Michael H. Bereston, Inc.

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Hospitals can be held liable for negligent acts of employees

People generally understand that a medical malpractice suit is an appropriate response to a clearly egregious error on behalf of a doctor, such as if a surgeon leaves a clamp inside a patient. But in what instances might a hospital be held liable? Someone or something has to be in control of quality and training for the doctors to ensure that mistakes are kept at a minimum. Hospitals are the entities that are supposed to see to it that a duty of care is exercised by all of its employees. Sometimes a hospital does everything it can and doctors just make mistakes, and other times the hospital shows a shocking lack of supervision over its doctors.

"Respondeat superior," sometimes also referred to as "vicarious liability," is the theory that allows you to hold hospitals liable for the actions of its doctors. In order for you to successfully hold a hospital liable for the actions of one of its doctors, it must be shown that the doctor in question was acting within the "scope of employment."

Well, what does that mean? Typically it boils down to three separate scenarios:

  • The injury was caused by an activity the doctor was hired to perform, like surgery.
  • The injury occurred while the doctor was on shift.
  • The employer benefited in some way from the activity that the doctor was performing at the time of the injury, like providing instruction to residents.

This theory of liability extends beyond the doctor-hospital dynamic. It can hold doctors liable for the actions of their medical team. It can hold a supervising physician responsible for the actions of the interns or students. It can hold a medical practice liable for the actions of a doctor-partner. This is a flexible theory that is intended to ensure that victims are not left out in the cold because of a procedural issue.

If you believe that you or a loved one was the victim of doctor negligence, then you may want to speak to an attorney. For a variety of reasons, it is of primary concern that liability be properly assigned. You don't want to limit your possibilities for recovery by focusing on just the doctor. It is important that you get the compensation you need to pay for your medical bills and recovery.

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Office Location

Michael H. Bereston, Inc.
138 Main Street, Suite 200
P.O. Box 2990
Annapolis, MD 21401

Maryland: 410-793-4554
Toll Free: 866-517-4037
Baltimore/Annapolis: 410-269-5011
DC: 202-628-2226
Fax: 410-269-5022

Annapolis Medical Malpractice Office

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