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New York Court Discusses Statutes of Limitations for Medical Malpractice and Wrongful Death Claims

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.

Under the continuous treatment doctrine, the statute of limitations does not begin to run until treatment ends if the patient sought and received treatment from the defendant during the relevant time frame, the treatment was for the condition underlying the subject claims, and it is continuous. Here, the court found that more than two and a half years had elapsed from the date of the decedent’s last treatment with the defendant and the institution of the medical malpractice claims.

Thus, the continuous treatment did not operate to extend the statute of limitations. The court noted, though, that the wrongful death claims were filed within two years of the date of the decedent’s death. As such, the claim was not time-barred.

Talk to an Experienced Syracuse Medical Malpractice Attorney

Inadequate medical care can cause grave harm that, tragically, is often fatal. If you sustained injuries or lost a loved one due to the recklessness of a doctor, it is smart to talk to an attorney about whether you may be able to recover damages via a medical malpractice claim. The experienced Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers can assess the circumstances surrounding your losses and gather the evidence needed to provide you with a strong chance of a favorable outcome. You can reach us by using our form online or by calling us at 833-200-2000 to set up a consultation.

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