Generally, a medical malpractice claim can be brought against a licensed health care provider. This can include a person, corporation, facility or institution licensed by the state to provide health care or professional services, or an officer, employee, or agent thereof acting in the course and scope of his employment. A claim can be brought against physicians, dentists, nurses, therapists, hospitals, and pharmacists, among others. A physician commits medical malpractice if he fails to act in the same manner a reasonably prudent physician in the same field of medicine would act under the same circumstances. Nurses, therapists and other health care providers, and the hospitals or clinics they work for, can be held responsible for their failure to meet accepted standards of care in their particular field. In Iowa, physicians are generally held to be independent contractor`s of the hospitals they work in and the courts have not imposed liability on hospitals for the negligence of their independently contracted physicians.
There may be more than one cause of an injury. When the negligent conduct of two or more parties contributes as causes of an injury, those parties whose fault accounts for 50% or more of the total fault may be held jointly and severally liable. Any party who is less than 50% at fault will only be held liable for a proportion of the judgment equal to his or her share of the total fault.
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