Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional provides a patient with a quality of care that falls below an acceptable standard, and the patient is injured as a result. In many cases, the healthcare professional – whether they be a doctor, nurse, therapist or medical technician, are solely responsible for the errors that caused the patient’s injuries. However, in a Florida medical malpractice case, the doctor or other healthcare professional responsible for a patient’s injuries may not be the only parties liable for damages.
What is Vicarious Liability?
Vicarious liability, or “imputed” liability, assigns responsibility to a party who did not cause an injury but who has a legal relationship with the person who did. It’s based on the legal doctrine of “Respondeat Superior,” (Latin for “let the master answer”), which holds that a party is responsible for the acts of their agents.
In a medical malpractice case, vicarious liability means that a healthcare professional’s employer is also responsible for the acts of their employees if the negligence occurs during the course of the company’s business and within the scope of the employee’s authority.
For example, when a doctor who is an employee at a hospital is treating patients and performing medical procedures, these activities financially benefit both the physician and the hospital. If the doctor commits medical malpractice, the hospital will be held vicariously liable as a result because they hired the doctor and made money from the services the doctor provided.
When hiring staff, a hospital or clinic must perform a reasonable pre-employment background check to verify an applicant’s education, training, experience, certifications and licensing. If the hospital fails to investigate an applicant before hiring properly, the hospital can be held liable for any medical errors that employee makes. These errors can include:
- Failure to perform necessary clinical tests
- Mistakes in diagnosis
- Errors in prescribing treatments
- Failing to maintain proper patient confidentiality
- Negligent supervision of staff
- Negligent maintenance or repair of medical equipment
- Improperly admitting or discharging patients
- Neglecting to keep accurate medical records
A Florida Medical Malpractice Attorney Can Determine Liability
Determining liability, especially vicarious liability, involves not just identifying the responsible healthcare professional but also examining the relationships between the healthcare professional and other parties such as a hospital or clinic. This is especially important in a state like Florida, where a doctor’s medical malpractice insurance may only cover a small portion of your total damages.
If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of the negligent actions of a doctor, nurse or other healthcare professional, you have a right to seek compensation for the damages you have suffered. However, the complex nature of a medical malpractice case sometimes make it difficult to determine who is responsible for a patient’s injuries and the amount of liability a hospital or clinic shares with the defendant. This makes it critical to hire the services of an experienced Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice attorney who has the expertise and knowledge to identify the responsible parties in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Speak with One of South Florida’s Most Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorneys
Lisa S. Levine, P.A. is a nationally recognized Florida personal injury attorney who has been helping victims of medical malpractice in Fort Lauderdale, Weston, Pompano Beach, Hollywood, Sunrise, Pembroke Pines, and other Palm Beach County and Miami-Dade County communities for over 35 years. If you have been injured due to errors in medical treatment, do not hesitate to call Lisa Levine at (954) 256-1820 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. Lisa handles all medical malpractice cases on a contingency basis, which means you don’t pay for her services until and unless you’ve won your case.