Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

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Those who have been hurt by a doctor, nurse, or hospital have a limited time in which to file a medical malpractice claim. Usually, claims not filed within this time period are dismissed by the court as untimely.

However, there are a limited number of circumstances in which a late-filed claim may be allowed. One such exception is referred to as the “relation-back” doctrine. A recent appellate case explored the applicability of the doctrine to a case in which additional defendants were added to an ongoing lawsuit after the expiration of the usual limitations period. If you or a loved one has been injured and you wonder if it is too late to file a claim, it is important that you speak with a Syracuse medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.

Facts of the Case

In a recent appellate case originating in the Supreme Court of Kings County, the plaintiff filed a wrongful death claim against a medical center and others following the death of the decedent in May 2009. Prior to her death, the decedent had been treated for abdominal pain in the defendant medical center on multiple occasions over a period of about one month. The plaintiff’s suit, which was filed in 2011, named the medical center and several individual healthcare providers as defendants. In 2014, the defendant medical center filed a third-party action against another provider who had become affiliated with a different facility, along with three other third-party defendants.

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Hopefully, everyone knows by now that there is a statute of limitations that places an outer limit on the time during which a Syracuse medical malpractice claim can be filed. While there are a few, very limited exceptions to this rule, most cases that are filed outside of this time period are dismissed by the court – no matter how egregious the conduct or how severe the injuries.

It is also important to note that there are many other deadlines that may apply in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, including the time for filing an answer if you happen to be the person or business against whom a claim is made. Again, while there are a few exceptions to the general rule regarding timeliness (of filing both a complaint and an answer thereto), but these are few and far between.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the plaintiff was the administrator of the estate of a man who allegedly suffered personal injuries while a resident at nursing home allegedly operated by the defendants. The plaintiff filed suit against the defendants, seeking to recover money damages. The defendants failed to answer the plaintiff’s complaint within the time allowed by law, so the plaintiff filed a motion for a default judgment pursuant to New York Consolidated Laws, Civil Practice Law and Rules § 3215. The defendants opposed the motion filed by the plaintiff and filed their own motion, cross-moving for an extension of time to file their answer.
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In a Syracuse medical malpractice case, there may be a single defendant, or there may be multiple defendants. It all depends upon the circumstances surrounding the alleged act of medical negligence.

For example, in a case in which an individual was injured or died in (or after having been in) a hospital or medical center, there may be allegations of negligence against the hospital, one or more doctors, several nurses, etc. It is not unusual for such a case to get “narrowed down” to only one or two defendants prior to trial – or at least prior to the case being submitted for the jury’s consideration.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the plaintiff was executor of the estate of a woman who died a few days after having hip replacement surgery. The plaintiff filed suit against the defendants, a medical center, a physician group, a nurse practitioner, and others, asserting a cause of action for medical malpractice and seeking monetary compensation for losses caused by the defendants’ alleged failure to provide proper medical treatment to the deceased in accordance with accepted standards of medical care.
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Syracuse malpractice cases are never easy. The defendants in these types of case rarely admit that any wrongdoing or negligence occurred; in the unlikely event that a doctor or hospital admits that a mistake was made, the defendant will likely insist that there was no harm caused by the error.

Not surprisingly, a defendant in a medical negligence case will take advantage of every “technicality” that may fall in his or her favor, including the possibility of getting a case dismissed due to an opponent’s failure to appear at a court conference. Unfortunately, it is difficult to get such dismissal reversed, and the plaintiff may very well lose the right to proceed to trial if such a ruling occurs.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case arising in the Supreme Court for Dutchess County, the plaintiff was a woman who sought compensation for the alleged medical malpractice of the defendant healthcare provider. A compliance conference was ordered by the trial court, but the plaintiff failed to appear. Thereafter, the trial court dismissed the plaintiff’s complaint due to her default pursuant to the provisions of the 22 NYCRR § 202.27. The plaintiff then filed a motion to vacate the trial court’s order and judgment under CPLR § 5015(a)(1), seeking to have her civil action against the defendant restored to active status. The trial court denied the plaintiff’s motion, and she appealed.
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In a Syracuse medical malpractice case, the plaintiff is usually the person who was the victim of a doctor or hospital’s negligence. However, sometimes an act of medical negligence is so severe that it results in a patient’s death.

