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Who is responsible in medical malpractice cases?

Louisiana residents who seek out medical help likely trust that they will be treated with the utmost care. After all, in many of these cases, a person is trusting a medical professional with his or her life. However, medical professionals are human, just like anyone else. It is possible for accidents to occur that can have dire consequences for the patient. If negligence was involved, it may be possible for victims to pursue a lawsuit in order to seek compensation from the responsible party.

However, it is not always clear who to pursue legal action against -- in other words, there are often multiple possibilities as to whom is considered the responsible party. In some cases, the hospital may be considered the responsible party. Hospitals can be private or public, but in either case for legal purposes they are corporations. Sometimes, the hospital can be held directly liable. In other cases, another party is held responsible, but the hospital is considered vicariously liable.

The concept of vicarious liability can be hugely important in medical malpractice cases. This legal doctrine, also known as "respondeat superior," can help ensure that there is an entity to financially compensate the victim. However, sometimes the employees of a hospital are independent contractors. In this case, the hospital cannot be held liable for the independent contractor's negligence. However, they can be held liable if their own negligence played a role in the malpractice.

As becomes apparent, medical malpractice cases can involve many complexities. It is not always apparent even who should be held liable in a lawsuit. Attorneys are available to help victims and their families navigate this often confusing landscape and fight for the compensation they often deserve.

Source: FindLaw, "Responsible Parties in Birth Injury Cases: Who Can Be Sued?," Accessed on April 9, 2017

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