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Vicarious liability in Illinois

In the state of Illinois, people who have come to harm due to the action or inaction of an organization may choose to place a civil suit against the business or group under the principle of vicarious liability. This form of liability refers to the responsibility that an employer, owner or supervisor has to properly control and regulate their employees so as to ensure safety and consistent quality of practice. This would mean that any medical business or other establishment might be included in a lawsuit that stems from a surgical error committed by an employee.

Vicarious liability applies to the employer under three general circumstances. They are liable when the damage was caused by an employee who was at work at the time, when the harm occurs during some action that the company hired their employee to carry out or when the employer was benefiting from the employee's activity at the time that the injury was caused.

This applies to big and small facilities. A hospital is responsible for their doctors just as a doctor in private practice is responsible for their staff. However, an employer may not be liable if the employee was not on the clock at the time that the injurious accident occurred.

Illinois law holds that any injury or debility caused by a surgical error or misdiagnosis may be eligible for monetary compensation from the responsible parties. As an organization may be held liable for the mistakes of its employees, a civil case may be pursued against them even if the precise identity of the worker who made the error is not known. An attorney may be able to help in situations where the author of an accident or mistake is obscure, and they may also be able to represent their client in any negotiations with the defendant organization.

Source: Findlaw, "Vicarious Liability", December 31, 2014

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Frequently Asked Questions about Medical Malpractice

Q: What is medical malpractice?

A: Medical malpractice is negligence committed by a professional health care provider, such as a doctor, nurse, dentist, technician, hospital worker or hospital, whose treatment of a patient departs from a standard of care met by those with similar training and experience, resulting in harm to a patient...

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