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Hospital negligence may be due to direct or vicarious liability

A patient who suffers an injury while being treated at a hospital may have been the victim of medical malpractice. Patients may anticipate that they will emerge from a California hospital in better shape than when they entered, but unfortunately, due to doctor error or hospital negligence, this may not be the case.

If a patient has been injured due to hospital negligence, he or she may be wondering who is at fault. Fault is the basis of a medical malpractice lawsuit. Determining who may be held liable is an important question in pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit. In a medical malpractice lawsuit, a hospital may be found to be either directly or vicariously negligent.

Direct negligence is due to the hospital's own negligence. Direct negligence may arise if a hospital hires a physician who the hiring staff knows is unqualified or incompetent and allows that physician to treat patients at its facility. Direct negligence may also occur if the hospital does not keep accurate medical records or if a patient is injured when a hospital has failed to have the required number of registered nurses on duty.

In contrast, under vicarious liability a hospital may be found to be responsible for the negligence of its employees, such as the doctors that are employed at the hospital. Hospitals may be found to be responsible if an employee, acting within the scope of his employment, acts negligently and causes injury to a patient. The determination that a hospital is vicariously liable for its patients may provide a party, the hospital, that can financially compensate an injured plaintiff in a medical malpractice lawsuit.

If a patient has been injured due to the negligence of a hospital or hospital staff, a patient may wish to seek legal counsel to advise him or her on the potential avenues for recovery.

Source:, "Medical Malpractice: Who Can Be Sued?", accessed April 3, 2015

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