Medical malpractice cases can be complicated and often require the testimony of professionals to provide evidence. If you’re considering filing a claim for malpractice-related injury in New York, enlisting the help of an experienced medical malpractice lawyer can make the process smoother.
A good lawyer will understand the three key elements necessary for success – duty of care, breach of duty and damages – and have access to medical experts versed in those areas. Working with a professional can ensure that your case is fully evaluated and your rights are protected.
Duty of care
Doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals owe a duty to provide patients with quality care. This duty is based on the relationship between the medical professional and the patient.
The first step in proving a medical malpractice case is establishing that the physician owed a legal duty to their patient. In most cases, this means demonstrating that a medical professional’s actions were outside of the accepted standard of care in their field.
For example, a hospital may be liable for the negligence of the nurses and staff members that worked under their direction. In these cases, the hospital’s negligence could be a factor in why the doctor and other medical professionals failed to provide their patients with appropriate care.
A breach of duty is one of the four elements that a patient must prove in order to win their medical malpractice lawsuit. It requires establishing that the medical professional breached their duty to the patient, causing injury or death.
Once a medical professional has established a duty to the patient, they must also show that their actions were outside of the accepted standard of care for their profession. This can be done with evidence that a medical professional did not treat their patient with the level of skill, experience, and diligence that other doctors or nurses in similar situations would have provided.
Proving a violation of the doctor’s duty is often challenging because it requires establishing that there was a relevant connection between the doctor’s negligence and the patient’s injury or illness. This is often achieved by bringing in expert testimony from doctors who are knowledgeable about the medical industry and the specific conditions that the alleged negligent doctor faced during treatment of their patient.
Similarly, proving that the doctor’s negligence was a direct cause of a patient’s injury or death is another common hurdle in medical malpractice cases. This is because the law imposes stricter requirements for proximate causation.
Whether your doctor acted negligently or maliciously, you deserve to be compensated for any injuries you sustained as a result. A skilled medical malpractice attorney can help you recover the damages that you are owed. Contact a New York malpractice lawyer today to schedule your free consultation.
Breach of duty
Medical malpractice lawyers help patients prove their claims for damages. They typically have expert witnesses testify about the treatment, diagnosis or decision that a doctor made that was not in line with the accepted standard of care. They can also use their own knowledge and experience to show that a medical professional’s act was negligent.
When a medical professional acts in a negligent manner, they breach their duty of care to the patient. Breach of this legal obligation is what causes a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Usually, the doctor’s negligence results in a worse outcome for the patient. This can be caused by improper use of a surgical instrument, insufficient training for a procedure or a failure to monitor the patient’s condition.
A jury determines whether a doctor’s conduct was breached by focusing on what a reasonable person would do in a similar situation. This is called the “reasonable person” standard.
Once a medical professional’s conduct is determined to be breached, the next step in a malpractice case is to establish that the negligence resulted in an injury. This can be difficult for many reasons, including the fact that the misconduct must be separate from the medical illness or injury that the patient suffered.
To do this, the plaintiff must show a direct relationship between the misconduct and the injury. This relationship is known as “proximate causation.”
Proving a direct relationship between negligence and the injury can be very difficult, but an experienced lawyer can help you achieve this goal. They will be able to prove that the defendant’s misconduct was a significant contributing factor in the victim’s injuries.
Often, victims of negligence are unable to prove all three elements of the negligence claim. However, they can still recover damages for their injuries.
The first step is to prove that the defendant owed you a duty of care. Once you do that, the second element is to prove that they breached this duty. This is the most important part of the claim.
If a doctor or another medical professional has provided you with care that falls below the standards of reasonable care, you may be able to file a lawsuit for damages. These damages can be money, or non-monetary losses like pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of life’s enjoyment, etc.
A medical malpractice lawyer will be able to help you collect the compensation that you deserve for your damages. In order to be successful in a medical malpractice claim, you must prove that the doctor or other medical provider breached their duty of care and caused you damage.
You must also be able to show that the breach of duty was a direct cause of your injuries, or that it had a legally sufficient relationship with the injury; this is called proximate causation.
There are many ways to calculate damages in a medical malpractice case, including:
Loss of income (or earning potential) – This is usually measured by how much your income would have been had the physician or health care provider provided you with the care that they did. This can include lost wages, the value of any future income you may have, and any medical bills uncovered by your insurance company.
Costs incurred for adapting to your injuries – This includes expenses such as physical therapy, surgeries, and the costs associated with the medications you need to treat your injuries. You must be able to demonstrate that these costs were necessary for your recovery.
Pain and suffering – This can be measured by the amount of pain that you are experiencing as a result of your injuries. This can include a wide variety of symptoms, such as pain in your back, neck, shoulders, and head; difficulty with walking or driving; sleeplessness or anxiety; loss of appetite; memory problems; depression; and more.
In addition to economic and non-economic damages, your medical malpractice lawyer will be able to recover punitive damages, which are designed to deter others from engaging in negligent conduct. Examples of punitive damages include deliberate destruction of medical records or sexual misconduct towards a patient.
Statute of limitations
The statute of limitations is one of the most important things to consider when filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. Failing to file within the appropriate time frame will result in your case being dismissed without a judicial hearing on your claims.
The law varies from state to state, but most medical malpractice cases have a two-year deadline. This period begins when a patient knows or should have known that they were injured by medical negligence.
However, there are exceptions that may extend the time limit. For example, if the health care provider concealed a form of malpractice through fraud (intentional misrepresentation of fact), this can be extended to four years from when the victim discovered that they were harmed.
There are also exceptions for minor children and those who were mentally ill or disabled at the time of the malpractice. These exceptions are outlined in New York Civil Practice Law and Rules sections 214-A and 208.
In the case of a minor, the time frame is three years from their eighteenth birthday. For those who were harmed due to a foreign object left in their bodies, the statute of limitations is ten years from the date that the object was discovered or should have been found.
Regardless of the case, if you have suffered due to medical malpractice, it’s essential to consult with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. Often, memory fades and evidence can be lost over time, so it’s important to act promptly.
A medical malpractice attorney can help you evaluate whether you have a case and, if so, ensure that your claim is filed within the proper statute of limitations. Contact our office today to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case.
According to a recent report, New York lawmakers may soon introduce legislation that will expand the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims. The proposed bill, if passed, would give victims of medical malpractice an additional 10 years from the negligent act or omission to bring a claim.
As you can see, the law is a complicated issue that requires expert legal representation to address properly. If you have suffered from medical negligence, it’s critical to act quickly and hire an experienced medical malpractice lawyer who can help you build a strong claim.