The Master Servant Rule

Discuss Respondeat Superior


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Respondeat Superior is also referred to as the Master Servant Rule. This legal notion comes into play in the case of a medical malpractice. More specifically, it comes into play when it can be proven that the employer or hospital can be held liable for the actions of doctors or employees. This vicarious liability occurs if the negligence or harm committed by the employee occurred during the scope of their normal and routine work performance. Respondeat Superior is important to plaintiffs in medical malpractice cases, as it ensures that there is an institution that can be held financially responsible. It is important to note, that in many hospitals, attending physicians and health care providers are considered to be independent contractors and in these cases, the concept of Respondeat Superior does not apply. In these cases, the hospital itself is only held liable if it can be proven that they granted a position or privilege to a physician employee that was uncertified, unlicensed or incompetent (Newsome & Melton, n.d.).

Newsome & Melton. (n.d.). Concept of Respondeat Superior.

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