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Hospital and Health Plan Liability

Learn about hospital and health-system vicarious liability for staff negligence and direct liability for patient injuries.


Hospitals, health plans, nursing homes, and almost all other healthcare entities face potential liability under state tort laws, both vicariously and directly. The one exception is employer-sponsored health plans, which are shielded from state tort laws by the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA.

I. Vicarious Tort Liability

Let’s look at vicarious liability. Vicarious liability is legal responsibility for someone else’s actions.

A. Respondeat Superior

The doctrine of ...