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New York Court Discusses Proving Direct and Vicarious Liability in Medical Malpractice Cases

Many people suffering from acute or chronic issues receive medical treatment from a provider working for a hospital or health care facility. As such, if they subsequently suffer harm due to incompetent care, they may not only be able to pursue medical malpractice claims against the doctor but also against the entity that employed them. A plaintiff in a medical malpractice lawsuit must demonstrate the defendant doctor’s negligence, however; otherwise, their claims against both the doctor and the hospital may be dismissed. This was demonstrated in a recent opinion issued by a New York court in a case alleging medical malpractice and vicarious liability claims. If you suffered harm due to incompetent care rendered in a hospital, you might be owed damages, and you should speak to a Syracuse hospital malpractice lawyer regarding your rights.

The Plaintiff’s Allegations

It is alleged that the plaintiff was treated with the defendant doctor at the defendant hospital for an unspecified condition. She later suffered harm, which she alleged arose out of the defendant doctor’s negligent care. As such, she filed a medical malpractice lawsuit, asserting that the defendant doctor was directly liable for her injuries, and the defendant hospital was vicariously liable. The defendants moved for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff failed to meet her burden of proof. The court agreed with the defendants and issued an order dismissing the plaintiff’s claims. The plaintiff appealed.

Proving Direct and Vicarious Liability in Medical Malpractice Cases

The appellate court found the trial court’s reasoning to be sound and affirmed the ruling. The court explained that the defendant doctor satisfied his initial burden of proof with regard to both the deviation and causation aspect of the plaintiff’s claim by submitting an affidavit opining that he did not depart from the good and accepted practice of medicine and that the treatment he offered the plaintiff did not proximately cause her to suffer harm.

Further, the appellate court noted that, in response, the plaintiff failed to demonstrate that a triable issue of fact existed. Specifically, her expert affidavit failed to address the specific allegations in the defendant doctor’s expert affidavit or the conclusions set forth within. Additionally, the plaintiff’s expert did not dispute the facts asserted concerning the plaintiff’s treatment. As such, the plaintiff failed to show that a triable issue of fact existed with regard to the defendant’s doctor’s negligence. As she could not sustain her claims against the defendant doctor, the court found that her vicarious liability claims must be dismissed as well. Accordingly, it affirmed the trial court ruling.

Speak to a Skilled Syracuse Medical Malpractice Attorney

Hospitals have a duty to hire competent doctors, and if they breach their duties, both they and the incompetent doctors they employ may be held accountable for any harm that ensues. If you suffered injuries due to negligent care in a hospital, you could be owed damages, and you should speak to a trusted hospital malpractice attorney to discuss your possible claims. The skilled attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers are well-versed in what it takes to prove the liability of reckless healthcare providers that harm their patients, and if you hire us, we will zealously pursue any compensation available. You can reach us through our form online or by calling us at  833-200-2000 to set up a meeting.



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