A Medical Malpractice Lawyer in New York Explains the Medical Malpractice Claim Process

A Medical Malpractice Lawyer in New York Explains the Medical Malpractice Claim Process

The human body is complicated, which is why nurses and doctors must undergo extensive training before they can work in the medical field. Unfortunately, despite all the years of education, things still sometimes go wrong. A study by Johns Hopkins says medical errors kill 250,000 people a year in the United States, making it the third leading cause of death. 

medical malpractice lawyer in New York can help you understand your legal options if you sustained a serious injury from a medical error. This post covers the basics of medical malpractice claims in New York. 

What Is Medical Malpractice?

Medical negligence occurs when your doctor, nurse, or other medical professional fails to provide you with the appropriate care. What determines the appropriate care? Medical professionals must provide care at the same level as another reasonably competent medical professional would provide under the same circumstances. If they don’t, they may be negligent.

People make mistakes every day, and that includes medical professionals. Fortunately, not all of them cause serious harm. For example, if a doctor gives you too little medicine or fails to diagnose your flu, they may be negligent, but it doesn’t necessarily rise to the level of malpractice. To make a successful claim for medical malpractice, you must have suffered harm due to this negligence.

What Types of Medical Malpractice Happen?

Medical malpractice claims arise due to medical errors like the following:

  • Misdiagnosis – Mistaking the symptoms of one disorder for another, such as diagnosing a patient with pneumonia when they have lung cancer
  • Failure to diagnose (or delay of diagnosis)  Missing the signs of a condition, such as a stroke or an impending heart attack
  • Medication errors – Prescribing defective pharmaceuticals, giving the incorrect amount of medication, administering drugs improperly, or making mistakes when administering anesthesia
  • Surgical mistakes – Operating on the wrong body part, injuring nearby structures during surgery, or leaving a surgical instrument inside of a patient
  • Failure to treat – Discharging a patient too early, not providing the necessary referrals or follow-up care, or having too many patients to attend to each one adequately
  • Birth injuries – Improper use of instruments, delayed delivery, or failure to prevent fetal distress (such as a lack of oxygen)
  • Other errors – Misreading or ignoring laboratory results, performing unnecessary surgery, failing to adequately monitor a patient, neglecting to receive informed consent, or giving the incorrect treatment

While any professional can act negligently, malpractice claims arise more often in certain areas of medicine. For example, the American Medical Association (AMA) found that most general surgeons (59.3%) and OB-GYNs (62%) had faced lawsuits in their careers, compared to only 7% of allergists/immunologists and 8% of hematologists/oncologists. 

How Do I Prove Medical Malpractice?

To win a malpractice claim, you must prove the following elements:

1. A Doctor-Patient Relationship Existed

You must show that the healthcare provider or facility owed a duty or obligation to you. Medical records make it fairly easy to prove a provider-patient relationship exists between you and the nurses, doctors, and others involved in your care.

2. The Healthcare Provider Acted Negligently

This is a key element in any medical malpractice suit. Because a court will judge a medical professional’s actions on the recognized standard of care, you often need testimony from industry insiders to show what that standard was and how the care you received failed to meet that standard. 

3. The Medical Negligence Directly Caused You Harm 

Just because a medical provider acted negligently doesn’t necessarily mean they were responsible for your injury. The next step in malpractice claims is proving this link. Because medical conditions have many potential causes and varying complications, this stage can be challenging and often requires the testimony of qualified medical consultants. 

4. You Suffered Damages Due to the Injury

The last step in a medical malpractice case is proving the injury caused you to suffer damages. In legal terminology, “damages” refer to losses for which you can seek compensation. Damages in a medical malpractice claim can include the following:

  • Costs of additional medical treatments due to the injury
  • Lost wages from missed time at work
  • Loss of future earning capacity 
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Permanent injury and disability 
  • Physical pain and suffering 
  • Psychological distress and loss of enjoyment

If medical malpractice caused the death of a loved one, you can sue for these damages:

  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Medical expenses to treat the victim
  • Pain and suffering of the deceased
  • Loss of future income and benefits (healthcare, inheritance, retirement)
  • Emotional losses, including affection, companionship, and marital consortium

Why Do I Need a New York Medical Malpractice Lawyer?

New York Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Medical malpractice lawsuits are complex and provide unique challenges. A qualified medical malpractice lawyer in New York can do the following:

  • Keep track of the statute of limitations (the deadline to file your claim)
  • Understand the new discovery rule for medical malpractice cases
  • Gather evidence, including medical records and witness statements
  • File all the required paperwork
  • Keep you informed of your legal rights
  • Represent you if your case goes to trial

Contact an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney in New York

If you sustained an injury due to a medical error, reach out to the experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Ross & Hill. We can help you understand medical malpractice versus negligence, answer any questions you may have, or assist you in filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Contact us today at 718-855-2324 to learn more about seeking financial compensation for your injuries.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are doctors sued often?

According to the AMA, nearly one in three physicians (31.2%) report previously facing lawsuits in their careers.

What medical profession is sued the least?

According to the AMA, only 7% of allergists/immunologists have faced lawsuits in their careers, followed closely by 8% of hematologists/oncologists. 

What is the first step in a malpractice suit?

The first step in a malpractice lawsuit is to contact a local attorney. Malpractice claims are complicated, and a medical malpractice lawyer in New York can help you build a strong case to seek compensation for your injuries.

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