The American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys defines medical malpractice as “occur[ing] when a hospital, doctor or other health care professional, through a negligent act or omission, causes an injury to a patient. The negligence might be the result of errors in diagnosis, treatment, aftercare or health management”.
If you suspect you may have a medical malpractice claim, keep reading to learn about this type of case and find the very best New York medical malpractice lawyers!
What is a Medical Malpractice Lawyer?
A medical malpractice lawyer is a seasoned professional who takes on challenging cases – in which they seek damages for plaintiffs who have been injured by a medical professional or medical institution.
These cases revolve around preventable medical errors such as birth injuries, infections acquired in hospitals, and wrongful deaths. Specialized medical malpractice attorneys battle for their clients, attempting to prove professional misconduct, lack of skills, or negligence per the burden of proof. By demonstrating that any of these directly caused harm to a patient, medical malpractice lawyers can get justice and financial settlements for affected parties.
One of the most daunting tasks a medical malpractice lawyer faces is identifying a “successful” medical malpractice claim. Many factors weigh into a court’s decision in cases as complex as these, and a medical malpractice lawyer can help you realistically identify your odds of winning.
Is Medical Malpractice Hard to Prove?
Medical Malpractice cases are often complicated to prove. The process of building a case is very complex and usually consists of but is not limited to:
- Obtaining and profoundly analyzing the patient in question’s medical records
- Taking depositions – of plaintiffs, medical experts, and any other “witnesses” in the case
- Researching, in-depth, the plaintiff’s injuries
- Setting up independent medical examinations to get objective evaluations of injuries and accompanying clients to these appointments
- Consulting medical experts to review reports, develop case theories, and gain expert witnesses that will testify in court
These tasks, paired with many others, are the key to meeting the burden of proof and winning cases. As civil cases, medical malpractice cases require proof that the facts presented are more likely true than untrue. A successful medical malpractice lawsuit typically establishes four essential facts:
- Duty of Care
To win a medical malpractice suit, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant had a duty of care to them. Duty of Care means that a doctor or provider has to act according to established medical standards and in ways that would be considered appropriate by qualified peers facing similar circumstances.
Duty of Care is a default in any doctor-patient relationship, so the key to establishing this fact is proving that the defendant was the plaintiff’s health care provider at the time of the alleged malpractice. This can be complex as standards of care vary between vocations, so medical expert testimony often plays a crucial role in this area.
- Breach of Duty
A breach of duty is when a provider fails to fulfill their duty of care to a patient by straying from accepted medical standards or practices. The key to proving breach of duty is showing that an omission or action did not meet accepted standards for medical care in the applicable industry.
- Causal Correlation
How did the breach of duty lead to the injuries of the plaintiff? Medical malpractice lawyers must show (within a reasonable degree of medical certainty) that the medical professional’s deviation from accepted standards of care was the reason for harm sustained.
It is crucial to present solid facts about the damage caused by a breach of duty. This includes physical injuries, financial damages incurred, lost wages, illness, pain, suffering, or wrongful death. Medical records and financial statements become critical to proving compensable damages and winning payouts for them.
Only when all of these facts are presented and sufficiently proven can a medical malpractice suit be successful. There are also other facts that a medical malpractice lawyer may need to tackle to maximize compensation!
One example is “shared liability.” If this comes into play, attorneys will need to prove that their plaintiff did not cause or contribute to their injuries by ignoring treatment instructions from their medical provider. As you can imagine – the need to prove so many factors makes for a challenging case and requires a heavy backing of the correct facts. This is why selecting an experienced medical malpractice lawyer is so crucial.
What is the Statute of Limitations on Medical Malpractice in N.Y.?
In New York, the statute of limitations is two years and six months. This applies to medical, pediatric, and dental. A provider can be (civilly) sued for alleged negligence up to thirty months from the date of malpractice or the end of continuous treatment.
There are a few exceptions that may impact the statute of limitations in a case, including:
- Age of the Victim
If the injured party is not yet eighteen at the time of the alleged negligence, the state of New York will give them two and a half years from the time of their eighteenth birthday to bring legal action against the provider. However, the statute of limitations will be tolled only for ten years. If the victim is still not eighteen after ten years, they will not receive another thirty-month window upon becoming a legal adult.
