Defendant May Allocate Fault to Healthcare Provider who Negligently Treats Injury

by Andrew J. Petersen

The Arizona Supreme Court recognized fault can be allocated to a healthcare provider who commits malpractice while treating an accident victim in Cramer v. Mungia, decided July 18, 2016. Under common law, the original tortfeasor doctrine recognized that an original tortfeasor who causes injury will be held liable for any additional injury caused by the concurrent or succeeding negligence of a third person which does not break the chain of causation. Thus, the original tortfeasor is a proximate cause of both the original and successive injuries, and she will be held liable for all injuries. In other words, if a plaintiff was injured in an accident and while seeking treatment for her injuries, a healthcare provider commits malpractice, the defendant would be held liable for all damages, including those caused by the malpractice.

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