When you undergo surgery, your doctor should inform you of the risks associated with it. Some of these risks include unanticipated reactions to anesthesia, infections, healing complications, and blood clots. However, you do not expect your surgeon to make a mistake or to depart from what is considered acceptable and reasonable practice during surgery. If you were injured as a result of a surgical error, therefore, the Syracuse surgical malpractice lawyers at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP may be able to represent you in a lawsuit for damages.Bringing a Lawsuit Based on a Surgical Error
Surgical errors can be obvious. For example, an instrument, sponge, or other tool being left inside you during surgery is an obvious error. Operating on the wrong body part or letting a patient fall off the table during a surgery is also an obvious error. However, there are many mistakes that only an expert can spot. For example, some patients, due to their history, may not be good candidates for a particular surgery. In some cases, there is poor planning prior to the operation, a mistake in how the procedure is performed, a mistake in providing anesthesia, an incorrect incision, or a failure to prevent or treat an infection.
When a surgeon's care and skill fall below the standard of care that other similar surgeons in the same geographic area follow when faced with a similar situation or patient, and the result is an injury such as nerve damage, perforation of internal organs, hemorrhaging, ureteral injuries, loss of range of motion, paralysis, loss of sensation, or death, it is likely that the patient has a viable claim.
You will need to prove that the surgeon owed you a professional duty of care and show what the standard of care in the situation was, a breach of the standard, causation, and actual injuries. In most cases, a surgical malpractice attorney in Syracuse will need to retain an expert to provide testimony on what the professional standard of care was, how it was breached, and how the breach caused the harm that you suffered.
Damages that may be recovered through a successful claim vary. They can include economic damages for expenses associated with additional surgeries, hospitalization, lost wages, and medication. Noneconomic damages, which are damages to compensate for intangible and emotional harms, may also be recovered. These can include loss of consortium, mental anguish, scarring, disability, and pain and suffering that arose from a surgical error.
In some cases, more than one person or entity bears responsibility for the harm that arises from a surgical error. In New York, courts follow a modified joint and several liability rule. Individual doctors and the hospitals where they work often can be held jointly and severally liable for economic damages. This means that you can collect the full amount of economic damages from any defendant who is at fault. However, a defendant can only be held proportionately responsible for noneconomic damages based on their percentage of fault, unless they are found to be over 50% at fault for the injuries. If they are more than 50% responsible, they are jointly liable for the total damages award. A Syracuse surgical malpractice attorney can help you sue all of the appropriate parties in your case.
Each state has its own statutes of limitations for different types of lawsuits. These statutes of limitations set restrictions on how long you can wait before suing someone to collect damages for negligent conduct. If you were injured as a result of a surgical error, you generally have 2½ years from the surgery to sue. However, there are different statutes of limitations in some cases. For example, if you were injured because a surgeon left a sponge or another foreign object in your body, you need to file your lawsuit within one year of the date that the item was found or should have been found, whichever is earlier.Consult a Surgical Malpractice Lawyer in Syracuse or the Surrounding Communities
If you suffered injuries because of a surgical error by an oncologist, orthopedist, podiatrist, urologist, or other medical professional, our law firm may be able to help you recover damages. We also represent injured people in communities such as Rochester, Binghamton, Auburn, Elmira, Norwich, Cortland, Delhi, Herkimer, Watertown, Lowville, Oneida, Wampsville, Utica, Canandaigua, Oswego, Cooperstown, Ithaca, Lyons, and all of Upstate New York. Call us at 315-479-9000 or contact us via our online form for an appointment.