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Who is at fault?

Determining who is at fault when you have been injured or made sick from medical error is the first step to building a medical malpractice claim, and it requires an extensive investigation of your history, treatment, and care providers. 

There may be multiple parties responsible, as sometimes it is the combination of smaller errors that caused the injury.  Or sometimes an injury is compounded by a subsequent error, which can be further worsened by still another mistake or accident. 

For example, in a case where a surgeon left an instrument in the patient’s body during an operation, causing serious injury or even death, the defendants could include:

  • The surgeon who left the instrument in the patient’s body during operation
  • The techs or assistants who participated and did not notice the missing instrument
  • The hospital that employed those medical professionals
  • The doctor who failed to identify why the patient was having problems post-operation, etc.

In cases like the above, where an initial problem is caused by the surgeon’s error, the doctor’s omission in identifying the issue also adds to the injury.

If the patient sustained an infection while in surgery caused by hospital negligence, that could worsen the effects of the error and the initial illness.  And unfortunately, sometimes there are even more complications, such as accidents while being transported in a medevac or ambulance, which compound the problems further still.

Each of these parties can be named defendants in a medical negligence suit.  Your lawyer’s job will be to find evidence supporting each claim against each defendant, to prove that each acted below his or her standard of care.  And if the case goes to trial, the jury might assess fault and allocate damages against all, some, or none of these individuals.