Articles Posted in Hospital Negligence

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It is frequently said that “time is of the essence” when it comes to medical malpractice lawsuits in New York, especially those involving governmental entities. While it is certainly true that Syracuse medical malpractice claims should be made in a timely fashion in order to have a reasonable chance of a successful outcome, there are, in a few, very limited circumstances, some exceptions to the general rule regarding the time period for filing suit.

However, these limitations are subject to judicial interpretation, and the case law concerning the rules allowing for an exception can evolve over time. This happened in a recent case, as set forth below.

It was unclear exactly when the alleged act of medical negligence took place, but the case had apparently been in litigation for many years. Had the plaintiff acted in a more timely fashion, it is possible that the matter would have been resolved much sooner.

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We depend heavily upon the expertise of doctors and hospital personnel to properly diagnose and treat our medical conditions, illnesses, and injuries. Most of the time, they do, and we are grateful for their help.

Sometimes, however, mistakes are made, and the patient suffers great physical harm, pain, and suffering as a result. Most hospitals and physicians carry medical malpractice insurance that covers them in such situations, if the injured person is able to make out a claim for medical malpractice.

However, proving negligence against a medical provider is not always easy. Medical experts must be retained, records must be reviewed, and various court proceedings are likely to ensue if the case is not settled early.

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One of the first considerations in filing a Syracuse medical malpractice lawsuit is the proper party or parties to name as defendants. Another important issue that may need to be addressed is the correct court for purposes of jurisdiction and/or venue.

When a defendant disagrees with the plaintiff’s choice of forum, he or she may seek a change of venue. Even if such a motion is not successful, the filing of such a motion can cause a delay in the plaintiff’s attempt to seek fair compensation.

If the motion is successful, the case may continue in another court. Unfortunately, that court may be less convenient or less desirable from the plaintiff’s perspective. A party who is dissatisfied with a trial court’s ruling on an issue of venue may have an option to seek appellate review prior to trial.

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A Syracuse hospital malpractice case may be based on one or several alleged breaches of the duty of care towards a patient. Failing to properly diagnose and treat an infection is one possible issue that could arise in such a case.

In order to prove negligence against a medical provider, the burden of proof rests on the plaintiff to establish, by expert proof, the duty of care that was applicable to the patient at the time in question. The plaintiff must also show that this duty was breached and that the breach of duty was the proximate cause of the injuries for which he or she seeks monetary compensation in the lawsuit at hand.

If the plaintiff is unable to produce competent and convincing medical expert testimony to support his or her theory of negligence, his or her case is likely to get dismissed on the defendant’s motion for summary judgment. In such a situation, the plaintiff’s case will not reach the jury, and he or she will receive $0 in compensation.

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Timeliness is of the essence in a Syracuse medical malpractice lawsuit. If a claim is not filed within the time allowed by law, it will eventually be dismissed by the courts, regardless of its merits.

Because of this, it is critically important that anyone who believes that they or a family member may have been hurt by the negligence of a doctor, nurse, hospital, or other medical provider seek timely legal advice about his or her case. An attorney experienced in these types of cases can provide the would-be plaintiff with important information about filing deadlines and other requirements.

An experienced malpractice attorney can also guide the plaintiff through the investigative phase of his or her case, helping secure medical records and consulting with potential expert witnesses who can testify on the plaintiff’s behalf at trial.

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In most types of civil lawsuits, including a Syracuse medical malpractice lawsuit, it is the plaintiff who has the burden of proof. This means that plaintiff must investigate and litigate the case in such a manner as to provide proof of the duty of care that applied under the circumstances, the manner in which that duty was breached, the plaintiff’s physical injuries and other damages, and proximate causation.

In medical malpractice cases, this typically includes expert testimony from one or more qualified expert witnesses. It is not enough to merely offer an expert’s general opinion on the subject matter of the case; the expert must be willing to testify in great specificity as to the negligence of the doctor, hospital, or other medical professional and how it affected the plaintiff.

