In some medical malpractice lawsuits there is not a single defendant but multiple defendants. In these instances the punitive damages awarded to a patient may be quite high. Since there are more defendants the punitive damages that they can pay out can increase. It is easier to garner a larger sum from multiple defendants than a single defendant. The liability becomes spread around across a number of doctors or between a doctor and a hospital. The punitive damages that a hospital can pay out are very high since many hospitals across the United States have very deep pockets.
Whether this is a good thing or bad thing for the medical profession is another discussion, this exams the difference of liability falling to a single party or liability being spread across multiple parties. Usually the awarding to clients of high punitive damages drive up medical costs as whole as the more cases that are won and the higher the punitive damage benchmark claims the more likely the medical profession will pass of those costs to other patients as a whole through raising prices.
Medical liability laws are very interesting because depending on the case that is actually liable for the negligence can be in question. Multiple defendant lawsuits with assistance of medical malpractice lawyers, usually stem from a surgical procedure where the patient was harmed during surgery or afterward personal injury occurred while in recovery. Usually there are multiple doctors in a surgical room each performing a task, at times a senior doctor overseeing a junior doctor. Heart surgeries are a good example where many medical professionals are in the same room. The use of a second doctor is two-fold; to oversee and step in if the first doctor can no longer perform the surgery. There may also be other doctors in the room depending on the case as well.
If something goes wrong, one doctor is negligent to some degree, the question of liability becomes rather confusing. On face value the doctor who made the mistake should be directly liable but on the other hand there were multiple doctors in the surgical room, while possibly performing different task, they could have noticed if the negligence was taking part. This is where state laws come in to differentiate the liability of doctors. In some states if one doctor is negligent then the whole room is deemed negligent under the assumption one of the doctors could have intervened.
This quickly creates multiple defendants as all the doctors, no matter how removed from the incident in question are liable. Liability in other states rests on a sole actor, the doctor that was directly negligent. This limits the degree of multiple defendant cases. However, in some ways all the doctors in the room are liable for the patient’s health. Do to the lack of an overarching federal law covering liability in the surgical room state laws differ greatly when it comes to liability.
Negligence is a serious offense in the medical profession and can lead to large awards given to patients if a doctor is found guilty of some form of negligence. However, different states apply liability to doctors differently causing confusion in the laws at times. Some states work under the assumption that all doctors taking part in the surgery can be found negligent even if It is just one doctor that made the error, This puts a greater emphasis on team accountability which may be useful in the medical profession, but it can also damage careers of doctors who were not directly negligent. If you need legal advice and assistance, contact malpractice lawyers.