When it comes to treating patients, doctors and other medical professionals are held to a high standard of care. When a medical professional’s conduct falls below that standard of care and a patient is harmed as a result, a medical malpractice claim may be necessary. Our Long Island medical malpractice attorneys at Sullivan Papain Block McGrath Coffinas & Cannavo, P.C. help victims of medical malpractice recover financial compensation from responsible medical professionals and/or their insurance companies.
Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider fails to meet a recognized standard of care and, as a result of their failure, a patient suffers preventable illness, injury or death. In most cases, the malpractice consists of a negligent act or a failure to act. It can include any type of medical provider, such as:
The acceptable standard of care will differ by situation, but it is the premise behind all medical malpractice lawsuits. Medical professionals and hospitals owe a duty to their patients to practice medicine how a similarly qualified practitioner would in the same circumstances. Failing to live up to this standard is considered a breach of that duty of care.
Medical errors are among the leading causes of preventable injuries and death in the U.S. They can occur at any stage in the treatment process. Malpractice claims are commonly filed for injuries resulting from:
There are many other examples of medical malpractice and negligence that are not included here. The injuries and complications that result from these errors widely vary, both in type and severity. They can include, for example: brain damage, a surgical instrument left inside the body, a permanent disability, spinal cord injury, missed treatment opportunities leading to serious harm from a disease, or death.
There are generally four elements that must be proven to pursue a case of medical malpractice in Long Island:
A doctor/patient relationship must be demonstrated in order to establish that a duty was owed.
Proof the healthcare provider breached their duty by violating the required standard of care. This basically means, failing to treat the patient as any other doctor or hospital would.
The patient must have suffered an injury because of the physician or hospital’s negligent actions, and it would not have occurred otherwise.
The injury resulted in significant economic and/or non-economic damages (losses) as a result of the injury.
The “accepted standard” of medical care will typically be the most debated issue. It will depend upon the type of procedure or treatment involved and the expertise of the individual who would normally perform or administer it. For example, some complications are the result of negligence, whereas many are simply a risk involved with treatment. An expert medical witness will be needed to demonstrate the particular standard of care that was violated in your case.
New York’s medical malpractice laws and filing requirements are complex. Before legal action can be taken, the victim’s attorney must consult with a physician to certify that the lawsuit is warranted. This is what’s known as a certificate of merit. Additionally, New York’s statute of limitations states that patients are only allowed two years and six months from the time of the injury to file suit, with some exceptions:
This rule applies in situations where a patient is injured because a foreign object was left inside the body, commonly occurring from a surgical procedure. In such cases, a medical malpractice claim can be filed within one year of the date the object is found or should have been found, whichever comes first. In addition, patients who have suffered from a missed cancer diagnosis have two and a half years to file a claim from the date of the discovery of the fact that there was negligence in the diagnosis of cancer or from when this fact should have been known. However the action must be commenced no later than seven years of the date of the malpractice, that is the date of the failed diagnosis.
For minor children, the statute of limitations does not begin to run until their 18th birthday. However, the exception to this rule is the time limit cannot be extended past 10 years after the incident of malpractice took place.
For all claims of malpractice against municipalities, the State of New York, and other governmental organizations there are special filing rules as well as shorter time periods that must be met. Thus timely consultation with an attorney is essential
The consequences of failing to comply with state laws and requirements can result in losing your right to make a claim against negligent medical providers. Medical malpractice victims should only be represented by attorneys with medical malpractice experience and a complete understanding of the applicable laws of New York. Qualified attorneys will make sure that all legal requirements are satisfied to preserve your right to make a medical malpractice claim.
Medical professionals and institutions rarely admit to making mistakes. Our attorneys will investigate your claim to find evidence of medical negligence and errors, while also providing you with further understanding and an explanation of the events that occurred. Proving your claim will involve hiring medical experts, reviewing your medical records, undergoing medical evaluations to prove the extent of your injuries, and interviewing witnesses. Insurance companies that represent healthcare providers, or their attorneys, will attempt to invalidate your claim. You must be prepared to go to trial, by having a strong legal strategy backed by medical evidence. We have the resources, necessary contacts, and can afford to conduct an effective investigation into your claim and collect important evidence to strengthen your case. That way, when it does come time to negotiate a settlement, we will be prepared to fight your case in court if needed.
The majority of our medical malpractice cases do result in a settlement, but typically once the trial has begun, and the jury is selected. Additionally, and unlike most other claims’ processes, doctors have the final say on whether a settlement is approved. This is true whether the doctor is covered by medical malpractice insurance or self-insured. Either way, this means they have the option of refusing to settle and can choose to take their chances at trial. Therefore, our attorneys will prepare every case as if it will go to trial. Being prepared for all possible circumstances is important to make sure that you receive maximum compensation for your claim. Our attorneys regularly negotiate with defense attorney, the representatives of the defendant’s insurance companies as well as the legal counsel for the health care systems involved. When facing attorneys who are prepared to take your case to trial, defendants, their attorneys and those who insure them are often willing to negotiate in an effort to avoid costly litigation.
A medical malpractice attorney may be able to help you recover the following compensation if you have suffered due to medical negligence:
This covers all damages that have a specific monetary value, such as:
These are losses that do not have an exact dollar amount:
The amount of money you are awarded will depend on the specific details surrounding your claim, and part of the legal proceedings will be dedicated to establishing that number. Factors that contribute to a larger award are the severity of the injury, such as if it is permanent and will require future medical treatments or impact life expectancy. Additionally, whether or not you were partially at fault will be considered. New York is a comparative negligence state, which means the percentage of fault attributed to you will be subtracted from the compensation you receive. So, for example, if you are found to be 20 percent at fault for your injuries, your damage’s amount will be reduced by 20 percent.
Our team of highly qualified attorneys at Sullivan Papain Block McGrath Coffinas & Cannavo, P.C. handle medical malpractice cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that only if we are able to make a recovery on your behalf, will we collect a percentage of your award to cover legal costs. Conversely, if we are unsuccessful in prosecuting your case, you will not be responsible for any attorney fees or even the out-of-pocket costs incurred by our firm. As a result, there is no financial risk to you, as we do not require any money upfront.
If you suspect that you or a loved one suffered injuries due to medical negligence, contact a medical malpractice attorney at Sullivan Papain Block McGrath Coffinas & Cannavo, P.C. to schedule a free case evaluation. We will go over the facts of your case, injuries sustained, and potential recovery options. Our attorneys are dedicated to helping injury victims secure financial recoveries from responsible parties. If medical negligence caused your injuries, our legal advocates will help to protect your rights and aggressively pursue the recovery that you and your family deserve.