One aspect of South Carolina business law that can be overlooked is the concept of legal "personhood" for an organization - in several key ways, a business such as a corporation can have the same rights and duties under the law as a human being. But if you suffer an injury while in the care of a health care institution the legal entity status of that institution can have a direct impact on your ability to be compensated for your injury.
Ordinarily, the reason why a business such as a hospital chooses to incorporate or otherwise become a legal entity is to protect the people behind it from liability. But once the business becomes a "person" in the eyes of the law, then just like a real person, it can be subject to a cause of action for negligence. Moreover, this artificial person can also be held accountable for negligent acts or failure to act on the part of individuals under its control, such as administrators, doctors and medical staff, and indirectly, even contractors that it engages.
Consider the following potential hospital negligence situations:
- A hospital hires a doctor who has a history of medical malpractice, but it does not check that person's background. If the doctor commits a new act of malpractice at the hospital, then the hospital may be liable for negligent hiring practices.
- A hospital puts two patients in a room, but it fails to discover that one of the patients has a violent criminal history. That patient attacks and injures the other patient. The hospital can be liable for negligence in failing to provide adequate security.
- A hospital hires a contractor to provide linen cleaning services, but the contractor carelessly performs its work and provides dirty linens for patient use. A patient contracts a bacterial or fungal infection from the sheets resulting in a worsened medical condition. The hospital may be negligent for failure to properly supervise the contractor.
These are but a few examples. You cannot be expected to know all of the ways in which negligent behavior at a health care institution can cause harm to you, but a personal injury law firm experienced with hospital negligence cases - such as Furr & Henshaw - can.
See our hospital negligence web page to find out more about the subject and how to schedule a no-obligation, free consultation with one of our attorneys.