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Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

People that suffer losses due to medical malpractice have the right to pursue claims against the healthcare providers responsible for their harm. They must file any claims within the applicable statute of limitations, though; otherwise, they might waive the right to recover damages. While the courts strictly construe statutes of limitations, when a cause of action begins to accrue will vary depending on the facts of the case. Recently, a New York court discussed the statute of limitations imposed on a plaintiff pursuing medical malpractice and wrongful death claims in a case in which the plaintiff sought reversal of the dismissal of her claims. If you suffered harm because of the negligence of a doctor, it is in your best interest to meet with a Syracuse medical malpractice attorney to determine your possible claims.

Procedural Background of the Case

It is alleged that the decedent died of liver cancer in 2013. Prior to his death, he treated with the defendant primary care physician, the defendant oncologist, and the defendant radiologist. Slightly less than two years after the decedent’s death, the plaintiff commenced a lawsuit against the defendants, asserting wrongful death and medical malpractice claims. Following discovery, the defendants each moved for dismissal via summary judgment on the grounds that the claims against them were barred by the applicable statute of limitations. The trial court granted the motions and the plaintiff appealed.

Statutes of Limitations for Medical Malpractice and Wrongful Death Claims

On appeal, the court affirmed the trial court ruling as to the plaintiff’s medical malpractice claims but reversed it with regard to the wrongful death claims. The court explained that pursuant to New York law, medical malpractice claims must be brought within two years and six months of the harmful act or omission, or if there is continuous treatment for an injury or illness, within two years and six months of the last treatment. Continue Reading ›

The COVID-19 pandemic altered many aspects of everyday life, including the manner in which medical malpractice cases are litigated. Specifically, among other things, it generally increased the length of time parties had to pursue claims against negligent medical professionals. In a recent opinion issued in a medical malpractice case, a New York court clarified that the executive orders issued by the Governor during the pandemic tolled, rather than suspended, the statute of limitations. If you sustained losses because of a doctor’s carelessness, it is wise to confer with a Syracuse medical malpractice attorney to evaluate your possible causes of action.

The Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the decedent underwent treatment with the defendants in May 2018. The opinion did not elaborate on the nature of the decedent’s health concerns; regardless, the decedent passed away in September 2018 due to complications associated with her care. The plaintiff commenced a medical malpractice action against the defendant in November 2020 and served an amended complaint naming additional parties that treated the plaintiff as defendants in February 2021.

It is reported that the defendants named in the February 2021 complaint moved for dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims on the grounds that they were barred by the applicable statute of limitations. The trial court denied the motion and the defendant appealed. Continue Reading ›

Defendants in New York medical malpractice cases will often not only deny liability but will also assert that the evidence so clearly demonstrates their lack of fault that they should be granted judgment in their favor as a matter of law. A defendant seeking summary judgment in a medical malpractice case faces a high burden of proof, however, as demonstrated in a recent opinion issued by a New York court. If you sustained injuries due to the recklessness of a physician, you should contact a Syracuse medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to discuss what you must prove to recover damages.

Procedural History of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff commenced a lawsuit against the defendants, asserting lack of informed consent, medical malpractice, and wrongful death claims arising out of the treatment and care of her deceased father. Specifically, she alleged that their failure to diagnose his lung cancer in a timely manner caused his premature demise. The defendants each moved for summary judgment; the plaintiff opposed their motions and submitted redacted expert affirmations in support of her opposition.

If you have suffered injuries or lost a loved one due to the negligence of a healthcare provider, you should know that you have a limited amount of time to file a claim seeking money damages from the responsible individual, group, or hospital. This time period is referred to as the “statute of limitations” or “limitations period.”

Calculating the exact deadline for filing a Syracuse medical malpractice claim (or, for that matter, a wrongful death or personal injury claim) can be tricky, so it is important to talk to a lawyer about your case as soon as possible. An attorney knowledgeable in negligence law can help make sure your claim is timely filed after talking with you about the details of your case.

