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Should You Name the Doctor or Medical Group in a Medical Malpractice Case

Mar 14, 2015 | Medical Malpractice

You think that your doctor has done something wrong to cause you significant harm and injury, and now you are contemplating in pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit against him in New York. However, it is important for you to know if your doctor is an independent contractor, or an employee, this makes a distinct difference.

Doctor is an Employee

If the doctor is an employee, you not only have to name the doctor individually, but also the medical group or medical facility where he is working. Why is that? It is because the employer is always responsible for the acts of its employees. This means you will have to sue the employee, as well as the employer.

What happens when the Doctor is an Independent Contractor?

This is a critical factor, since it clarifies that the doctor was not really employed and working for any particular medical group or medical facility. Instead, now, he is considered legally an independent contractor. The IRS looks at him differently than if he were an employee.

Such a doctor will not be receiving any W2 forms at the end of the year, and he will typically go ahead and carry his own medical malpractice insurance, which will be separate and apart than anything that the medical group might have. Such a doctor will be able to set his own working hours, go on vacations whenever he wants, and the billing is typically done through the group, separate, and apart from this doctor.

Since you are an injured victim and the patient who is being treated by this particular doctor, there is no way for you to know at the outset whether the doctor you are going to is an independent contractor or in fact an employee. As part of the evaluation to see who should be sued, your attorney will try to determine whether your doctor is an independent contractor or an employee of a medical group or facility.

Many times the lawyer will also not know in the beginning, before he starts the lawsuit, whether the doctor is working for a company or whether he is an independent contractor. Your lawyer might find this out at a certain point in time only after your lawsuit has been started.

Therefore, it is critical for the lawyer to include not just the doctor individually in a lawsuit, but also the company or place where he is working. But going down this route the lawyer can make sure that if in fact he is an independent contractor, the lawyer is covered by naming the doctor directly. But if he is an employee then the group will be highlighted and named as well.

Knowing the Doctor’s Employment Status

This is a crucial aspect in evaluating a medical malpractice case in the state of New York. Medical malpractice cases are complicated and even a little mistake can damage the case or it could be rejected even much before the trial. If the lawyer is not sure about the employment status, when he is filing the lawsuit, he will include not only the name of the doctor, but also the name of the medical group or facility that that doctor is attached too.