Attorneys Jeff D. DeFrancisco and Charles L. Falgiatano
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Generally speaking, a claim for medical malpractice must be filed within two and one-half years (30 months) of an alleged act of medical negligence in the state of New York. While some circumstances can operate to lengthen the time for filing a claim, other circumstances can shorten the period substantially. For instance, if the defendant in a proposed Syracuse birth injury lawsuit is a governmental entity, the plaintiff may have as little as 90 days in which to file a notice of claim (a condition precedent to the filing of a lawsuit against certain government entities, including those who own or operate hospitals).

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the petitioner was an infant, proceeding through his mother and natural guardian, who sought to assert a medical malpractice claim against the respondent city hospital corporation (a public entity). Although the infant was discharged from the hospital shortly after his birth in April 2013, he did not file a motion for leave to serve a late notice of claim until May 2016 – more than three years after the alleged act of medical negligence. The Supreme Court of New York County denied the petitioner’s motion for leave to serve a late notice of claim, and he appealed.

The Court’s Decision

The New York Appellate Division, First Department, affirmed the lower court’s order denying the relief sought by the petitioner. According to the court, both the infant and his mother received pre- and post-natal care at the respondent’s hospital in 2013. In the reviewing court’s opinion, any medical malpractice claim that the petitioner might have had against the respondent accrued upon the petitioner’s discharge from the hospital; thus the applicable claims period began to run more than three years prior to the filing of the petitioner’s motion for leave to serve a late notice of claim.

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Although New York is a “no fault” insurance state, those who suffer serious personal injuries in a Syracuse car accident caused by someone else’s negligence may be able to recover money damages from the person whose breach of duty caused the crash. Generally speaking, there is an exception to the usual provisions of no fault when an accident caused by another’s negligence causes death, dismemberment, disfigurement, permanent loss of use or impairment of a body part, or a non-permanent injury that keeps the injured person from his or her usual activities for at least 90 of the 180 days immediately following the collision.

Of course, automobile accident liability insurance companies fight hard against a finding that would take a particular case outside the scope of the no fault statute, and it is up to the court system to determine each case on its own merits.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case appealed from the Supreme Court of Nassau County, the plaintiffs were involved in an automobile accident that they alleged was caused by the defendant driver’s negligence. They filed suit, seeking to recover money damages for their personal injuries. The defendant sought summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiffs’ complaint should be dismissed because neither of them had sustained a “serious injury,” as that term was defined in New York Insurance Law § 5102(d).

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Syracuse medical malpractice lawsuits involving multiple defendants can be complex. The plaintiff’s case against some of the defendants may be stronger or weaker than his or her case against the others, possibly leading to quicker and more effective settlement negotiations against one or more of the health care providers against whom money damages are sought. Just as naming multiple defendants complicates a medical negligence lawsuit, so may the death of the primary plaintiff in such a lawsuit, especially if his or her death allegedly resulted from the acts of malpractice giving rise to the claim.

A recent case explored some of the issues that can arise when the original plaintiff passes away in the middle of a lawsuit involving several medical provider defendants, one of whom had allegedly entered into an arbitration agreement with the original plaintiff prior to his death.

Factual Allegations

In a recent case filed in the Supreme Court of St. Lawrence County in 2015, the original plaintiff was a man who sought monetary compensation for alleged acts of medical malpractice and chiropractic malpractice from multiple medical provider defendants. While the lawsuit was pending, the original plaintiff entered into an arbitration agreement with one particular defendant, and a stipulation of discontinuance was entered as to that defendant. Accordingly, the trial court deleted that defendant from the caption of the complaint.

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In a lawsuit arising from an alleged act of medical malpractice, a Syracuse medical malpractice plaintiff may seek reasonable compensation for several different types of damages. Two of the most common types of damages are medical expenses and lost earning capacity caused by the act(s) of medical negligence.

