Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

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Each Syracuse medical malpractice case rests on its own unique set of facts. In some cases, it is alleged that a doctor failed to make a proper medical diagnosis and that a patient was harmed or died as a result.

Other cases pertain to procedures that were allegedly carried out in a careless or negligent fashion. Sometimes, the mistake may be glaringly obvious, such as a situation in which the wrong body part was removed or medical tools were left inside a patient’s body cavity. In other cases, an expert witness must painstakingly explain the alleged error to the jury so that they can understand the applicable standard of care and the manner in which it was supposedly breached.

Another possible claim in a medical negligence case involves a lack of informed consent. Under New York law, a physician or other medical professional has certain duties to explain both the risks and benefits of a particular medical procedure to a patient prior to him or her agreeing to such treatment.

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A Syracuse medical malpractice claim can arise from many different situations. While the majority of such cases involve the care, diagnosis, and treatment of adults, medical negligence can also happen during the treatment of minors.

In addition to pediatric malpractice, birth injury malpractice claims against obstetricians and similar providers are fairly common. Such acts of negligence can include failure to properly monitor a mother or infant’s vital signs during labor and delivery, failure to diagnosis certain medical conditions in the mother and/or the baby, and failure to recognize that a particular birth may be more difficult than usual.

When an act of birth injury malpractice occurs, the parents, acting on both their own behalf and that of the minor child, have a right to file a claim asking a court to award fair compensation. During the pretrial phase of the case, it is likely that some (or all) of the defendants may seek dismissal of the case, arguing that there is a lack of proof regarding their alleged negligence.

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In a Syracuse professional negligence case seeking monetary compensation for injuries caused by alleged medical or dental malpractice, the plaintiff has the burden of proof at trial. This means that he or she must be able to convince the jury of his or her right to money damages by a preponderance of the evidence.

However, it is not unusual for a malpractice case to be dismissed before it gets to trial. This is often through a pre-trial litigation tool known as “summary judgment.” Part of the idea behind summary judgment is that a case that does not have at least enough proof to create a genuine issue of fact should not proceed to trial because it would be a waste of judicial resources.

In order to make it past a motion for summary judgment, the plaintiff must be able to offer a professional expert witness’s opinion as to the relevant matters in the case. Typically, this includes not only whether a deviation from the standard of care took place but also whether, if it did, the deviation was the proximate cause of the injuries about which the plaintiff complains in his or her pleadings to the court.

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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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Not every physician or healthcare provider is held to the same standard of care. For instance, in a Syracuse medical malpractice case, a doctor specializing in internal medicine is not necessarily expected to have the same knowledge or skill as one who works primarily in the field of physical therapy.

Thus, if a patient who is treated by both professionals is injured by an act of negligence, it is quite possible that a medical malpractice case will only reach trial as to one of the healthcare workers. It often comes down to a question of which specialist was responsible for the area of the body or the type of care that led to the harm about which the plaintiff complains.

Of course, there are some circumstances in which several different medical professionals could be potentially liable to a patient. Each case is unique and must be determined on its own particular facts.

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A patient can be the victim of medical negligence at any time in his or her life. Sometimes, nursing homes fail to meet the standard of care, and an elderly patient suffers as a result. At the other end of the spectrum, some Syracuse medical malpractice cases happen much earlier: during birth.

When a baby is harmed during labor and delivery, he or she may literally face a lifetime of medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress, disfigurement, and other issues. If these expenses are the result of a medical provider’s mistake, it is only fair that the provider contribute to the payment of such damages.

The amount of fair compensation that is due under such circumstances can be a matter of much contention. After a jury has made an award, it is not unusual for there to be an adjustment of the verdict by the trial court and/or the appellate tribunal if the amount awarded was not in line with the evidence presented at trial. Sometimes, the damages award is set aside, and a new trial is ordered.

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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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Syracuse medical malpractice cases often come down to a “battle of the experts.” The case begins with the plaintiff’s medical professional witness testifying that the defendant failed to follow the standard of care and, as a result, harmed the patient.

The defendant then puts his or her own expert witness on the stand, and a very different opinion is given. The jury, as the finder of fact, has to resolve the conflicting testimony.

Sometimes, however, the case doesn’t make it that far. Via a process called “summary judgment,” the trial court may decide that the expert opinion offered by the plaintiff is not sufficient to get the case in front of a jury.

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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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