Who Is Liable For Injuries After A Car Accident, Which Results In Medical Malpractice In The Emergency Room?

Medical Malpractice Mistakes

All personal injury cases can be very difficult to assess what is going on, who may be liable, and where to seek to protect your rights.  Unfortunately, one common scenario is where the victim of a personal injury accident such as a car accident goes to the hospital and then is hurt again by a healthcare provider.  This can be a very frustrating.

The question then becomes, if you were in a car accident, taken to a doctor, and the doctor commits medical malpractice, who is liable?

This is an excellent question!  Unfortunately, it has two general answers.

First, the defendant who caused the car accident will be liable for all injuries proximately caused by the crash.  This includes all subsequent injuries caused by the negligence of another actor, such as a doctor.  The subsequent negligence is known as an intervening cause of negligence, but it does not cut off the liability of the defendant driver.

However, second, after a car accident the doctor or healthcare provider will be liable for medical malpractice if the negligence is grossly negligent.  Meaning, if the doctor’s mistakes are so grossly negligence, outlandish, egregious, wanton, reckless, or arbitrary, the defendant driver will not be liable for the medical malpractice—only the doctor will.  This is known as a superseding intervening cause of negligence, and it does cut the liability off.

Meaning, this intervening cause of negligence (the doctor’s gross negligence) is unforeseeable and therefore cuts the chain of liability off.  The defendant driver will be liable for the damages from the car accident, and the defendant doctor will be liable for the damages from the medical malpractice.