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What is a Physician’s Duty of Care?

Written by Berkowitz

Connecticut Medical Malpractice Attorney - Berkowitz and Hanna LLCConnecticut’s state law governs the viability of a medical malpractice claim. The laws dictate every aspect of validity – including statute of limitations, qualifications of expert witnesses, and more. It is important that you understand the basis of a malpractice claim, especially when it comes to the physician’s duty of care. A physician’s duty of care is what establishes the physician’s negligence when compared to the reasonable physician standard.

Your Physician Owes a Duty of Care

In order for a physician’s competency to be judged in court, the physician must actually owe you a duty of care. This means that the physician owes a duty to treat, inform, and so on. If there is no doctor-patient relationship established, the physician’s duty of care is no longer cause for concern.

Once the doctor-patient relationship has been established, the doctor who owes a duty of care and treatment to the patient must do the following:

  • Hold a degree of skill, care and diligence; and
  • Meet the expectation of a reasonably competent physician with the same training and experience in a similar treatment situation.

These circumstances will include the area of medicine which the physician practices, as well as the level of equipment and facilities available at the time. Other factors, such as any exigent circumstances existing at the time of the medical treatment or service, will also be taken into account.

Vicarious Liability

A physician that has been negligent may not be the only defendant in a medical malpractice case. A hospital or medical facility that has retained the services of said physician may be vicariously liable for the doctor’s negligence under the theory of “respondeat superior.” This means that the employer can be held liable for any negligent actions of their employee regardless of whether or not they were aware of such actions.

In most cases, doctors have staff privileges at hospitals; the hospital may attempt to prove that their limited role in the supervision and direction of the physician makes them unable to be held liable for the physician’s actions.

In general, however, a physician is largely liable for any negligence on the part of himself, as well as any nurses or assistants who are part of his staff. Even if the doctor is part of a medical group considered to be a limited partnership or limited liability corporation, he or she can still be held liable for the actions of any employees in a malpractice claim. The attending physician who oversees all physicians in a practice or facility can also be liable for any negligence on the part of the staff, medical interns, students supervised by the physician, or anyone who was provided with direct medical guidance.

It is Important to Hire a Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you have been seriously injured by a physician, you still need to consult with a CT medical malpractice attorney. Your attorney will be able to establish if the physician owed a duty of care to you, and whether or not there was a breach of such duty. Contact Berkowitz and Hanna LLC today to schedule a no- obligation case evaluation. Call 866-479-7909 or contact us online to get started.