Unfortunately, victims of medical malpractice during surgeries may be left with foreign objects inside their bodies. These may be sponges, surgical instruments, or any other object accidentally left behind. These items may not be immediately discovered. Upon discovering a foreign object within a victim’s body, they have one year from the date of that discovery to file a claim with the appropriate state courts.
- Continuous Treatment
As mentioned before, victims have two and a half years from the negligence or the discontinuation of treatment. This means that if a plaintiff can prove that a provider was continuously treating them, their statute of limitations may be expanded.
Two and a half years seems like a reasonable amount of time to bring action against a provider, but it can run out very quickly. If you have a medical malpractice case, it is wise to move immediately to avoid complications and ensure recovery in court is possible.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Medical Malpractice Settlement?
This is a very complex question since every case is different, and the backlogs of court systems vary greatly across time. The New England Journal of Medicine found during a study that the average time between healthcare-related injuries and their resolution in court during a medical malpractice lawsuit is approximately five years. This timeline is impacted by many factors like the attorney’s skill, opinions of the judge or jury, the defendant’s will to fight or settle, the availability of witnesses, the number of parties, strength of evidence, and many more.
The victim’s or family’s tolerance is a crucial part of answering this question as well. If the plaintiff is willing to and can afford to wait, they often fight fiercely for maximum payouts. The process in these scenarios generally takes much longer. A trial may be involved, and they may not see the fruits of their labor for several years. In contrast, some victims and families need to get their hands on money to pay medical bills or cover other expenses as soon as possible. Injured and affected parties may also not have the desire to fight. These cases tend to be settled much more quickly and through negotiations by each parties’ lawyers rather than in a court of law.
The timeframe in which a settlement is awarded to a victim varies from scenario to scenario. Your tolerance for risk and ability to wait will impact this window as well as the sum received. There are pros and cons to every approach, which legal professionals in medical malpractice can review with you.
Medical malpractice attorneys have expertise from many years of experience from many cases handled that allows them to provide you a better estimate of the timeframe you could be facing based on the specifics of your case. Different lawyers have different methods, so study up as much as possible on the results of similar cases from lawyers you are considering for your representation. Do they tend to settle out of court or after a trial? Are their settlements modest, or do they chase maximum financial compensation for their victims? Select a firm whose results match up with your desired outcome.
What are the Best New York Medical Malpractice Lawyers and Firms?
Need a lawyer? No worries! We’ve done the digging on New York medical malpractice firms for you. Below you will find, in no particular order, a few of the best based on our findings.
- Duffy & Duffy Law – Uniondale, New York
This firm specializes in medical malpractice and has been awarded by industry leaders – such as the American Association for Justice, the Long Island Leading Lawyers, and the New York Post! Duffy & Duffy law seeks justice for clients through a highly skilled team of attorneys.
Among others, practice areas primarily include medical malpractice, personal injury, and nursing home abuse. Duffy & Duffy have found success in cases involving brain injury lawsuits, birth injury lawsuits, improper medication, workplace injuries, and wrongful deaths. The firm has settled more than two hundred fifty malpractice cases, over eighty multi-million dollar settlements, and recovered more than eight hundred million dollars! You can find Duffy & Duffy Law at 1370 RXR Plaza in Uniondale, New York 11556. You can also get in touch via their website or give them a call at (516) 703-4881.
- Belluck & Fox, L.L.P. – New York, New York
Joseph W. Belluck is a founding partner of this firm and boasts the highest possible rating from Martindale-Hubbell (a legal resource company). Belluck & Fox’s areas of specialization include nursing home abuse cases, in addition to asbestos-based illnesses like mesothelioma. While they specialize in asbestos, mesothelioma, and lung cancer cases, the firm represents victims of all injury caused by medical malpractice.
They seek maximum compensation for individuals harmed during surgeries and hospital stays. The office of Belluck & Fox L.L.P. is located at 546 5th Avenue, Fl 5 in New York, New York 10036. If you wish to learn more, visit belluckfox.com or pick up the phone and dial (315) 325-8974.
