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Medical Malpractice In New York

    Medical malpractice (negligence) happens when a health care professional provides substandard care to an individual which results in the patient suffering an injury due to that substandard care. Examples of medical malpractice include a misdiagnosis of an illness or injury; inappropriate treatment of an illness or injury; or, neglect or delay in diagnosing and treating an illness or injury in a timely manner – all of which lead to a significant decrease in an individual’s quality of life.

    That means that as a result of medical malpractice an individual suffers permanent and severe limitations in his or her ability to work and/or conduct activities of daily living such as bathing, basic grooming, walking, cleaning, shopping – all the things we do on a daily basis to care for our own personal needs.

    What Are Examples Of Medical Malpractice?

    Some of the most common medical malpractice cases occur during the riskiest medical procedures, such as surgeries, for example. Surgery carries with it inherent risks, i.e., will the surgery solve the medical problem or will it exacerbate it? Usually, though, an experienced surgeon, depending upon the patient’s prognosis and overall health, has a good rate of success. But an error in the operating room, particularly in relation to anesthesia, can be devastating for the patient. Post-surgical infection also can lead
    to serious injury, and unfortunately is an all too common result of medical malpractice.

    Another common cause of medical malpractice is misdiagnosis. Unlike an accountant who might miss an important deduction, when a doctor misses or fails to recognize a serious medical condition, that misstep can cost a patient his or her life.

    Specifically In New York

    There are things unique to medical practice cases in the state of New York. For example, New York does not impose a limit on damages. Also, in some states where there is than more than one defendant (party responsible for the malpractice) involved in the malpractice lawsuit, if one of the defendants responsible is unable to pay his or her share of the amount of judgment, the other defendants are legally required to pay the total amount. Not so in New York. In New York, unless a defendant is liable for more than 50% of the plaintiff’s illness or injury, he or she only pays damages proportionate to his or her liability.

    New York also limits attorney fees; the fee amounts vary depending upon the amount of money recovered. For example, if the recovery amount is $250,000, the attorney fee is limited to 30%. For the next $250,000, the attorney fee is 25%. Then, 20% of the next $500,000; 15% of the next $250,000; and 10% of anything higher than $1.25 million.

    Statute Of Limitations

    There are different statutes of limitations depending upon the injury or the age of the injured individual. In general, adults have two and a half years (30 months) from the time the malpractice that caused the injury occurred to begin litigation.

    Caps On Damages

    Basically, there are two kinds of damages that can be recovered: Economic and Non-economic damages. Economic damages are those financial losses suffered by the plaintiff due to illness or injury as a result of medical malpractice such as loss of a job, medical bills, and lost future earnings. Non-economic damages include subjective losses such as pain and suffering, disfigurement, emotional stress and anguish, loss of companionship. Most states cap (or limit) the amount that can be recovered for noneconomic damages, but New York does not.

    The Value Of An Experienced Attorney

    Medical Malpractice is a highly specialized area of the law, and these types of lawsuits require highly experienced attorneys. In fact, most attorneys who focus on medical malpractice are extremely well versed in the medical field (some are even doctors, themselves).

    Given the difficult nature of these lawsuits, it is imperative to retain an attorney who not only is a highly qualified litigator, but also has significant expertise in medical procedures and terminology.

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