Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

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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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Negligence cases, including Syracuse medical malpractice claims, often come down to one or two basic issues. Did the defendant breach a standard of care owed to the plaintiff? Was this the proximate cause of the harm that he or she complains about in the lawsuit?

Proving fault in professional negligence cases usually involves the testimony of one or more expert witnesses. One or both parties may seek an early resolution of the case through a pre-trial procedure known as “summary judgment,” but this is only appropriate when there are no genuine issues of material fact.

When factual issues must be resolved, the case should go to the jury, rather than be resolved by the judge without the plaintiff having his or her day in court. This is also true when the parties’ respective expert witnesses starkly disagree about the duty that was owed by the defendant to the plaintiff, whether this duty was breached, and/or whether such breach of duty was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s damages.

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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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Perhaps the most important thing that a patient should know about a Syracuse medical malpractice case is that, if something goes wrong and he or she feels the need to sue a medical provider for negligence, it is the patient who bears the burden of proof. This is true even though the doctor was the professional, and the patient was the layperson.

In order to prove his or her case, the plaintiff will need to obtain his or her medical records, have another medical professional review them, and have that expert witness testify at trial as to the mistakes that were made and how they affected the plaintiff. This is a difficult task and one that almost always requires the help of legal counsel.

An attorney who regularly practices in this area of the law can guide the injured person through an investigation of his or her claim, help the patient secure the necessary records, and work with potential expert witnesses to build the plaintiff’s case. This can be a protracted process, so it is important that a person who has been hurt by an act of medical negligence seek counsel right away.

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When a Syracuse medical malpractice case is tried to a jury, one party or the other will likely be unhappy with the jury’s verdict. After all, if the parties were in agreement about the issues of the case, there likely would have been a settlement rather than a trial.

The party who comes out on the losing end of the case has the right to seek appellate review of the trial court’s decision. Of course, winning an appeal is not an easy task.

Much deference is to be given to the jury’s verdict. Only when a reversible error is made in the court below may the jury’s verdict or the trial court’s entry of judgment thereon be disturbed on appeal.

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Most people have heard of statutes of limitation. These important rules govern the time for filing a claim for some type of wrong, such as a Syracuse medical malpractice suit. If the claim is not timely filed, most likely the injured party will never have his or her day in court.

It is important to note that statutes of limitation are general guidelines and that, sometimes, there are other deadlines that may also apply. Unfortunately, these other procedural rules almost always shorten – not lengthen – the time for taking action.

One area in which deadlines are extremely important is cases involving the government or a governmental entity. In medical malpractice cases, this entity may be a public hospital corporation, such as those that own some of the larger hospitals in the state. Unless all procedural matters are taken care of within the time allowed by law, the plaintiff may forfeit his or her legal rights to seek compensation following an act of medical negligence.

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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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Under New York law, there are many different types of professional malpractice. For instance, a Syracuse medical malpractice case may assert that a doctor or hospital failed to follow the standard of care for a surgical procedure, or the issue may pertain to an allegedly inaccurate diagnosis or failure to diagnosis.

Cardiologists, chiropractors, dermatologists, and even dentists may find themselves as defendants in professional negligence lawsuits. The burden of proof rests with the plaintiff (the patient or his or her family, if they patient died or was rendered legally incompetent due to the alleged negligence), which means that he or she must be able to provide competent evidence as to the four elements of negligence: duty, breach of duty, damages, and causation.

Malpractice cases are often highly technical legal proceedings, requiring a number of expert witnesses and knowledge of the many statutes, case law holdings, and procedural rules applicable to such matters. It is, thus, very important that the plaintiffs in such cases retain an attorney to assist them in their endeavors.

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