Medical Malpractice: A Brief Overview

In 2013, the state of New York led the nation in medical malpractice payouts, issuing $38.83 per capita compared to Pennsylvania (#2 on the list) who paid out $24.76 per capita in medical malpractice. The top 3 reasons for medical malpractice suits are: missed or incorrect diagnosis, negligent surgery, and inappropriate treatment. Malpractice is a major problem and it is important to understand how this impacts you as a New York resident. Here is some basic information on medical malpractice that you should know.

What is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice definitions vary from state to state but generally speaking, medical malpractice is defined as:

• A doctor or other medical, psychiatric, or healthcare professional or institution;
• Breaches his/her/its standard of care when treating a patient; and • The breach results in an injury or death.

caduceus.jpgMedical malpractice is the failure of a doctor/health care professional or a health care facility to meet the standard of care required for a good medical practice. This can occur at a hospital, nursing home, medical testing facility, or clinic. If a patient feels that accepted medical standards are not met, and suffer harm or injury as a result, then he or she may have a claim for medical malpractice. In the event that a family member dies due to substandard medical care and treatment, a medical malpractice claim may exist for the deceased’s survivors. In this event, the medical professional or facility may assume liability for any resulting damages and injuries, some of which can result in lifelong medical bills, loss of income, or even death.

When patients seek medical services, they trust that doctors will perform their duties with care. However, when accidents happen during the course of medical treatment, injured patients and their families often face resistance from insurance companies. Health insurance companies either deny compensation, or pay far less than they should. If you suspect medical malpractice, the best way to protect a patient’s rights is to contact a qualified attorney.

How Can a NY Medical Malpractice Attorney Help?

The first step is to retain an attorney who specializes in medical malpractice. Self-representation is not advised due to the extensive research and litigation that medical malpractice suits entail. In a civil medical malpractice suit, plaintiffs bear the burden of proof. Due to this, a qualified attorney necessary to prove that the doctor or facility did not meet a proper level of care, and that actual harm was suffered.

Once retained, your attorney will carefully review the factual circumstances pertaining to the incident. Hospital records, sworn depositions, medical experts, and additional evidence are important when presenting a medical malpractice case. There are two ways to resolve the case: (1) a settlement agreement if the two parties can agree to the amount in damages; or (2) a trial if the parties are unable to agree to a settlement.

In light of procedural and evidentiary requirements, it is best to seek the assistance of a qualified attorney who is knowledgeable about the medical malpractice litigation process. Proving fault in a medical malpractice lawsuit is a complex and difficult matter, however with the right legal counsel a plaintiff has a better chance of accurately and effectively representing the claim.

When Should I File My Claim?

Each state has its own statute of limitations as to how long an injured patient can wait before filing a medical malpractice claim. According to New York medical malpractice law, you have up to two-and-a-half years from the date of the malpractice within which to file a claim. The clock begins ticking for the statute of limitations once the act that caused the injury takes place. This makes it extremely important to contact an attorney as soon as the injury occurs.

Medical Malpractice in New York

If you believe you are a victim of medical malpractice or if you are a family member of someone who has lost their life due to possible medical malpractice, contact our office today. Our medical malpractice attorneys in New York will consult with you regarding your potential claim.

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