Healy Scanlon Law Firm

Who is responsible in a medical malpractice suit?

Though they may have superior medical knowledge, at the end of the day, all doctors are humans and humans are not perfect. Unfortunately, there are times when human errors occur during a patient's treatment in Chicago, whether it is a misdiagnosis, the prescription or administration of wrong drugs or surgical mistake. Each of these instances can lead to severe injury, a prolonged illness or in extreme instances, death.

Although it is presumed that all necessary precautions are taken when it comes to a patient's health, as it is a doctor and medical professional's job and duty is to care for a patient, this is not always the case. As mentioned above, medical malpractice may take many forms. So who is responsible in the event of medical malpractice?

Every situation is of course different, but when looking at the factors that led to the medical malpractice, there are often multiple parties responsible. Under the legal doctrine "respondeat superior", employers may be held responsible for the actions of their employees, including neglects and malpractice. Hospitals where a medical procedure took place may be found liable for the actions or inactions of their employees. This includes not only doctors, but nurses, nurse practitioners, physicians and physician's assistants.

While some physicians are employees of their hospital, it is not uncommon for doctors to be considered independent contractors. This means that hospitals with contracted doctors are not liable under the respondeat superior doctrine. This does not mean that doctors, including doctors in the Chicago area, are not responsible for any Chicago medical malpractice suits that may arise. These determinations may be difficult to make, especially when a Chicago resident is recuperating from a condition caused by the negligence. An experienced attorney can wade through the legalities on their behalf.

Source: findlaw.com, "Medical Malpractice: Who Can Be Sued?" Accessed Nov. 29, 2016

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