When a Chicago patient suffers harm at the hands of his or her doctor, it can be easy to point one's finger at the treating physician and lodge claims of medical malpractice. However, in many cases of medical negligence, more parties than just the treating doctor can be held responsible for a patient's losses and damages. In cases of medical malpractice, liability may extend beyond the doctor who performed the injury-causing treatment or procedure to hospitals, medical centers and other entities.
For example, when a hospital or medical group hires a doctor to work for its organization, that hospital or medical entity is responsible for ensuring that the doctor is adequately trained and licensed to serve in the capacity he is hired to fulfill. If an entity like a hospital fails to ensure that a doctor or other medical professional on its staff meets the standards of his profession, then that hospital may be guilty of medical malpractice.
Liability for employing entities like medical groups and hospitals exists due to the legal concept of vicarious liability. When a doctor performs his duties as established by his employing hospital or medical group and those duties cause a patient harm, liability extends up past the doctor to his employer as well. However, in some situations, a medical entity may only hire a doctor as an independent contractor and in those cases pursuing additional defendants in a medical malpractice case can be more challenging.
When medical negligence leads to a personal injury, the victim of that injury has rights to pursue compensation for his losses. This post on medical malpractice provides only a brief overview of vicarious liability and other related topics. For more information on these complex legal matters, please speak with a Chicago-based personal injury attorney.