According to the Medical Malpractice Center, a non-profit organization that researches medical error in the United States, medical negligence is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Each year, nearly 300,000 people die due to either diagnostic errors or preventable mistakes made by physicians. These numbers should be shocking because doctors are responsible for our care, health and wellbeing.
Victims of medical malpractice are especially vulnerable to medical error. However, only 19,000 people file a medical malpractice lawsuit against a doctor or hospital each year. Many more medical malpractice claims are viable. If you feel that you were mistreated in a medical facility you should contact medical malpractice lawyers NYC.
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What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a surgeon, physician, or other medical professional violates the medical standard of care and harms a patient. Proving medical malpractice requires a violation of the medical standard of care and an injury caused by that negligence.
The medical standard of care recognizes the legal duty that all doctors have to provide professional care to patients without causing harm. When doctors violate that legal duty and cause injuries, medical malpractice lawsuits can be filed.
It is often very difficult for a layperson without medical training to determine whether doctor malpractice occurred. Some people wrongly believe that medical negligence occurs simply when a patient is dissatisfied with treatment. Others do not think that certain wrongful acts could be brought to court.
Additionally, medical malpractice is a complicated body of law that varies from state to state, creating a lot of misinformation online. Due to these common misconceptions about medical malpractice, it is important to consult a medical lawyer if you or a loved one suffered pain or injury after seeing a doctor. You may want to seek the advice of an experienced medical malpractice attorney NYC to confirm whether you have a claim.
What Are the Most Common Medical Malpractice Cases?
There are as many categories of medical malpractice as there are medical procedures in existence. If there is care provided to a patient in the hospital, it can be done so negligently. While it is impossible to outline every possible case of medical malpractice, here are some examples of medical malpractice that might lead to a lawsuit:
- Improper interpretation of laboratory results;
- Performing unnecessary surgeries;
- Surgical error (including leaving medical instruments in the patient’s body);
- Providing improper medication or dosage;
- Failing to follow-up after care and premature discharge;
- Failing to obtain (or account for) the patient’s medical history;
- Infection for unsanitary hospital equipment;
- Failure to Obtain Informed Consent;
- Improper sharing of confidential medical records.
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What is the Medical Standard of Care?
This important question is often the root cause of all medical malpractice claims. When a former patient asks a medical malpractice attorney, “Do I have a medical malpractice case?” what he or she is really asking is: “How can I prove the doctor violated the standard of medical care?” Before being able to prove whether a doctor violated the standard of care, it is important to know what the standard of care is.
Simply put, the medical standard of care is the required level of skill and care that an experienced healthcare professional in the local medical community would be expected to provide. In other words, to determine whether a specific doctor was negligent, a jury or a judge must determine whether some other doctor would have acted in the same way in the same locality. If a doctor’s practices and procedures are generally accepted within the medical community, no doctor negligence occurred.
How can you prove medical negligence?
The answer is that medical malpractice cases hinge on the testimony of a medical expert witness. An expert witness is a specialized type of witness who has expertise in the medical field and in the particular patient’s condition. The expert witness will review the work done by the Defendant doctor and offer an opinion as to whether negligence occurred. Using expert witness testimony at trial is a combination of getting a second medical opinion and playing Monday-morning quarterback.
The medical expert’s job is to evaluate the risks the treating physician either knew or should have known and then determine whether the injury was preventable. If the expert witness testimony indicates that the Defendant doctor messed up, then a judge or jury can find that medical negligence occurred.
Normally, it is not the job of the medical malpractice victim to seek out medical experts to evaluate a case for violations of the standard of care. That is normally the job of a medical malpractice attorney. That is why it is so important to hire an attorney with experience in the field of medical malpractice.
A good medical malpractice lawyer knows many doctors within the medical community and can help procure a credible and reliable expert witness for trial. If you think that you may have a medical malpractice claim, call our office and get a free consultation from an experienced medical malpractice lawyer.
What to Do When Your Doctor Is Negligent?
If you or a family member has been injured while under the care of a doctor or hospital, there is little that you personally can do to move your medical malpractice claim forward. While the hospital or doctor’s office may open an investigation into any serious injury that occurs, those investigations are normally conducted by the hospital’s own medical malpractice insurance carrier and are biased in favor of the medical team. To protect your right to seek compensation in court after medical negligence occurs, you should consult the best medical malpractice lawyers in NYC.
A medical malpractice attorney will advise you on your options and walk you through the process of filing a claim. Before contacting a medical malpractice attorney, you should gather your medical records together, make copies of them, and take them with you to your consultation. The medical records will provide your attorney the first look at your case and help you determine if you have a valid legal claim.
You should also compile any proof of your injuries and economic damages including medical bills for subsequent treatment and records from your employer indicating the time you spent off work recovering from your injuries.
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Important New York State Medical Malpractice Filing Procedures
As explained above, each state has its own medical malpractice rules, and New York is no different. Before filing a New York medical malpractice claim, you should be aware of the following claim requirements:
- New York’s Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations: In New York, all medical malpractice lawsuits must be brought within two and a half years from the last date of continuous treatment by the physician to be sued. Failure to file in time can result in losing your right to sue. There are several exceptions. For instance, if an object was left in a patient’s body after a procedure the time of the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the foreign object is discovered. This is why it is so important to contact a medical malpractice attorney as soon as you suspect medical negligence just to make sure that you do not miss the filing deadlines.
- Filing Notice Requirements: Prior to filing a medical malpractice claim, the Defendant doctor must be provided timely notice. Discuss this with your attorney for more information.
- Expert Testimony is Required: Medical expert testimony is required for trial except in very rare cases where the injury is common sense (did the doctor sew the scalpel inside of you?). As discussed above, expert testimony is important to prove both what the standard of care is and that the doctor’s violation of the standard of care resulted in injury. Consult with the best NYC medical malpractice attorneys to discover what expert witnesses are available to help you.
How Much Can I Claim for Medical Negligence?
Like all personal injury claims, medical malpractice negligence lawsuits can result in a wide range of financial compensation. In the most successful medical malpractice claims, Plaintiffs can be paid millions of dollars; however, the average medical malpractice settlement ranges between $10,000 and $100,000. Plaintiffs can be awarded two types of damages: compensatory and punitive damages.
Compensatory damages can include economic damages such as lost earning capacity and future medical expenses. They can also include damages for a Plaintiff’s pain and suffering. Punitive damages are reserved for the most egregious of malpractice claims, but they are designed to punish a Defendant doctor for a severe violation of medical professionalism or ethics. If you have lost either a family member or a loved one, you may also be able to sue for wrongful death damages including loss of companionship and loss of support.
If you are a victim of medical malpractice, you need an experienced medical malpractice lawyer to help you seek justice and recover financial compensation. Call the Law Office of Yuriy Moshes, P.C., for a free consultation on the availability of a claim. We represent claimants in all five New York City boroughs (Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx), northern New Jersey, Long Island, and upstate New York.