Who Can Be Held Accountable For The Medical Malpractice?

Generally, a medical malpractice claim can be brought against a licensed health care provider. This can include a person, corporation or institution licensed by the state to provide healthcare, medical services, nursing services or other health care services. A claim can be brought against physicians, dentists, nurses, therapists, hospitals, and pharmacists, among others.

California law holds a hospital liable for the acts of a physician if he is an actual agent of the hospital or when a patient is led to believe the physician is an agent. When a hospital holds out a physician as an employee, a patient may reasonably assume that the physician is an employee of the hospital without making an inquiry on the subject.

In general, public entities are immune from liability; however, they may be held liable for acts of their employees. The government entity has a duty to defend and indemnify its employees. Likewise, a public entity is liable for any injury proximately caused by an act of an independent contractor of the public entity to the same extent that the public entity would be subject to liability if it were a private person. A public entity is immune from liability for punitive or exemplary damages. However, under certain conditions, the public entity, other than the state, is authorized to pay punitive or exemplary damages on behalf of the employee. Public entities may insure themselves against all tort liability.

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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