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August 31 - Newsblog #1
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Homeowner and Wife Sue over Police Shooting
September 7 - Newsblog #2
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Homeowner’s Possession of Handgun Legal Under 2nd Amendment
September 14 - Newsblog #3
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: if a Government or Government Agency is at Fault, You Can Sue
September 21 - Newsblog #4
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Lawsuit Against Police Department Invokes the Civil Rights Act
September 28 - Newsblog #5
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: a Clear Line from the Action – or Inaction – to the Injury
October 12 - Newsblog #6
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Police Insensitivity Turns Traffic Stop into a Travesty
October 19 - Newsblog #7
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Police Who Abuse Power Must Be Held Accountable, Law Professor States
October 26 - Newsblog #8
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Holding Overly Aggressive Police Accountable
November 2 - Newsblog #9
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Brown Vs. Impd Case About Much More Than Punishment or Money
November 9 - Newsblog #10
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Improper Medical Diagnosis and Care Resulted in Loss of an Eye
November 16 - Newsblog #11
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Medical Malpractice Claims Have a Front End and a Back End
November 30 - Newsblog #12
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Truths About Medical Malpractice
December 7 - Newsblog #13
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Yes, You Can Sue City Hall
December 14 - Newsblog #14
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Slip and Fall Changes Two Lives Forever
December 28 - Newsblog #15
In the News: Ramey & Hailey Year in Review
January 4 - Newsblog #16
In the News: Teen’s Sexual Abuse Case Calls Attention to the Problem
January 11 - Newsblog #17
In the News: Parents of Survivor Sue Parents of Shooter
January 18 - Newsblog #18
In the News: Erin Brockovich Teams Up with Indiana Moms
January 25 - Newsblog #19
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Case Settled in Favor of Catastrophic Slip and Fall Injury Victim
January 31 - Newsblog #20
In the News: Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Against Rehab Facility
February 8 - Newsblog #21
In the News: Nurse Arrested in Sexual Abuse Case
February 15 - Newsblog #22
In the News: Running the Clock on Indiana Medical Malpractice
February 22 - Newsblog #23
In the News: to Repeal or Not to Repeal – Indiana Legislators Rule “not”
March 1 - Newsblog #24
In the News: Helping Physicians Keep Helping
March 8 - Newsblog #25
In the News: Parents of Brain-damaged Infant Sue Hospital
March 15 - Newsblog #26
In the News: Owner of Gun Wins Decision
March 22 - Newsblog #27
In the News: Indiana House Passes Long Term Care Protections Bill
April 5 - Newsblog #28
In the News: Slip-and-fall Victim Wins Right to Sue Dollar Tree
April 12 - Newsblog #29
In the News: Inspection Report Shows Vets Harmed at 52 Nursing Homes
April 19 - Newsblog #30
In the News: Sandwich Diversion Causes Fatal Two-semitrailer Crash
April 26 - Newsblog #31
In the News: Does Premises Liability Cover Goose Attacks?
May 10 - Newsblog #32
Two-week-old N.y. Verdict Offers Takeaways for Slip and Fall Victims
May 17 - Newsblog #33
In the News: Barrel Blast Triggers Wrongful Death Lawsuit
May 24 - Newsblog #34
In the News: when a Product Manufacturer is Not at Fault
May 31 - Newsblog #35
In the News – College Doc’s Sexual Abuse of Students Coming to Light
June 7 - Newsblog #36
In the News – One Week, Four Motorcycle Accidents
June 14 - Newsblog #37
List of Troubled Nursing Homes Released
June 21 - Newsblog #38
In the News: Kansas No-caps Ruling Changes Personal Injury Climate
June 28 - Newsblog #39
In the News: Jury Awards $10.5 Million for Pain and Suffering in Birth Injury Case
July 5 - Newsblog #40
In the News: More Indicted in Last Year’s Duck Boat Tragedy
July 17 - Newsblog #41
In the News: Richard Hailey on Litigation Team for Lawsuit Vs. Tesla
July 24 - Newsblog #42
In the News: Malpractice Lawsuit Yields Largest Award in History
August 28 - Newsblog #43
In the News: Trucks V. Passenger Cars – Score 18:116. Everybody Loses
December 4 - Newsblog #44
In the News: High School Chaplain Suspended on Allegations of Sexual Abuse
December 11 - Newsblog #45
In the News: Franklin, Indiana Continues to Face Toxic Waste Problem
December 11 - Newsblog #46
In the News: Franklin, Indiana Continues to Face Toxic Waste Problem
December 18 - Newsblog #47
In the News: Parents of Bus Accident Victim Awarded $20 Million
January 8 - Newsblog #48
In the News: Parents Sue After Daughter’s Brain Damaged in Surgery
January 10 - Newsblog #49
In the News: Trucking Accidents Due to Careless Driving Increase
January 29 - Newsblog #50
In the News: Trucking Accidents Due to Careless Driving Increase
February 19 - Newsblog #51
Indiana Authorities Buy More Time to Prosecute Child Abusers
February 26 - Newsblog #52
In the News: Teen Brain-injured at Birth Awarded $15.1 Million
March 4 - Newsblog #53
In the News: Did Connecticut School Officials Turn a Deaf Ear to Sexual or Physical Abuse?
March 18 - Newsblog #54
In the News: Facility Held to Blame for Medical Treatment Delivered in a Careless and Negligent Manner
April 1 - Newsblog #55
In the News: Emergency Measures Instituted in Indiana’s Judicial System
April 8 - Newsblog #56
In the News: Medical Malpractice Limits Challenged in California
April 15 - Newsblog #57
In the News: Indiana Supreme Court Issues Five Orders for Legal Proceedings
May 6 - Newsblog #58
In the News: Nursing Homes with Covid-19 Cases Have Been Violating Federal Infection Control Rules for Years
May 13 - Newsblog #59
In the News: Physician Not Negligent in Choosing One Treatment over Another
May 20 - Newsblog #60
In the News: Nursing Homes with Covid-19 Cases Have Been Violating Federal Infection Control Rules for Years
June 17 - Newsblog #61
In the News: Ruling Reverse on Police Shooting – New News, Old Story?
July 8 - Newsblog #62
In the News: What is This Thing Called Qualified Immunity?
July 15 - Newsblog #63
In the News: Sooner or Later for Virus-delayed Jury Trials
July 29 - Newsblog #64
In the News: Truck Driver Sentenced, Another Charged in Fatal Crashes
August 5 - Newsblog #65
In the News: Double-booked Doctors Cause Personal Injury to Patients
August 12 - Newsblog #66
In the News: Double-booked Doctors Cause Personal Injury to Patients
August 26 - Newsblog #67
In the News: $4.9m Auto Accident Settlement Teaches Many Lessons
September 2 - Newsblog #68
In the News: Negligence Unmasked at Pennsyvania Trial
September 9 - Newsblog #69
In the News: Double-booked Doctors Cause Personal Injury to Patients
October 7 - Newsblog #70
In the News: Heart Rhythm Drug Poisoned Patient’s Lungs
October 14 - Newsblog #71
In the News: Prisoner Vs. Prison – a Tale of Two Medical Negligence Lawsuits

