How Does a New York Medical Malpractice Case Work?

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We trust our doctors to heal us and protect us when we are ill or injured. Getting surgery or certain treatments from a doctor is an enormous act of trust, as is seeking a diagnosis.

While no doctor is right 100% of the time, the law requires them to adhere to a “reasonable standard of care” any time they agree to treat a patient. When doctors fail in that standard patients often sustain more injury, illness, or pain than they otherwise would have had to, or even perish as a result of the doctor’s actions.

Thus, the law allows these patients to seek compensation under a medical malpractice personal injury suit. These suits are often in the news, and have even involved high profile victims, such as comedian Trevor Noah

Here’s what you need to know.

Types of Medical Malpractice

There are several types of medical malpractice suit.

  • Failure to diagnose 
  • Misdiagnosis
  • Surgical errors
  • Birth injuries
  • Medical product liability

If you can prove, to the court’s satisfaction, that you have suffered an injury or a loss as a result of your care provider’s actions then you may be entitled to compensation, including compensation for medical bills sustained trying to correct the doctor’s error, lost wages, services or equipment you had to buy as a result of the doctor’s error, and pain and suffering. If the care provider acted recklessly you may be able to collect punitive damages as well.

Your lawyer will have to obtain a Certificate of Merit.

A “Certificate of Merit” is a filing which states that the lawyer has reviewed the facts of the case, has consulted with at least one licensed physician, and has concluded there is a reasonable basis for filing a malpractice claim.  The Certificate of Merit may also state that the lawyer has made a good faith effort to consult with at least three separate physicians but has been unable to comply with the requirement.

Either way, this filing says the lawyer believes the major issues that must be proven in a medical malpractice case are true:

  • There was a bona fide patient-physician relationship.
  • The medical professional was negligent and failed to meet the reasonable standard of care.
  • That error caused you harm.
  • The loss was significant and caused major damages.

When we evaluate your case we will be looking for evidence that all four of these things are true.

You don’t have a lot of time to file a medical malpractice case.

There is a general 2.5 year statute of limitations in New York, but certain case types have different statutes. The three major exceptions are foreign objects left in the body, a failure to diagnose cancer, and cases where the victims are minor children.

In a foreign object case, the patient has just one year after the date of discovery of the foreign object or one year within learning facts that would have reasonably led to the discovery of the foreign object, whichever is earlier.

If the doctor failed to diagnose cancer, there’s a 30 month filing deadline that begins either at the conclusion of ongoing treatment, or on the date the patient either knew or should have known the error existed.

When the victim is a minor child the statute does not begin until the victim turns 18. 

Get help today!

It usually takes an attorney’s help even to secure the evidence you need to secure to create a viable medical malpractice case. This evidence is often complex, requiring an experienced attorney to interpret and build a case from it.

There is absolutely no benefit in waiting. Contact our office for a free consultation as soon as you think you might have a case. 

See also:

Who Can Collect Damages in a Class Action Case?

Steps New York Residents Should Take When Injured By Defective Products

Understanding Comparative Negligence in a Personal Injury Case


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