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New York Medical Malpractice Facts

Did you recently learn that you suffered serious harm after visiting your doctor for a diagnosis or after scheduling a surgery? Did a pharmacist fill the wrong prescription? Did a laboratory get your results wrong? Did you receive a delayed cancer diagnosis that led to additional harm? If you answered yes to these questions or ones like them, then you may be able to file a New York medical malpractice lawsuit.

Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyers

At Powers & Santola, LLP, our dedicated medical malpractice attorneys are committed to helping those who have suffered harm due to the negligence of health care providers. Given our extensive experience with medical malpractice cases, we know that many misconceptions about these claims exist and, in turn, confuse injury victims.

To help you to understand the difference between fact and fiction when it comes to filing a New York medical malpractice claim and seeking compensation for your losses, we list the following important facts that everyone should know about medical negligence in New York.

Please note: Determining whether medical negligence occurred in a specific case can be a highly complex undertaking. In order to determine whether you have a medical malpractice claim, you should always consult with a knowledgeable attorney who has experience in this area of the law.

Fact #1

Medical Malpractice and Medical Negligence Both Refer to a Healthcare Provider’s Failure to Provide Proper Patient Care

You might have heard the terms “medical malpractice” and “medical negligence” used interchangeably. Some New Yorkers are under the impression that these two phrases refer to different types of legal cases. However, both medical malpractice and medical negligence refer to scenarios in which a healthcare provider owed a patient a duty of care and breached that duty by failing to provide proper care.

Fact #2

Every Patient Injury Is Not Necessarily a Result of Medical Malpractice

Some New York residents believe that all healthcare-related injuries must be the product of medical malpractice. This is not the case. Patients assume risks for certain types of procedures, and patients can suffer injuries even when a physician follows all proper protocols and takes particularly good care of the patient.

To better understand this fact, consider the basic elements of a medical malpractice claim in New York. In order to establish a claim, a patient must show:

  • The patient was under a health care provider’s care, and thus, the health care provider owed the patient a duty of care.
  • The health care provider failed to act in a manner, or to provide the level of care, that a provider in his or her specialty field would consider appropriate. (In other words, the healthcare provider breached the duty of care owed to a patient.)
  • The patient suffered an injury or illness, or an existing condition worsened, due to the healthcare provider’s negligence.

Generally speaking, when a health care provider behaves in a manner that is considered to be appropriate in that field, then a patient’s resulting injuries may not be the result of negligence. If a doctor was negligent, however, a New York medical malpractice lawyer can get started on your case today. Even if you are not sure, an experienced advocate can assess the facts of your case and can help you to decide how to move forward.

Fact #3

Medical Malpractice Claims Can Hold Physicians, Nurses, Hospitals, Pharmacists, Laboratories and Even Dentists Liable for Injuries

When a health care provider’s negligence causes injuries, the patient may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit regardless of the healthcare provider’s field. A patient can bring a claim against many different parties, including but not limited to:

  • Primary care doctors
  • Surgeons
  • Anesthesiologists
  • Nurses
  • Physicians assistants
  • Hospitals
  • Laboratories
  • Pharmacists
  • Dentists
  • Psychologists.

However, in some cases, a patient suffers harm due to a defective medical device or pharmaceutical product. The patient may have the right to bring a product liability claim against the manufacturer. This legal action would be very different from a medical malpractice claim.

Fact #4

Many Different Types of Medical Malpractice Cases Exist

Many different kinds of acts or omissions by health care providers can lead to a medical malpractice lawsuit, including but not limited to:

  • Failing to diagnose a cancer or another dangerous or life-threatening condition, which results in that illness worsening
  • Prescribing the wrong medication or incorrect dosage for a condition
  • Failing to check a patient’s medication record and prescribing a drug that causes harmful interactions with the patient’s current medications
  • Operating on the wrong patient
  • Performing the wrong operation on the patient
  • Leaving a sponge or other object in the patient’s body during surgery
  • Failing to properly monitor a patient after surgery or after a particular diagnosis
  • Causing a child to suffer birth injuries during labor and delivery
  • Filling the wrong type or giving the wrong amount of a prescription medication
  • Administering an improper amount of anesthesia during surgery
  • Failing to inform a patient about specific risks in a medical procedure or surgery.

A medical malpractice case might arise out of other situations. For this reason, it is always better to consult with an attorney than to refrain from taking any action. Generally, the statute of limitations in New York for a medical malpractice claim is 2 ½ years from the date of the malpractice. So, you should consult with an attorney as early as possible in order to avoid missing that important deadline.

Fact #5

More Medical Malpractice Payouts Occur in New York than in the Other States

The Washington Post recently reported that New York leads the nation in medical malpractice payouts. In 2014 alone, New York medical negligence payouts totaled around $690 million, and per capita payouts average about $39 per New York resident, the newspaper states. According to the National Practitioner Data Bank, nearly 14 percent of all medical malpractice payment reports in the country come out of New York. As these statistics indicate, relief is available to patients and families in our state whose lives are affected by medical malpractice.

Fact #6

New York Has No Cap on Non-Economic Damages in Medical Malpractice Cases

Because New York does not place a cap on non-economic damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit, the state’s payouts for these claims may be higher than in other parts of the country.

Remember: Plaintiffs in medical malpractice lawsuits in New York typically can be eligible for two types of compensatory damages:

  • Economic damages, which compensate a patient for objective financial losses such as medical expenses and lost wages
  • Non-economic damages, which compensate a plaintiff for more subjective, intangible losses like pain and suffering.

The dedicated team of medical malpractice lawyers at Powers & Santola, LLP, can discuss your options with you today for seeking financial compensation. We can also review the types of damages that may be available to you.

Contact a New York Medical Malpractice Lawyer

If you recently suffered serious harm or discovered an injury caused by a health care provider’s negligence, you should learn more about filing a claim by speaking with a medical malpractice lawyer in New York as soon as possible. It is important to file your claim in a timely manner in order to avoid losing your right to file a lawsuit altogether. Contact Powers & Santola, LLP,  for more information about how we can assist with your medical negligence case.

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