Medical Malpractice Newsletter

Employer Liability in Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

While the pleading and proof requirements for a medical malpractice action can vary significantly from state to state, most states require the injured patient to show that the practicing physician failed to act in accord with the accepted professional standard of care. In proving the negligence of the physician, the injured patient must typically show that a reasonable doctor would have acted differently under the same or similar circumstances.

In some medical malpractice cases, the doctrine of respondeat superior enables an injured patient to recover damages from a third party health care provider (such as a hospital), as well as from the physician who negligently caused the injury. Under this doctrine, a hospital may be held vicariously liable for the medical malpractice of its employees, if the employee was acting within the “scope of employment” at the time of the negligence.

Respondeat Superior

Based on the principle that the wrong of the agent may be the wrong of the employer, respondeat superior applies in many areas of the law. In order for an employer to be held liable for the negligent acts of an employee under the doctrine of respondeat superior, the employee must generally have committed the wrongful act while furthering a purpose of the employer and/or while under the control of the employer. If so, the employer might be held vicariously liable for the injuries that resulted from the employee’s negligent act, even when the employer is without fault.

Respondeat superior is equally applicable to medical malpractice actions. Specifically, the liability of the individual who acted negligently in providing medical services may extend to the employer health care provider, including:

  • A doctor or other practitioner who employs assistants, such as nurses or technicians
  • A health care company, such as an HMO or a hospital, that employs doctors and support professionals (nurses and technicians)

By imposing liability on a physician or other health care provider for a medical injury caused by another’s negligence, respondeat superior can help ensure that an injured patient will be financially compensated for the injury at issue.

Limiting Malpractice Liability Exposure

Under respondeat superior, an employer is generally not liable for the actions of independent contractors. Accordingly, some hospitals and health care companies hire doctors and other medical staff as independent contractors, in an attempt to decrease the risk of vicarious liability.

However, some jurisdictions still find hospitals liable for the negligent acts of independent physicians under the “apparent agency” theory, if a reasonable person would have concluded that the doctor was an employee or agent of the hospital and reasonably relied on that assumption. In 1978, a Washington Court of Appeal issued a seminal decision on the issue of apparent agency, ruling that a hospital could be held vicariously liable for an independent contractor’s negligence where the hospital “held the physician out” to be on staff. In that case, the court considered the following factors in applying the “apparent agency” theory to hold the hospital vicariously liable for the non-employee physician’s negligence:

  • The patient sought treatment primarily from the hospital
  • The hospital chose the physician that treated the patient
  • The doctor had a “significant relationship” with the hospital, by virtue of performing an “inherent function”

Even when respondeat superior is not applicable, a third party health care provider may be held directly liable for its own negligence, including:

  • Failing to verify the employee’s qualifications and skills
  • Negligent supervision and retention of the employee
  • Failing to provide a sufficient number of medical personnel
  • Negligent performance of clinical tests
  • Failing to protect patients from harm
  • Failing to keep accurate medical records
  • Improperly admitting or discharging patients
  • Should the ADA Stop Supporting the Use of Amalgams?
    Amalgams are a type of dental tooth filling which, unlike gold or porcelain fillings, contain mercury. In the past several years, the American Dental Association (ADA) and several state dental chapters have come under the attack of... Read more.
  • Deciding Not to Follow a Doctor's Medical Recommendation
    Medical malpractice is largely governed by state law and case law precedent. Thus, generalizations must be checked against the applicable state law standards. One commonality, however, among most jurisdictions, is the notion that a... Read more.
  • JCAHO Standards Seek to Reduce Medical Errors
    In late 1999, the Institute of Medicine issued a report regarding medical errors in United States hospitals. The report concluded that every year, as many as one million hospital patients are injured and 98,000 die as a result of... Read more.
  • Undiagnosed Heart Disease and Malpractice
    Cardiological specialists are required to adhere to a strict standard of care in diagnosis and treatment. If a specialist deviates from the standard of care and, as a result, a cardiac patient suffers an injury, then the specialist must... Read more.
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