DC Court of Appeals Determines Hospital Is Liable for Conduct of Temporary Nurse

The legal doctrine of “respondeat superior”—Latin for “let the master answer”—is used to hold employers liable for an employee’s negligent behavior. For example, if someone is injured because an amusement park employee negligently operated a ride, the doctrine would allow the injured party to name both the amusement park employee as well as the amusement park itself in the lawsuit, seeking damages from each.

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This is a very critical doctrine for DC personal injury plaintiffs because it allows them to name defendants in a lawsuit that might actually have the money to pay for the damages the accident victim sustained. To use the example above again, the amusement park employee may be an 18-year-old with little to his name. The amusement park, therefore, would provide the plaintiff with a better chance of actually collecting what he or she is owed.

In a recent case in front of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, the court held that a temporary nurse is to be considered an “employee” for the purposes of defending a suit alleging that the nurse was negligent.


The Facts of the Case

The facts of this particular case are complex, but a brief summary is as follows. A woman went to the hospital to give birth. The doctor on staff determined that she would need to have a Cesarean section performed, and a temporary nurse was to assist with the procedure. After the procedure, the patient could not move her legs and was permanently wheelchair-bound. The woman sued the nurse, the doctors, the hospital, and others seeking compensation for her injuries.

The hospital’s insurance contract provided insurance for the negligence of all “employees.” Thus, it became relevant to the hospital whether the temporary nurse who assisted with the botched procedure was, in fact, an employee of the hospital and covered under its contract.

The Court held that the temporary nurse was an employee of the hospital under the hospital’s insurance contract. The hospital had to defend the suit against the nurse.

Recovering After a Serious Medical Accident

Hospitals are places we go to get better, not to continue to suffer or develop new ailments. All too often, doctors and nurses fail to take the necessary precautions to prevent serious injuries to their patients. When this occurs, the law allows a patient to pursue justice in the form of monetary compensation for his or her injuries.

Have You Been Injured By a Medical Professional?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured during a medical procedure, you may be entitled to monetary damages. As you can tell from the case above, medical malpractice litigation is complex and is best left to an experienced medical malpractice attorney. At the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, the team of dedicated medical malpractice attorneys has years of collective experience bringing all types of medical malpractice cases. They understand the nuances of this specific type of law and are confident in their ability to help you. Click here, or call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free initial consultation today.

More Blog Posts:

Pennsylvania Construction Workers Injured When Trench Collapses on Them, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, June 5, 2014
Staffer to US Senator Dies as a Result of a Hit and Run Accident, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, June 26, 2014
Widow Sues Healthcare Company After Her Husband Dies Due to Malfunctioning Medical Equipment, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, July 17, 2014

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