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  • Writer's pictureLeitner Varughese Warywoda

Vicarious Liability and New York Nursing Home Cases

Some nursing home negligence lawsuits arise from a single egregious mistake, such as nursing staff leaving a patient unattended during a meal when the patient’s care plan indicated that he required supervision, and as a result of the lack of supervision, the patient choked on food. A more common nursing home negligence scenario is the harm that occurs slowly and gets gradually worse over time. When a patient develops severe pressure ulcers, it follows that numerous nursing home staff members would have attended to the patient and should have noticed the pressure ulcers and sought appropriate treatment. 

In either case, the defendant in the lawsuit is likely to be the nursing home, whether or not it is possible to attribute the proximate cause of the patient’s injuries to individual employees. The legal concept underlying all of this is vicarious liability, and it plays a role in many personal injury cases, including but not limited to nursing home negligence cases. If your family member suffered a medical emergency or worsening health in a nursing home because of many small mistakes by employees that eventually added up to major harm, contact a New York City nursing home lawyer.

How Does Vicarious Liability Work?

Vicarious liability means that a party can be legally responsible for harm caused by a person acting on its behalf. In practice, it often applies to lawsuits against businesses arising from acts of negligence by their employees. In this context, vicarious liability is also known by the Latin term respondeat superior.

The doctrine of vicarious liability is beneficial to plaintiffs in personal injury cases. If the only party you could sue was the person who directly caused your injuries, then the chances are very low that the person would be able to pay you enough to cover all of your accident-related financial losses, even if the court ordered the person to pay. Corporate entities are in a much better position to pay for the negligence of their employees than individual employees are to pay out of their own pockets for their work-related negligence.

Vicarious Liability is Not Just for Nursing Home Neglect Cases

When nursing home residents suffer harm because of neglect or preventable accidents, the nursing home is the obvious defendant. Likewise, in medical malpractice cases where the medical error took place in a hospital emergency room or after the patient was already admitted to the hospital, the hospital is a defendant, sometimes in addition to individual physicians who acted contrary to the standard of care. Vicarious liability can also apply in car accident cases, where the at-fault driver was driving as part of his or her job. In this case, the employer is vicariously liable for the employee’s actions.

Contact Leitner Varughese Warywoda About Nursing Home Neglect

A nursing home lawyer can help you if you suffer serious injuries because of an error by nursing home staff. Contact Leitner Varughese Warywoda PLLC in Brooklyn, New York, or call (212) 671-1110 to discuss your case.



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