- Lipsig, Shapey, Manus & Moverman, P.C. – New York, New York
This New York City firm employs not only several peer-evaluated Super Lawyers with a combined eighty years of trial experience but also has multimillion-dollar settlement wins to show for it. They claim to have recovered over eight hundred million dollars.
Clients of Lipsig, Shapey, Manus & Moverman, P.C. seek maximum compensation and generally have cases around injuries resulting from errors like misdiagnoses, inadequate treatments, surgical mistakes, and birth injuries. Want to get a hold of Lipsig, Shapey, Manus & Moverman, P.C.? Head to 40 Fulton Street in New York, New York 10038, or pop into their Brooklyn office. Visit the firm’s website here or call them at (518) 363-7356!
- The Pagan Law Firm, P.C. – New York, New York
Have a case involving birth injuries, surgical errors, misdiagnosis, or delayed diagnosis? The Pagan Law Firm P.C. has over two decades of experience handling medical malpractice cases following New York state laws.
If you’re in the greater New York area and want a firm that works closely with victims to uncover damages, you will want to check this one out. 805 3rd Avenue in New York, New York 10022 is where you can find their office. The firm also has a website and can be reached via phone at (716) 257-4012.
- Zucker & Regev, P.C. – New York, New York
Looking for a medical malpractice attorney who also happens to be a medical doctor? Guy Regev of Zucker & Regev, P.C. is both! He applies his medical background to the firm’s cases – giving them a significant advantage towards holding negligent providers responsible for their actions. Over 40 years in practice means the firm has developed relationships with top doctors across every specialty, who will not only review your case – but also testify on your behalf!
Client Pei Las said, “I researched medical malpractice law firms in New York City and came across this one. My father was injured, and I wanted to make sure we found the best attorneys we could. The staff was all so friendly. The whole process was pain-free, and my father was able to get a very substantial settlement for his injury”. Want to know more about this impressive firm? Visit their site or call (718) 989-1210 today.
- Barovick Law – New York, New York
With 25 years of experience and membership to the New York City Bar’s Committee on Medical Malpractice, Andrew Barovick has the expertise you’ll need to win often challenging medical malpractice lawsuits. The firm primarily handles medical malpractice cases like misdiagnosis and surgical errors but has also been successful in cases involving construction accidents, negligence in nursing homes, and police misconduct. D.Y. from Staten Island said, “Malpractice cases are difficult to endure simply for the reason that brought you to court in the first place.
Mr. Barovick’s caring, attention, and genuine concern for my family helped us through this difficult time. He was well prepared, and his attention to detail was obvious. His knowledge and skill in front of a jury were evident and quite impressive… When he need[ed] to, his aggressive questioning seemed to reveal truthful facts that were important in our case. For these reasons, I would be glad to recommend Barovick Law to friends, family, and to anyone in a situation that needs the attention Andrew gave to us and our case”. To contact Mr. Barovick and his team, click here or call (845) 253-4960. Their office is located on the second floor at 600 Third Avenue in New York City.
- Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf – New York, New York
This firm has been named the #1 medical malpractice law firm in the United States by Best Lawyers and the #1 personal injury law firm too! Founded in 1919, this name and the lawyers that work under it have plenty of history in New York courts. Partner Jeffrey Bloom even co-chairs the Medical Malpractice Committee of New York State Trial Lawyers!
If you’re looking for time-proven medical malpractice representation, look no further. This team has proven success in complex cases like cerebral palsy, failure to diagnose cancer, and negligence in hospitals. If you want to visit Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf, head to 80 Pine Street in New York City and take a ride to the 34th floor. To find out more about them or make an inquiry, give them a ring at (315) 325-9653 or take a look around https://www.gairgair.com/.
Medical malpractice cases can be a significant stressor on top of a bad situation. To navigate the complexities, minimize stress, and maximize settlements, you will need the proper legal partner. Using the knowledge gained from this article, you can feel a bit more informed about the process ahead and serve justice alongside a qualified New York Medical Malpractice Lawyer.