Civil Liability for Medical Malpractice. Damage Resulting from Doctor’s Negligence (Breach of Professional Duties)

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Abstract

Civil liability for medical malpractice may be attributed either to a doctor or a hospital when any of these persons’ acts or omissions cause injuries to a patient; it may be also the hospital’s liability for the damage caused by negligence of its staff (doctors and other personnel). The rules that govern this liability and the way of compensating the damage are different due to the grounds on which the doctor performs medical services and, in case of hospital’s liability, the relation between a doctor and a health care institution. A doctor who runs his private medical practice bears civil liability individually and is obliged to pay damages if any of his patient suffers injury in connection with the treatment. However, a doctor who acts as employee of a health care institution is protected by the provisions of the Labour Code and exempted from civil liability to a patient. On the other hand, a so-called independent contractor’s liability is joint and several with a hospital that has engaged him. However, case law seems to protect such doctors and treat them as hospital’s employees if certain premises are fulfilled (like de facto subordination of the doctor to the head of the ward).

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