Many Baltimore residents pride themselves on being responsible individuals. Responsibility is not only a matter of personal integrity, it is also a fundamental principle engrained in the legal system. Individuals and institutions can be held responsible for their own negligence, as well as the negligence of those acting under them or on their behalf.
For instance, when a doctor makes a medical error, the doctor can be held personally accountable for that error. Others may also be held liable for the personal injury, however, including the hospital where the incident occurred.
One man recently filed a hospital negligence suit, for example, after his 25-year-old wife died of a Gram-negative septic shock infection three days after giving birth to a baby boy. The man’s suit alleges the hospital staff was negligent and failed to provide proper care to the woman. The suit seeks compensation from the hospital under a principle known as vicarious liability.
Vicarious liability is a well-established legal principle that allows a hospital to be held liable for a doctor’s negligence. When injuries occur that are within the scope of the doctor’s employment, such as injuries that result from doctor errors in providing care at the hospital, the hospital may be held liable for those injuries. Doctors might also be held vicariously liable for the acts of nurses or other staff who were acting under the doctor’s orders.
Vicarious liability is an important principle because it allows injured patients to seek compensation not only against the doctor, but the hospital as well. If liability is found, the hospital will be responsible for paying any compensation in the same manner as the doctor.