Serving Clients Throughout Upstate New York with Multiple Convenient Locations
Published on:

New York Court Examines the Continuous Treatment Doctrine

People harmed by negligent medical care have the right to pursue medical malpractice claims against their providers, but they must act promptly; otherwise, their claims may be dismissed as untimely. Specifically, under New York law, medical malpractice lawsuits must be filed within two years and six months of the date of the alleged harm. Certain exceptions may apply, though, like the continuous treatment doctrine, that allow for the tolling of the statute of limitations. Recently, a New York court discussed the continuous treatment doctrine in a case in which it denied the defendant’s motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims as untimely. If you suffered harm because of a doctor’s incompetence, it is wise to talk to a Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible to determine what claims you may be able to pursue.

The Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff presented to the defendant institute in October 2007 for assessment of head and neck pain. The defendant’s doctors diagnosed her with numerous disorders and recommended that she receive treatment at the defendant hospital. She subsequently underwent five surgical procedures at the defendant hospital between May 2008 and November 2012.

Reportedly, the plaintiff was misdiagnosed, and the surgeries were unnecessary. As such, she filed a lawsuit against the defendants, asserting medical malpractice and lack of informed consent claims. After the parties conducted discovery, the defendants moved for summary judgment on the grounds that the plaintiff’s claims were untimely. The trial court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

The Continuous Treatment Doctrine

On appeal, the court found that the trial court erred in granting the defendant’s motion. The court explained that medical malpractice and lack of informed consent claims must be filed within two years and six months of the act complained of, or of the last date of treatment, where there is continuous care for the same illness or condition that gave rise to the negligent behavior.

A defendant seeking dismissal on a complaint on the grounds that it is time-barred bears the burden of proving, prima facie, that the time in which the plaintiff had to pursue the claim has expired. If the defendant meets this burden, the plaintiff must then show that a question of fact exists as to whether the continuous treatment doctrine applies to toll the statute of limitations.

In the subject case, the court stated that the defendants met their burden of proof with regard to the statute of limitations. In response, however, the plaintiff demonstrated that a triable issue of fact existed as to whether the continuous treatment doctrine applied. Thus, the court reversed the trial court ruling.

Meet with a Skillful Syracuse Medical Malpractice Attorney

People injured by missed or inaccurate diagnoses may be able to pursue damages in medical malpractice lawsuits, but if they delay taking action, they may waive the right to recover compensation. If you were hurt by the incompetence of your physician, it is wise to meet with an attorney to assess your options. The skillful Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers are proficient at handling complex claims against negligent healthcare providers, and if you hire us, we will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can contact us by using our form online or by calling us at 833-247-8427 to set up a meeting.

Contact Information