Each case is unique when it comes to the statute of limitations because, while there are general guidelines about timeliness, there are also situations in which a filing period can be shortened or extended. It is, thus, imperative that you can legal advice about your case as soon as you can. Cases not filed in a timely manner are likely to be dismissed, with the plaintiff receiving nothing for his or her injuries or loved one’s wrongful death.

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A delayed cancer diagnosis can be very costly to a patient. Lost time can greatly impact a patient’s treatment options and ultimate chance of recovery.

When this happens, the patient or his or her family may have the option of filing a Syracuse medical malpractice lawsuit against the physician whose negligence caused the delay. In some instances, multiple medical providers may be held accountable for the patient’s damages.

In oncology malpractice cases, as in other types of medical malpractice lawsuits, it is the plaintiff who has the burden of proof at trial. This requires expert testimony in most cases, usually from a doctor in the same specialty (or, sometimes, in a similar field) as the allegedly negligent medical provider.

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In a Syracuse motorcycle accident negligence lawsuit, the premise is simple: the defendant should be held legally liable to the person or family who was hurt by his, her, or its failure to act in a reasonably prudent manner. Four elements are required in order to prove negligence: duty, breach of duty, damages, and proximate cause.

In a car, truck , or motorcycle accident case, the defendant is usually averred to have breached a duty by failing to operate his or her vehicle as required by law. Speeding, distracted driving, and failure to yield are common examples of these types of claims. Sometimes, however, liability can arise in other situations.

Regardless of who is named as the defendant in a negligence lawsuit, the basic issue is, did the defendant conduct arise to a level that was unreasonable (or illegal) under the circumstances? If so, he or she can potentially be held liable for the damages incurred by the injured party or his or her family.

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In a Syracuse product liability lawsuit, the plaintiff may have multiple theories of liability – design defect, failure to warn, negligence, etc. Because several different entities in the supply chain may be held liable, these types of cases may have multiple defendants, as well.

Often, one or more defendants will seek to have the case dismissed as to them. Depending upon how the court rules on these motions, the case may proceed to trial against a single defendant or multiple defendants, or it may be dismissed entirely. The testimony of expert witnesses is often crucial in these cases, as the plaintiff must be able to show that there is enough evidence for the case to proceed to trial.

Facts of the Case

The plaintiffs in a recent case were a man who was allegedly pinned and crushed due to a malfunctioning remote control device that was used to operate a boom crane. The plaintiff, joined by his wife, filed suit against several entities that they believed were responsible for the manufacturing, distribution, and sale of the device, asserting claims for strict liability and breach of warranty. After the man died in 2016, his wife continued the action both individually and as the administratrix of his estate, adding wrongful death and conscious pain and suffering causes of actions.

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In most Syracuse medical malpractice cases, one or more healthcare provider defendants will file what is known as a “motion for summary judgment.” This procedural device may sound harmless enough, but it is often deadly to the plaintiff’s pursuit of fair compensation for an act of medical negligence.

Summary judgment can effectively end a plaintiff’s case as to certain defendants, certain claims, or in its entirety. When a trial court grants such a motion, the court is basically telling the plaintiff that, even if everything he or she says is true, there is no genuine issue of material fact in his or her case and the defendant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fortunately, there is an appellate process for reviewing a trial court’s granting of summary judgment. Many such appeals are successful, giving the plaintiff’s a second chance to have his or her case proceed to a trial on the merits.

Facts of the Case

In a case arising in the Supreme Court of Erie County, the plaintiff was the administratrix of the estate of a man who died from acute respiratory failure following a hypoxic brain injury that occurred as a result of an emergency tracheostomy that was performed when the man returned to the defendant medical center after he had been dismissed earlier in the day when the defendant anesthesiologist and a nurse (who was employed by the medical center) failed in their attempts to intubate the man in preparation for surgery on his shoulder.

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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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