Money damages may also be awarded for pain and suffering in some cases. Of course, in order for this to happen, there must be  proof that the victim was aware of his or her suffering, at least on some level. While it is not necessary to show that he or she was fully “awake” and completely aware of everything that was happening at the time in question, there must be some evidence of awareness of his or her pain during the relevant time. Whether or not this was so in a certain case can be a point of much contention.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case arising in the Supreme Court of New York County, the plaintiff was a woman who sought monetary compensation for the death of a medical patient who died after having been treated by the defendants, two hospitals and several other medical providers. Two of the defendants sought summary judgment on the issue of the plaintiff’s conscious pain and suffering claim, arguing that there were no genuine issues of material fact as to whether the decedent was cognitively aware during the time that she was admitted to those defendants’ medical facilities.

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Doctors and hospitals make mistakes, just like other individuals and institutions. Sometimes an act of negligence involves the timing of treatment more than the actual procedure or diagnosis. The hospital or physician may have, eventually, done the right thing, but the delay may have caused a patient to suffer unnecessarily or it may have made his or her condition worse than it would have other been. When this happens, the injured patient has a right to seek monetary compensation with the assistance of a Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer to help offset the additional medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering caused by the act of malpractice.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case considered on appeal by the New York Appellate Division, First Department,  the plaintiff was an infant who, through his mother and natural guardian, brought suit against the defendant hospital in the Supreme Court of Bronx County, seeking monetary compensation for personal injuries he allegedly sustained due to the defendant’s delay in surgically intervening to treat a medical condition that allegedly developed after the infant suffered a gunshot in his right leg. According to the plaintiff’s view of the case, the defendant should have acted quicker in treating the infant’s compartment syndrome (the building of excessive pressure inside an enclosed muscular space, usually caused from bleeding or swelling brought on by an acute injury).

The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that it was entitled to judgment as a matter of law because the plaintiff had failed to present a triable issue of fact. The trial court ruled in the defendant’s favor on the motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

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Under New York law, property owners have certain responsibilities when it comes to maintaining their property. If this duty of care is breached, a person injured in an accident on the property may be able to pursue fair monetary compensation for medical expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and other damages.

If you have been hurt in a trip and fall accident, it is important that you talk to an attorney as soon as possible. Evidence can disappear quickly in these types of cases, making negligence more difficult to prove as time goes by. Talking to an attorney about your fall doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. Our knowledgeable Syracuse premises liability attorneys do not charge a consultation fee and will be glad to explain your legal rights following an accident caused by another’s neglect or carelessness.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the plaintiff was a woman who tripped and fell on a sidewalk located in front of the defendant residents’ home. The plaintiff sued both the residents of the home and the city in which the property was located, seeking monetary compensation for her injuries. The residents filed a motion for summary judgment, averring that there were no material issues of fact that needed to be determined by the jury and, even viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the injured woman, they were entitled to judgment as a matter of law. In support of their motion, the residents submitted evidence that they were exempt from the statutory liability created by the Administrative Code of the City of New York § 7—210(b) because the property in front of which the plaintiff suffered her fall was an owner-occupied, two-family residence. The defendant residents also averred that there was no evidence showing that they made special use of the area.

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A Syracuse car accident can leave an innocent driver or passenger physically injured, either temporarily or permanently. It is important that a person who has been hurt in an accident understand the nuances of New York insurance law as he or she navigates the claims process.

An established motor vehicle accident attorney can help guide the injured person through the process, explaining concepts such as “negligence,” “no fault,” and “serious injury.” The defendant’s insurance company is already very familiar with these terms, of course, leaving the injured person at a serious disadvantage – as if being injured, unable to work, and without a vehicle was not enough.

Facts of the Case

In a recent appellate case that was filed in the Supreme Court for Monroe County and heard on appeal by the Supreme Court of the State of New York Appellate Division, Fourth Department, the plaintiff was a man who filed suit against the defendant driver, seeking monetary compensation for injuries he alleged sustained in an automobile accident that occurred when the defendant’s vehicle struck the plaintiff’s vehicle.

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A Syracuse medical malpractice lawsuit can arise in many different ways. Sometimes, a claim of negligence involves an affirmative act taken by a doctor, such as operating on the wrong limb or leaving behind a piece of medical equipment in a patient’s abdominal cavity. Medical malpractice can also happen when a doctor fails to take a particular action, such as failing to refer a patient to a specialist for further examination and treatment.

