Earlier this month, a New York appellate court handed down an interesting decision regarding the duty physicians have to warn their patients that the medication they are providing them may affect their driving. Ultimately, the court determined that physicians do have a duty to those people other than the patient to warn the patient that the medication they were just administered could affect their driving.
In the case, Davis v. South Nassau Communities Hospital, the plaintiff was a bus driver who was injured when another vehicle crossed a double-yellow line and collided with the plaintiff’s bus. That other driver was allegedly under the influence of narcotic medication that she was given while at the defendant hospital. The injured bus driver filed suit against the treating physicians as well as the hospital employing them.
At trial, the defendants asked the court for early dismissal, arguing that because they did not owe a duty to the third-party plaintiff they could not ultimately be held liable. The lower courts agreed and dismissed the case.