Unless the plaintiff has an expert who is willing to testify at trial as to matters such as the standard of care and causation, his or her case will fail. Thus, it is crucial that a would-be medical malpractice litigant contact an attorney who is experienced in medical negligence cases and who will be able to consult an appropriate expert witness to review the case.

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Timely access to healthcare can sometimes be a “life or death” matter; if the patient does not get prompt medical attention, he or she will die or suffer great physical harm. More often, however, a brief delay in care will have a much less severe outcome on the patient’s health.

A recent case explored the differences in these types of situations, with the end result being that a case accusing a hospital with negligence due to a delay in treatment was dismissed. The patient in question did promptly receive surgery for his injuries but, due to a delay in payment authorization by an insurance company, had to wait before receiving outpatient therapeutic services in follow-up to his surgery.

It is unclear from the court’s opinion what damages the patient claimed due to the delay. Perhaps he believed that his ultimate outcome would have been better had he engaged in therapy sooner, or maybe he was aggrieved by what he perceived as additional discomfort, pain, and suffering caused by the delay. If you have questions regarding the circumstances surrounding a medical provider’s delayed treatment of an injury, it is important that you speak with a Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer promptly to determine whether you may file a claim for damages.

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There are a seemingly endless variety of ways in which a medical provider’s neglect and lack of concern for patient safety can lead to a Syracuse medical negligence case. In addition to cases involving a doctor’s failure to diagnose a serious illness within a reasonable amount of time or a surgeon’s neglect to obtain informed consent before performing a risky medical procedure, there are many other situations in which a patient can be hurt by an act of negligence committed by a hospital, doctor, or other healthcare worker.

Of course, results are seldom guaranteed in the medical field, and opinions can vary about what was, and what was not, negligence. Sometimes, it is up to the jury to makes these decisions, but courts can enter summary judgment on the issue in certain circumstances.

Because summary judgment effectively ends the plaintiff’s case, at least as to some claims, and/or some defendants, a court’s ruling on this matter is reviewable on appeal. The burden on appeal rests on the party seeking to disturb the lower court’s ruling; if the appellate tribunal is not convinced that a mistake was made, the trial court’s opinion will likely stand.

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Syracuse personal injury cases have many steps. Once an attorney has been contacted and an investigation has been made into the facts of the event giving rise to the litigation, the next step is to file a formal complaint in a court of law. After that, the case proceeds to the discovery phase.

Just as the name suggests, the discovery phase of litigation is the time during which each side is allowed an opportunity to learn more about his or her opponent’s case. Of course, there are limitations on the scope of such discovery, and disputes can arise regarding whether one party or the other has stepped over the line of what is acceptable.

The trial court controls the discovery phase of litigation, ruling upon the various motions of the litigants as the matter progresses. When a ruling is unfavorable, the affected party may be able to have the matter reviewed by a higher court (although, in some situations, the matter cannot be appealed until after the case has proceeded to a later phase of litigation, such as trial or disposition by summary judgment).

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One of the first questions that must be dealt with in a Syracuse medical malpractice case is that of jurisdiction. This is usually a fairly straightforward issue, as the plaintiff and his or her physicians or other attendant medical personnel typically all reside within the state in which the allegedly negligent medical treatment took place.

This is not always so, however. In such instances, there may be a plausible argument for jurisdiction in multiple states, or in multiple courts within a single state. Sometimes, the question is whether to file suit in state or federal court. An established medical malpractice lawyer can assist you in determining the best course of action if you or a loved one has been injured by a doctor or nurse’s mistake.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, arising in the Supreme Court, Kings County, the plaintiff was a woman who was involved in a New Jersey automobile accident in 2013. As a result of the wreck, the plaintiff was treated by various medical providers and was prescribed a certain medication. According to the woman’s complaint against several healthcare providers and drug manufacturers, she developed a condition known as “Stevens Johnson syndrome” as a result of the medication that she took following the car crash. The plaintiff’s prescription was allegedly filled in New York, although at least some of her medical care took place in New Jersey. She filed suit in 2014, seeking to recover money damages on several different legal theories, including medical malpractice, strict product liability, failure to warn, and breach of warranty.

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