Timeliness is of the essence in a Syracuse medical malpractice lawsuit. If a claim is not filed within the time allowed by law, it will eventually be dismissed by the courts, regardless of its merits.
Because of this, it is critically important that anyone who believes that they or a family member may have been hurt by the negligence of a doctor, nurse, hospital, or other medical provider seek timely legal advice about his or her case. An attorney experienced in these types of cases can provide the would-be plaintiff with important information about filing deadlines and other requirements.
An experienced malpractice attorney can also guide the plaintiff through the investigative phase of his or her case, helping secure medical records and consulting with potential expert witnesses who can testify on the plaintiff’s behalf at trial.
Facts of the Case
In a recently decided appellate court case that arose in the Supreme Court of Rockland County, the plaintiff was a woman who was allegedly misdiagnosed with leptomeningeal carcinomatosis disease (a rare, usually terminal complication of cancer) in late 2013 and placed on hospice care until the mistake was discovered some three months later. According to the plaintiff, her misdiagnosis was the result of the negligence of the defendant hospital and the defendant doctor, both of whom she named in her medical malpractice lawsuit along with the hospice provider.
On separate motions of the three defendants, the trial court dismissed the plaintiff’s case as time-barred.
Decision of the Court
The Supreme Court of the State of New York Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department, affirmed the lower court’s entry of dismissal as to the doctor and the hospice provider but reversed the dismissal of the plaintiff’s claim against the hospital. The court began by pointing out that the plaintiff’s original lawsuit, which was filed within one year of the alleged act of medical negligence, was against the hospital only; the doctor and the hospice provider were not added as defendants until the plaintiff amended her complaint nearly three years after the date of her initial misdiagnosis.
In the reviewing court’s view, the plaintiff’s suit against the hospital was timely filed, and thus the lower court had been in error to dismiss this portion of the plaintiff’s case as time-barred. As to the other claims, however, the reviewing court pointed out that the plaintiff had failed to raise a question of fact as to whether she had continued to seek treatment for her alleged condition from either the doctor or the hospice provider (which could potentially have extended the plaintiff’s time for filing suit). In the absence of a genuine issue of material fact concerning the timeliness of the plaintiff’s claims against these two defendants, the trial court had acted properly in granted these defendants’ motions to dismiss.
Consult a Lawyer About a Medical Malpractice Action in Syracuse
Medical professionals make mistakes. When they do, those who are hurt have a legal right to seek money damages in a court of law. However, the procedure for filing a hospital negligence or medical malpractice lawsuit is best handled by an experienced attorney who is familiar with the procedural requirements, filing deadlines, and other rules pertaining to such cases. To speak to someone about a claim that you may have against a New York doctor or other medical provider, call the attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP at 315-479-9000 as soon as possible. As the preceding case illustrates, cases not timely filed are subject to dismissal, so please do not delay in seeking legal advice about your case.