The so often misunderstood doctrine of Respondeat Superior…
MISCONCEPTION: “Medical assistants work under the umbrella of the doctor, so if something goes it’s the doctor who will be held responsible for the mistake.”
We have said it before and we cannot emphasize it enough: this is not true! Medical assistants are just as responsible for their own actions, along with doctor who hired them, but first, let’s first define the doctrine of respondeat superior.
Definition of Respondeat Superior
Respondeat superior is a legal term that stands for “let the master answer“. It is a long established doctrine that applies when a master acts through the servant to accomplish a specific task. What this means is that under specific circumstances, an employer (let’s say the doctor) is legally liable for the actions of his or her employees (servants) while in the course of their employment. The actions of the servant are imputed to the master.