“I want to sue the hospital. But how? And can I win?”
It’s a reasonable ask in many cases. And yes, the answer is yes:
You can sue your hospital.
Naturally, you need a good reason. If you have one, you’ve probably already graduated from “I want to sue the hospital” to “how can I sue the hospital?”
If that’s the case, you’re in the right place.
Because we’re going to cover precisely that.
Let’s start with the three reasons you can sue the hospital:
2. Medical malpractice (A very specific type of negligence.)
3. Wrongful death (If a loved one died because of negligence.)
If your reason falls into one of these categories and you want to sue your hospital, use the steps below as a guide to get the ball rolling.
Table of Contents
1 – Check Your Statute Of Limitations
Every state has their own statute of limitations (a specific period of time where you’re able to file a lawsuit). So if you want to sue the hospital, it’s important to check your state’s specific limitations.
Because if you’re suing a hospital, you may have less time than if you were suing an individual. In some states, you only get a year from the day you were injured.
Anyway, here’s how to check. If you’re in Texas, you can give us a call and we’ll give you all the most up-to-date details, and answer the rest of your questions too.
Otherwise, just Google statute of limitations in <insert your state here>.
For you social butterflies who’d rather hop on a call to chat about it, you can call the clerk’s office or your public law library. Once you find out that you’re still able to file a lawsuit, it’s time to don your detective hat.
2 – Find Out Who To Sue. And Why. And…
“I want to sue the hospital” may be a great place to start. But “I want to sue my doctor” might be even better. Which is your best bet? You want answers, and you need them. Especially in this step toward compensation.
Was the injury the result of negligence? Maybe someone wasn’t doing their job, wasn’t truthful about a complication, or maybe the hospital’s equipment was faulty?
Let’s start with the basics: Who, What, When, Where, and Why.
In this step, start a notebook of “sue the hospital” notes and write down the answers as you learn them. You can refer to these notes when you consult with your attorney, to make sure you don’t miss any details.
Who: Pinpoint who was (and is) responsible. Was it a member of the medical staff? A technician? Keep in mind that (depending on the issue at hand) it could be any of a number of people employed at the hospital. Knowing who did it will help you determine who to sue, whether it’s a doctor, a nurse, someone else or the hospital as a whole.
What: What exactly happened? Did your doctor overlook something on your medical record? Did your surgeon operate on the wrong body part? Write down every detail you can, it’ll help you later.
To support the what, you’ll want to gather all of your information; photos, medical records, incident reports, etc. This will come in handy later. Here’s a medical malpractice documents checklist to help you remember everything.
When: Was it in the morning? Afternoon? Evening? Was there a staffing change? Did it occur right after the doctor came in, or later?
Where: If relevant, where did the accident occur? What floor, room, or part of the hospital?
Why: Did this happen because of negligence? That’s the big why.
To do the heavier research on the most difficult questions above, talk with your lawyer (the next step). Your malpractice attorney and the rest of the staff will help you dig much deeper than you’re able to on your own.
And for that, you’ll want to recruit your A-team.
3 – Consult Your Attorney
Keep this in mind — when you sue a hospital, whether it’s for malpractice, negligence or wrongful death, you’re taking on a professional team of hospital law attorneys. This is a far cry from their first rodeo. It probably goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway — if you want to win and get the most money out of that hospital and into your pocket, you need to find a good lawyer with the right experience. Experience filing and winning lawsuits like yours.
One good piece of news is, most malpractice lawyers work on contingency, so not having enough money won’t be an issue.
Call them up.
Easy as that.
A good attorney will seamlessly guide you through the rest of the process. Honestly, you don’t even need the rest of this guide — just give us a call now and we’ll walk you through it step by step! But if you want to understand the process better before that, read on to the next step:
4 – File Your Complaint Against The Hospital
This is where your lawyer files the complaint with your state court. This complaint is pretty much exactly what it sounds like it is. It’s an official complaint against the hospital including what they did wrong, and the amount of money you expect as payment for the damage done.
Next, it’s off to the races! Starting with what may be the most molasses-slow, tedious game you’ve ever played. We call it discovery.
5 – Do The Discovery
What’s discovery, you ask?
It’s a somewhat intrusive process where their team interrogates you and gathers evidence from your team. Your team does the same to them.
This is a very good thing because it gives your lawyer the chance to gather convincing information to win your case with. And that brings us to the final phase in our hospital-suing journey: The trial.
6 – Get Paid (Or Move Forward To The Trial)
After your lawyer investigates, and you file your complaint, and complete discovery, now it’s time (ideally) to get paid.
If the conditions are right, your lawyer will pursue a settlement. If the hospital realizes you’re in the right and they owe you compensation, they may choose to settle. For malpractice cases, 9 times out of 10, the hospital will settle out of court.
If they do, your attorney, the hospital and you will reach an agreement and settle for a fair sum of money.
But if you can’t come to an agreement, for whatever reason, it’s on to the next step in your hospital-suing journey! The trial.
7 – Prep & Get To That Trial
Your lawyer and the rest of the team will hold pre-trial conferences with you (and your witnesses and experts too), to make sure everyone’s on the same page and knows exactly what to expect.
By the time you get to the trial, you’ll be well-prepped and ready to win your case. At the end of your trial the jury will make their decision. If they decide in your favor, congrats, you win!
You wanted to sue the hospital. You did. And now you’ll be rewarded for your hard work, preparation and patience. In the best case, this never would have happened to begin with, but since you’ve been wronged, it’s only right for you to be compensated, in both justice served and a heftier bank account.
Did you like this article? Learn more about the medical malpractice lawsuit process with our medical malpractice lawsuit guide!