The federal government and its employees have sovereign immunity against tort claims, but the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) waives such immunity in certain cases. Among other things, the FTCA allows people harmed by negligent care in a federally funded medical facility to seek damages through medical malpractice claims. The FTCA imposes certain requirements that must be met prior to pursuing such claims, however, and if they are not upheld, the injured party may be prohibited from recovering compensation. For example, in a recent opinion issued by a New York court, the plaintiff’s medical malpractice claims were deemed time-barred due to her failure to comply with the notice requirements under the FTCA. If you suffered harm due to the incompetence of a doctor, it is in your best interest to contact a Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer to discuss your rights.
The Facts of the Case
Reportedly, a doctor treated the plaintiff at two different federally funded New York facilities in August 2017. The plaintiff’s care included a surgical procedure that she asserted the defendant performed negligently, causing her to develop an infection, wound disruption, scarring, infertility, and other personal injuries. Thus, the plaintiff proceeded to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the federal government pursuant to the FTCA, in which she asserted that the treating doctor was its employee and that her negligence caused the plaintiff harm. The defendant moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims arguing, among other things, that they were time-barred.
Notice Requirements in Medical Malpractice Cases Arising Under the FTCA
The court agreed with the defendant and granted its motion to dismiss. In doing so, it explained that the FTCA prohibits tort claims against the federal government unless they are presented, in writing, to the appropriate federal agency within two years of when the claim accrues or unless a lawsuit is begun within six months of when such agency mails a notice of final denial of the claim.
The court went on to note that the FTCA demands that claims that are time-barred are dismissed with prejudice. As the time bars are not jurisdictional, however, they are subject to equitable tolling. In the subject case, the plaintiff neglected to file her lawsuit against the defendant within six months of when she received a denial of her claim from the appropriate federal agency, and her reasons for the delay did not provide a basis for equitable tolling. As such, it dismissed her claims.
Confer with a Skilled Syracuse Medical Malpractice Attorney
There are time constraints within which people harmed by medical malpractice must pursue their claims, and such limitations are strictly construed. If you were hurt by the carelessness of a doctor, you should confer with an attorney to evaluate what damages you may be owed. The skilled Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers possess the knowledge and resources needed to help you seek a favorable outcome, and if you hire us, we will advocate tirelessly on your behalf. You can reach us through our form online or by calling us at 833-200-2000 to set up a meeting.