Many hospitals and medical facilities hire practitioners who work as independent contractors. While hospitals can be held vicariously liable for harm caused by their employees, a patient seeking to imposed liability on a care provider for injuries sustained during treatment by a non-employee must prove the person was acting as an agent of the provider. In a recent opinion, a New York court discussed the evidence needed to demonstrate ostensible or apparent agency in a case arising out of injuries sustained during treatment with an orthopedic therapist. If you were hurt by a careless therapist, you might be owed compensation, and you should speak to a skillful Rochester orthopedic malpractice attorney to assess your rights.
The Alleged Injury
It is reported that the plaintiff’s daughter was undergoing a therapy session at the defendant medical facility. During the session, she received treatment from the defendant therapist, an independent contractor. At some point, she fell off of a scooter and sustained injuries. The plaintiff then filed a lawsuit alleging medical malpractice claims against the defendants. Among other things, she alleged that the defendant facility should be held vicariously liable for the harm caused by the defendant independent contractor. The defendant facility filed a motion for summary judgment, which was denied. It then appealed.
Demonstrating Ostensible or Apparent Agency
Under New York law, a medical facility may be deemed liable for malpractice committed by its employees but will generally not be deemed liable for harm caused by an independent contractor, even if the facility is affiliated with the independent contractor. A facility may be held accountable for the harm caused by the independent contractor under a theory of apparent or ostensible agency, however.