will be able to identify ALL of the liable parties in your case - individual doctors and nurses, as well as corporate entities -- and present a case that will pass muster with the M.D. who must certify your lawsuit.

Don't give up in your search for answers and justice. Find the right law firm.

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Goethel Engelhardt, PLLC
3049 Miller Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48103

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