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Using vicarious liability to recover medical malpractice damages

Medical malpractice can result in extensive harm. Some victims are left with a worsened medical condition that puts their chances of survival at risk, while others are dealt additional physical pain when they receive improper care. Treating these negligence-caused injuries and illnesses can be costly, especially when you take into account lost wages. A victim of medical malpractice who is unable to work may find themselves struggling to pay not only their new and undeserved medical expenses, but also their mortgage or rent, car payment, and grocery expenses.

Pursing a medical malpractice claim can, of course, lead to the recovery of compensation for these damages. But in many of these cases the negligent doctor or nurse responsible for the harm is unable to pay the full extent of damages suffered. This is why it is oftentimes crucial for medical malpractice victims to pursue vicarious liability.

Under the legal theory of vicarious liability, an employer can be held accountable for the negligent acts or omissions of its employees. To impose this type of liability, though, certain legal elements must be shown. Specifically, a plaintiff must prove that the errant medical professional was on the clock at the time of the incident in question, he or she was carrying out his or her job duties when the incident occurred, and that the employer benefited from the work being performed by the negligent individual.

Succeeding on a vicarious liability claim can give a medical malpractice victim access to deeper pockets that are more easily capable of paying any damage awards. Yet, hospitals often aggressively defend themselves against these claims. They might stand up for the medical professional and claim that he or she wasn't negligent, or they may try to claim that the medical professional was operating outside his or her scope of employment at the time of the incident. Either way, victims in the Glen Cove area need to know how best to pursue the compensation they deserve, which is why it is often wise to discuss these matters with an experienced attorney.

Source: FindLaw, "Vicarious Liability," accessed on April 10, 2017

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