Of course, simply failing to make a referral is not, in and of itself, negligence unless some harm befalls the patient as a proximate result. A common complaint in such situations is that the doctor’s failure to advise the patient to follow up with another physician resulted in a delayed diagnosis some type, such as cancer, and that the condition grew worse as a result.

Facts of the Case

In a recently decided case arising in the Supreme Court for Bronx County, the plaintiff was a man who filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against a doctor and others, asserting that the doctor had been negligent in not referring him to a urologist in a timely fashion. According to the plaintiff’s view of the case, this negligence created a delay, during which the plaintiff’s prostate cancer became worse, ultimately requiring him to undergo a radical prostatectomy.

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In a New York medical malpractice lawsuit, the plaintiff has the burden of proof. This means that he or she must be able to produce appropriately convincing evidence that the defendant(s) violated the standard of care owed to the plaintiff and that this was the proximate cause of the damages for which the plaintiff seeks monetary compensation. Most medical malpractice lawsuits involve one or more motions for summary judgment – a legal vehicle through which the defendant(s) seeks dismissal of the case prior to trial. Sometimes such motions are granted or denied in their entirety, but the court may opt for a partial granting of summary judgment in some situations.

Facts of the Case

In a court opinion recently issued by the New York Appellate Division, First Department, the plaintiff was a woman who sued the defendants, a hospital and a medical doctor, for medical malpractice, alleging that the doctor had failed to properly interpret her decedent’s echocardiogram during a period beginning in late 2012 and ending in early 2013. The doctor filed a motion for summary judgment, seeking dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims against him and arguing that he was entitled to judgment as a matter of law. The Supreme Court of New York County denied summary judgment as to the doctor, and he appealed.

The Decision of the Court

The appeals tribunal reversed the lower court’s denial of summary judgment as to any claims of negligence alleged to have occurred prior to December 26, 2012, or after January 21, 2013. The court first noted that the plaintiff’s bill of particulars alleged that the doctor had been negligent in failing to properly interpret a particular echocardiogram on January 18, 2013, which the plaintiff alleged showed a more diluted aorta than seen on a prior echocardiogram taken in August 2011. The plaintiff had further alleged that the defendants’ negligent acts took place “from on or about December 26, 2012, through January 21, 2013, and prior or subsequent thereto.” However, the plaintiff’s expert’s opinion, submitted in opposition to the doctor’s motion for summary judgment, had opined that the doctor was also negligent in his interpretation of the 2011 echocardiogram.

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New York property owners have a duty to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition. When this does not happen, a New York premises liability lawsuit provides a legal remedy to the injured accident victim. Of course, not every slip and fall on another’s property will result in a favorable judgment for the injured person. There are many factors that must be considered. Some of these factors include the nature of the alleged defect, how long the defect had been present, and whether the landowner was aware of the defect and had time to correct it prior to the accident.

Facts of the Case

The plaintiff in a recent case was a woman who injured her shoulder when she her foot caught the lip of a raised concrete sidewalk slab while walking toward a diner in May 2016. The woman, joined in the suit by her husband, sought compensation for her injuries, alleging that the defendants, the owner of the diner and the owner of a nearby firehouse, were negligent and that this negligence was the cause of her injuries. Both defendants filed motions for summary judgment. The Supreme Court of Greene County denied the defendants’ motions, and they appealed, arguing that the alleged defect about which the plaintiff complained was trivial and, thus, not actionable under New York law.

Decision of the Court

The New York Appellate Division, Third Department, modified the trial court’s order by reversing the denial of the firehouse’s motion for summary judgment but affirming as to the part of the order denying the diner owner’s motion. The court began by acknowledging that trivial defects do not render a landowner liable for a guest’s injuries but noting that there is no “predetermined height differential” in a sidewalk or other walking area (such as the one upon which the plaintiff was injured) that automatically rendered a defect trivial or not trivial. Rather, courts must consider various factors, including width, depth, elevation, irregularity, and appearance of the accident location. The time, place, and circumstances of the plaintiff’s injury may also be considered by a reviewing court.

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