Medical Malpractice Attorneys Discuss Evolution of Hospital Liability

In the past, medical malpractice attorneys were extremely limited when bringing lawsuits, especially in determining who could be found liable. Under the doctrine of charitable immunity, hospitals were completely free from tort liability. This doctrine has been eliminated or minimized in many jurisdictions leading to three theories that have been used to hold hospitals liable when their doctors and nurses commit negligent acts. These three theories are known as respondeat superior, ostensible agency, and corporate negligence.

Hospitals are Responsible for Their Healthcare Providers

new jersey philadelphia medical malpractice attorneys evolution hospital liabilityUnder the respondeat superior theory, a theory that applies to many employer/employee relationships, the healthcare provider must be employed by the hospital. In order for a hospital to be liable under respondeat superior, the negligence must occur within the scope of the doctor’s employment practices. Secondly, ostensible agency may apply even if the doctor is not directly employed by the hospital and rather acts as an independent contractor. Under this theory, if a patient looks to the hospital for care rather than a specific doctor or the hospital represents the doctor as an employee, the hospital may be found liable. Lastly, more and more courts are holding hospitals liable under a theory of “corporate negligence”. Under that theory, lawyers may sue hospitals when they fail to review the treatment prescribed by doctor’s or require consultation. This has been a major trend in recent years that has allowed plaintiffs who have been injured by negligent healthcare providers to seek damages from the hospital as opposed to merely a single doctor or nurse.

Medical Malpractice Attorneys in New Jersey and Philadelphia

If you or a family member have recently been the victim of medical negligence, it is possible that you would like to speak with our professionals. Please contact the Mininno Law Office for a free case evaluation, or call for a free consultation at (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey, or (215) 567-2380 in Philadelphia.