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Vicarious Liability: Listing All Defendants in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

  Alan Fuchsberg  |  December 17, 2015  |  

When it comes to medical malpractice lawsuits, physicians, anesthesiologists, nurses, health care facilities and more people can be named as defendants. You may wonder how a hospital can be held liable for negligence in your medical malpractice lawsuit.

The main idea behind a medical malpractice lawsuit is proving fault. While this obviously includes the physicians and medical staff that provided the care, it also means that entities could be at fault as well.

Hospitals are either private or public corporations. Hospital negligence may be the reason for the lawsuit or the hospital could be “vicariously” liable for their employees’ negligence. Instances where a hospital may be held liable include the hospital failing to investigate the credentials of a doctor or failing to maintain the required number of registered nurses on duty. In some cases, a patient was not treated according to his or her private physician’s orders.

What is “Vicarious Liability?”

The doctrine of vicarious liability is sometimes referred to by a Latin phrase, “respondeat superior.” This means that an employer can be held responsible for the negligence of an employee. This is why hospitals are often named, and held liable, in medical malpractice lawsuits.

Some physicians are only considered independent contractors and not employees. This would mean that “respondeat superior” isn’t applicable. Should the physician act negligently, the hospital would not be liable for the doctor’s actions, with some exceptions.

As you can see, determining who is to be named as a defendant in a medical malpractice lawsuit can be very confusing. At Jacob Fuchsberg Law, we are very experienced in medical malpractice claims. We will thoroughly investigate your claim so that we have all parties listed as defendants. To learn more about medical malpractice lawsuits, we invite you to review our website or contact our New York law office.

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