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What is the respondeat superior doctrine?

When patients in New York experience poor or even harmful treatment from medical professionals, it is hardly surprising that many decide to take legal action. When you place your life and health into the hands of another, you hope that they will act with all the diligence and care they can muster. Unfortunately, all too many cut corners, fail to listen to their patients or even fail to adhere to basic procedures. As a result, their patients suffer serious injuries, worsened medical conditions or even death.

One of the first steps many take is to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the medical professional or professionals believed to be responsible. In general this involves proving that they owed a duty of care to the patient in question and that they subsequently breached that duty. One way that can sometime be shown is to determine whether they deviated from accepted medical practice in the course of the patient's treatment.

In other cases, the lawsuit could extend to a hospital itself. A particular doctrine, entitled respondeat superior, allows an employer to be consider liable for an employee's mistakes if those errors are perceived to have happened within the scope of the responsibilities of that employee's position. However, this does not generally apply when the accused is an independent contractor.

Even so, as this article on medical malpractice elaborates, liability may still be alleged for granting the accused access to facilities. An attorney may be able to advise you on your options and support you if decide to claim compensation for the mistreatment you have experienced.

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