In such a situation, there is still the possibility of a lawsuit against the responsible medical provider. However, the procedure is more complex than if the patient himself or herself was available to pursue monetary compensation.

Typically, it is the personal representative of the estate of the deceased medical negligence victim who brings suit in such a situation. This may or may not be a family member of the deceased individual (although any proceeds will likely go to the victim’s family members).

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Pursuing fair compensation for an act of medical negligence involves many steps. In addition to the filing of a Syracuse medical malpractice lawsuit, there is the discovery phase of litigation, which is typically followed by the filing of motions for dismissal by the allegedly negligent doctors or hospital.

If the case survives this step, the next phase is trial, followed (in many cases) by an appeal.

Because medical malpractice lawsuits can be very lengthy and time-consuming, it is important to that a person who has been hurt by a careless doctor or other medical provider contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible.

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Those who have suffered personal injuries or a loved one’s wrongful death have only a limited time in which to file a Syracuse medical malpractice lawsuit. This includes situations in which the victim of the alleged medical negligence is a minor child. If your family has been hurt by a doctor or hospital, an experienced medical malpractice attorney can help you get started on your case, but you must take the first step by setting up a consultation.

Facts of the Case

In a recent appeals court case, the plaintiffs were the parents of a minor child who allegedly suffered injuries during her birth at a city hospital owned and operated by the defendant. The plaintiffs sought to file suit in the Supreme Court, Bronx County, to seek for the child’s injuries via a motion for leave to file a late notice of claim. The defendant resisted the plaintiffs’ motion, urging the trial court to deny the relief sought by the plaintiffs. The trial granted the motion for leave, and the defendant appealed.

The Appeals Court’s Decision

The New York Supreme Court Appellate Division for First Department affirmed the lower court’s ruling. According to the appellate court, the lower tribunal’s decision to grant the plaintiffs leave to file a late notice of claim within the discretion of the trial court. Although the defendant pointed out that the plaintiffs have failed to set forth a “reasonable excuse” for their delay in filing a timely claim, the appellate court found that this was not fatal to the plaintiffs’ case under the circumstances. According to the court, the plaintiffs had met their burden by showing that the defendant was aware – and had actual knowledge – of the “essential facts constituting the claim” within the time period set forth under New York statutory law for the filing of claims such as the one at bar. Because the defendant had knowledge of these facts within the requisite time, it would not be prejudiced in defending the case on its merits.
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In a Syracuse medical malpractice case, the plaintiff has the burden of proving that he or she suffered personal injury as a proximate result of the defendant’s negligence.

Medical negligence cases are often filed against doctors, but they may also be filed against other healthcare providers, including hospitals and other facilities.

It is not unusual for the defendant in a medical negligence case to file what is called a “motion for summary judgment” in an attempt to have the trial court dismiss the claim against it on the basis that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. If a trial court grants summary judgment to the defendant, the plaintiff has the option of asking the appellate court to review that decision.

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About two out of five Americans take at least one prescription medication these days. While most of these medications are at least somewhat beneficial to the patient taking them, each comes with a list of possible side effects.

When a patient is admitted to a hospital, personnel should be careful to note all medications taken by the patient, including the dosage of these prescription drugs. Follow up with the patient’s family and/or pharmacy should also be made in many cases.

If this is not done and personal injury or wrongful death befalls the patient as a proximate result, the patient or his family may have a Syracuse medical malpractice or hospital malpractice claim.

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The plaintiff in a Syracuse medical malpractice case has the burden of proving each and every element of his or her case.

Oftentimes, the plaintiff must obtain much of the evidence of his or her claim from one or more of the defendants against whom he or she has filed suit.

Acknowledging that a defendant may have an incentive to hide or destroy evidence in order to avoid a finding of liability, New York law gives trial courts the authority to impose harsh sanctions for spoliation of evidence.

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