Charlottesville Nursing Malpractice Attorney
Although nurses do not have as much education as doctors, many of them have about the same job experience and medical skill level. In fact, in many smaller Virginia healthcare facilities, nurses provide most or all of the care available. As a result, the law holds nurses to almost as high of a standard as doctors.
The experienced Charlottesville nursing malpractice lawyers at MichieHamlett routinely handle these claims throughout Virginia. So, we all know the evidentiary and procedural rights. That includes the unwritten rules. As a result, we are not intimidated by malpractice insurance company lawyers. Instead, our Charlottesville nursing malpractice attorneys never stop fighting for you.
Five Common Nurse Malpractice Claims
Mostly because of the duty of care involved, as well as the possible layers of responsibility, nursing malpractice claims are often quite complex. They usually involve one of the five areas listed below:
- Standard of Care: When they treat ill or injured patients, nurses must follow a well-established standard of care. Yet many nurses either do not take the time they need or prefer to “go with their guts.”
- Lack of Documentation: Most hospitals have sophisticated electronic chart systems. These systems usually follow the GIGO (garbage in, garbage out) principle. A slight input error could wreck the chart and give false information to subsequent providers.
- Equipment Problems: The classic example is a device which was not fully charged, so it runs out of power before the procedure is over. The nurse standard of care requires these professionals to always take a step back and assess before they move forward.
- Communication Difficulties: Generally, nurses must regularly interface with a patient’s loved ones. These talks are among the most difficult parts of a nurse’s job, so many nurses avoid them. This attitude is a clear violation of their professional responsibilities.
- Monitor and Assessment: Generally, nurses must record patient vital signs once an hour. Especially around shift changes, patient rounding often gets skipped. As a result, if there is an emergency, doctors must play catch-up.
The basis of a nurse negligence claim is that the nurse either did something a prudent professional would not do, or the nurse failed to take reasonable action in a certain situation.
Third Party Liability
Nurses are part of a healthcare team. So, they are individually responsible for negligence. But if something goes wrong, the team leader is typically financially responsible for damages.
According to the respondeat superior rule, hospitals are often the responsible party in these situations. This doctrine holds employers responsible for the negligence of their employees. There are two basic prongs:
- Employee: Some nurses are independent contractors as opposed to employees, at least for tax purposes. But for negligence purposes, these nurses are employees.
- Scope of Employment: Any action which benefits the employer in any way is within the scope of employment. That’s a very broad definition.
Occasionally, the supervising doctor is financially responsible for damages. The answer usually depends on the amount of supervision (e.g. was the doctor giving orders or simply on call).
Connect with a Dedicated Attorney
Nurses must always discharge their professional responsibilities. For a free consultation with an experienced nurse malpractice lawyer in Charlottesville, contact MichieHamlett. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these cases.