When a Virginia patient is injured in a medical procedure, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly who is responsible for the error. Often, a large number of people have come into contact with a patient, from medical technicians to anesthesiologists to surgeons. Furthermore, a patient may have been unconscious due to anesthesia when an injury occurred.

Nonetheless, it is essential to identify the responsible party or parties, as well as who can be sued, when pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit. Doctors may be sued for their own medical professional negligence in performing a wrong-site surgery, due to their failure to diagnose, or for making another medical error. Pharmaceutical companies may also be found to be liable for patient injury in the event the company did not warn prescribing physicians about the potential dangers or side effects of a drug.

Hospitals may be held legally liable for their role in a patient’s injury. A hospital may be held directly liable if there is an insufficient number of registered nurses on duty or if an employee of the hospital does not follow orders from a patient’s private attending physician. A hospital may also be held liable under the theory of vicarious liability if its employees behave negligently. For example, if a hospital employee’s actions injure a patient, a hospital may be held liable if it is determined that the employee was acting within the scope of his or her employment. Identifying a hospital as a defendant in a malpractice case can benefit a victim, as hospitals often have better financial resources with which to compensate an injured patient.

A patient who has been injured due to doctor error may have a legal cause of action. One or more defendants may be named in a medical malpractice lawsuit. An attorney can offer guidance regarding potential defendants, as well as other issues relevant to a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Source: FindLaw, “Medical Malpractice: Who Can Be Sued?,” accessed May 13, 2016