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What is vicarious liability in medical malpractice?

On Behalf of | Oct 22, 2021 | Blog, Medical Malpractice |

Individuals who are the victim of medical malpractice in New Jersey can file lawsuits against their doctors for the mishaps but also against associated employees and institutions, like anesthesiologists, nurses, pharmaceutical companies and health care facilities that may have been involved. While the main point of these lawsuits is to prove fault, other individuals and institutions can be charged with contributory negligence.

How hospitals can contribute to medical malpractice

In medical malpractice suits, hospitals can be held directly or vicariously liable for the actions of their employees. Direct liability includes actions like ensuring that all employees have the proper education and experience to perform their jobs, and the hospital has adequate staff to provide quality patient care. The doctrine of “respondeat superior” applies for vicarious liability if a doctor or other medical staff member commits an act of medical malpractice while under the institution’s employment.

When pharmaceutical companies are at fault

The primary responsibility of pharmaceutical companies is to physicians. However, if drug companies do not inform doctors who use medications that harm patients about the potential side effects, they could be held liable. In these instances, doctors are merely considered “learned intermediaries” who should pass on their knowledge to patients. When the pharmaceutical company fails to provide warnings about potential problems, the drug becomes “unreasonably dangerous” under product liability law.

Do I have cause for a vicarious liability case?

Medical errors come in many different forms. Often, it is fairly obvious that your doctor is not at fault. However, because of the doctrine of vicarious liability, you still have recourse.

Discovering what hospitals, clinics, support personnel, pharmaceutical companies, equipment manufacturers and the like may have neglected to do is crucial in vicarious medical malpractice claims. Plaintiffs should perform a thorough examination of the facts with their lawyers to obtain the compensation they deserve.