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When does a mistake rise to medical malpractice in New York?

By Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo Plotkin & Hellman LLP

Medical malpractice may exist in cases of negligence or egregious medical mistakes.

Those who require medical attention put a great deal of trust with their medical providers. Physicians are responsible for the care and treatment of their patients. Although many physicians provide quality medical care, there are instances when mistakes are made. Depending on the details, the mistake may be negligent or egregious, potentially leading to a medical malpractice suit.

A local NPR affiliate discussed medical malpractice suits in New York, noting claims jumped significantly in 1999 due to a publication by the National Institute of Health. According to the article, the report that contributed to an increase in medical malpractice claims stated that 98,000 people died every single year due to preventable medical errors.

More on medical malpractice

Essentially, a medical malpractice claim exists when a physician is negligent when caring for a patient. Negligence is established when the following factors are met:

  • A patient/physician relationship exists
  • The physician fails to provide medical care that meets accepted standards
  • The failure leads to an injury

Establishing a medical malpractice claim generally requires meeting all three of these factors. This can require a variety of evidence and expert testimony. Expert testimony is used to describe the acceptable standard and outline how the physician failed to meet this standard.

It is important to note that the physician may not be the only liable party. If the hospital did not take steps to hire competent medical professionals or failed to ensure that these professionals were properly trained to complete certain procedures, the hospital facility itself may be liable. If the physician is part of a private practice, the entire practice may be liable. If the injury is connected to a defective medical device, the manufacturer or distributor of the product may be liable.

Remedies are available for victims

Regardless of which party or parties are liable, those who are the victims of medical malpractice are likely eligible to receive compensation. Compensatory damages are available to cover the cost of additional medical care, rehabilitative costs and lost wages as well as, in some cases, pain and suffering awards. Depending on the details of the case, punitive damages, or those intended to punish the wrongdoer in particularly reckless or egregious cases, may also be available.

Victims are wise to seek the counsel of an experienced New York medical malpractice lawyer in a timely manner. Statute of limitations laws can apply. Generally, medical malpractice suits in New York must be filed 2 ½ years from the date of the malpractice.

Keywords: medical malpractice personal injury

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