After a Car Accident, Can a Doctor Be Liable for New York Medical Malpractice?

Laws, Medical Malpractice Mistakes

Here is an interesting issue on liability and damages: What happens when a victim of a car accident is rushed to a hospital in serious condition, but then the hospital commits medical malpractice and kills the patient who would have otherwise survived?

On one hand, the patient could not be at the hospital if it was not for the car accident.  

On the other hand, the patient may not have died if the hospital did not kill the patient.

Who is at fault?!

Generally, the original tortfeasor will be liable for all injuries proximately caused by his or her injuries.  This means that the tortfeasor would be the person who caused the car accident.  That individual would be liable for all injuries and acts that reasonably flowed and were not too far removed from the chain of causation.  It is commonly known as a “bubble” of liability.

Thus, when a victim is injured at the hospital by medical malpractice, the person who cause the car accident would be liable for the medical malpractice.

HOWEVER, the original tortfeasor is NOT liable for negligent acts which cut off the chain of causation.  These are known as superseding causes.  Generally, gross medical malpractice will be determined to be a superseding cause.  This means that the doctor and hospital will be liable for the medical malpractice, but not the original tortfeasor.  This superseding cause of medical malpractice is important.

For instance, if the hospital made a small, negligent mistake, the person who caused the car accident will be liable for the medical malpractice.  If the hospital made a grossly negligence error, like operating on the wrong body location or removing the wrong organ, the person who caused the car accident will likely not be liable for the medical malpractice—the hospital and doctors will be.

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