Common Doctrines in Legal Medicine / Medical Jurisprudence

  1. Doctrine of Vicarious Liability
  2. Doctrine of Contributory Negligence or Doctrine of Common Fault
  3. Doctrine of Ostensible Agent / Doctrine of Apparent Authority
  4. Borrowed Servant Doctrine
  5. Captain of the Ship Doctrine
  6. Doctrine of Res Ipsa Loquitur / Common Knowledge Doctrine
  7. Doctrine of Assumption of Risk
  8. Doctrine of Last Clear Chance / Discovered Peril / Supervening Negligence / Humanitarian Doctrine
  9. Doctrine of Foreseeability


  1. Doctrine of Vicarious Liability – This is a legal doctrine that assigns the liability for an injury to a person who did not cause the injury, but due to the particular legal relationship to the person who did act negligently.This is also called: Imputed Negligence or Respondeat Superior (let the master answer)

    1. Employer’s subsidiary liability to the acts or offenses committed by its employees
    2. Liability of parents to the acts of their children
    3. Dram Shop law – seller of alcoholic drink becomes liable to the accident caused by the drunk patron

  2. Doctrine of Contributory Negligence or Doctrine of Common Fault – It has been defined as conduct on the part of the plaintiff or injured party, contributing as a legal cause to the harm he has suffered, which falls below the standard which he is required to conform to his own protection.

    – It is the act or omission amounting to want of care on the part of the complaining party which, concurring with the defendant’s negligence, is the proximate cause of the injury.

    Art. 2179, Civil Code
    “When the plaintiff’s own negligence was the immediate and p roximate cause of his injury, he cannot recover damages. But if his negligence was only contributory, the immediate and proximate cause of injury being th e defendant’s lack of due care, the plaintiff may recover damages, but the court may mitigate the damages to be awarded.”

    In quasi-delicts, the contributory negligence of the plaintiff shall reduce the damages that he may recover.”

    Some Instances where there is contributory negligence:
    1. Failure to give the physician an accurate history;
    2. Failure to follow the treatment recommended by the physician;
    3. Leaving the hospital against the advice of the physician;
    4. Failure to seek further medical assistance if symptoms persist.

  3. Doctrine of Ostensible Agent or Doctrine of Apparent Authority
    Apparent authority refers to “the power to affect t he legal relations of another person by transactions with third persons, professedly as agent for the other, arising from and in accordance with the other’s manifestations to such third persons –
    (Professional Services, Inc. vs. Agana, G.R. No. 126297, 31 January 2007)

    Ostensible means appearing to be true but not so.

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