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Who can be sued in a medical malpractice case?

New Mexico residents often trust that health care facilities will provide safe and quick treatments. Sadly, this does not always happen. Sometimes, medical malpractice, such as nursing home neglect, medication error or surgery error, leaves a victim permanently injured. Victims in these situations may be wondering what legal options are available. In some cases, it may be possible to pursue legal action against a responsible party in the form of a lawsuit.

Medical malpractice is not limited to the conduct of medical doctors. Such claims can be pursued against pharmaceutical companies, anesthesiologists, nursing homes, health care facilities and others. Knowing what party to pursue legal action against depends entirely on the specifics of the case.

Sometimes, it may be appropriate to pursue action against a hospital. Hospitals can be either private or public entities. They may be found to be directly liable or they may have what is known as "vicarious liability." When a hospital is vicariously liable it is being held responsible for the negligence of its employees.

There are many employees of health care facilities. These can include nurse practitioners, nurses and physician's assistants. Hospitals are expected to thoroughly vet any potential employees. Failing to do so may result in the hospital being found responsible for any damages under the corporate negligence doctrine. Also, an adequate number of registered nurses are required to be on duty in order to maintain a certain level of care.

Every decision made in a medical malpractice case can be important to the overall result. There are many complex legal issues and nuances involved in many such cases. Certain actions that are appropriate in one case may not always prove to be appropriate in another.

Source: FindLaw, "Responsible Parties in Birth Injury Cases: Who Can Be Sued?," Accessed on October 5, 2014

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