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Vicarious liability in medical malpractice lawsuits

Hospitals are a place where people are meant to be healed and rehabilitated, so it is often the last place that a person would expect to be injured. However, for many Allegheny County residents, that is exactly what happens when poor or inadequate medical care causes personal injury. There are ways to approach a medical malpractice lawsuit, and the best strategy will be based upon the unique personal circumstances of each case. However, there is one aspect of medical malpractice that can make a big impact if it is present in a person's case: vicarious liability.

Vicarious liability is legal term that refers to the liability a hospital or related third-party can be held accountable for if a doctor or other staff member is negligent and injures a patient. The premise of vicarious liability is based on "respondeat superior," which is a premise that holds an employer liable for the negligence of its employees in certain instances of medical malpractice. Therefore, a hospital that employs a doctor or other medical employee who unnecessarily injures a patient may be held responsible in addition to the employee for the injuries.

This can drastically change the outlook of a medical malpractice suit. When one defendant in a case becomes two or even three, the ways in which the case is pursued by the plaintiff may change. The damages sought may likely increase as well, since each defendant may have played a separate role in causing unnecessary injury or illness to a loved one. While a medical professional's actions may not have been intentional, they can be extremely damaging and have life-long impacts for the injured party and their family.

For these reasons, and a few others, it is important to put responsibility on all of the appropriate parties when a medical malpractice injury verdict is sought. It may be difficult to discern all of the appropriate parties are first glance, but a full investigation can help bring any and all responsible entities to light. There isn't a way to prevent instances of medical malpractice from happening, but there is a way to put responsibility on the party or parties who inflict injury unnecessarily. Vicarious liability laws can help get justice for those who have been wronged.

Source: FindLaw, "Vicarious Liability," Accessed July 24, 2017

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