Vicarious Liability Of The Hospital


Whether a hospital is liable for negligence or medical malpractice depends on who committed the negligent act that resulted in the patient’s injury.  Hospitals are often on the hook for the incompetence of employees, such as paramedics, nurses, and medical technicians.  However it is often the case that they are not responsible for the medical malpractice of doctors.

Employee Actions

When an employee of a hospital hurts a patient by acting incompetently, then the hospital is liable for the patient’s injuries.  Generally, nurses, medical technicians, and paramedics are considered hospital employees.  If the employee is doing something related to their job when he or she injures a patient, the patient will be able to sue the hospital.

However, should a doctor make a mistake, resulting in injury to the patient while working in the hospital, the hospital is not liable for the mistake unless the doctor is an employee.  However, it is unlikely that the doctor will be an employee.  Additionally, if a hospital employee commits malpractice while under the supervision of the doctor, the patient can sue the doctor.  But in this situation, the hospital may not be liable.  Whether the employee was under the doctor’s supervision depends on whether:

  • The doctor was present, and
  • The doctor had control to prevent the negligence of the employee.

Doctor’s as Employees

To determine whether a doctor is a hospital employee, the nature of his or her relationship with the hospital needs to be examined.  Most doctors are not hospital employees.  Rather they are independent contractors.  Therefore the hospital cannot be held responsible for the doctor’s medical malpractice, regardless of whether the malpractice occurred in the hospital.  A doctor is more likely to be considered an employee if:

  • The hospital determines the doctor’s working hours and vacation time, or
  • The fee the doctor can charge is set by the hospital.

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of the negligence of a doctor, contact an experienced Kingston, New York medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to evaluate your case.  They will help you determine whether the doctor was an employee of the hospital and if the hospital can be sued in addition to the doctor.

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  You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at