A common question is can an entire surgical group be liable for medical malpractice if one doctor or surgeon caused your injury. This is a good question. Generally, in a hospital setting there will be liability against the hospital if an employee commits medical malpractice. This could be a nurse, technician, or attending physician. This is under the doctrine of respondeat superior, which renders the master or employer liable for the acts of the servant or employee. This is a common doctrine to find liability in any employer-employee relationship, including trucking accidents with truck drivers.
As for a surgical practice group, generally a surgical group will also be liable for the acts of one of its employees. This is because the surgical group is receiving a benefit for the employee, income from surgeries, and therefore the surgical group has a burden of liability. Thus, when a surgeon in a surgical group commits medical malpractice he or she will be liable for the medical malpractice.
However, liability may not be so clear where the surgical group is organized (meaning the corporate form of how it was made with the State of New York) in a certain way. For instance, a limited liability partnership will allow the partners, presumably the doctors and surgeons in the group, to share the benefits but limit their liability for the other’s malpractice. Thus, if one doctor commits medical malpractice in a limited liability partnership, the other doctors and the practice group may not be liable for the negligence of the surgeon. This benefits on the partnership agreement or other corporate organizational documents.
The general rule is, however, to commence an action against all of them to ensure that you are protect and make the correct decision. This is important to ensuring you win your case and protect your rights under New York medical malpractice law.
But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected] You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.