It is not always medical malpractice when something goes wrong during surgery, childbirth or other medical treatment and the patient is injured. For that reason, we usually cannot answer right away when a client asks, “Do I have a medical malpractice case?” The factual answer is, “It depends.”
Medical malpractice cases are complex. At Cohen & Jaffe, we work with medical professionals to review a client’s medical records and weigh what happened against the legal standard of what a prudent doctor would reasonably have done in a similar situation. If the doctor in question failed to follow the recognized standard of care and caused an injury, then you may have a valid medical malpractice lawsuit.
Unfortunately, neither the doctor nor hospital is likely to be forthcoming with you if you were harmed by a preventable medical error. You will need to enlist the help of an experienced medical malpractice lawyer to stand up for you and hold them liable.
New York has a statute of limitations of two and a half years from the date of injury to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in most cases. Because of the time it takes to investigate a potential medical malpractice claim, we urge anyone with concerns about an unexplained adverse medical outcome to contact Cohen & Jaffe’s medical malpractice lawyers as soon as possible for a free case review.
Requirements Necessary to File a Successful Medical Malpractice Claim
Medical malpractice is an error on the part of one or more health care providers — a physician, surgeon, nurse, technician, pharmacist, hospital or others — whose performance falls short of the accepted standard of care and results in harm to a patient.
Pursuing a medical malpractice claim requires being able to demonstrate the following:
- A physician-patient relationship existed. You must be able to show that the medical professional you are accusing of malpractice was treating you as a patient. This is sometimes called establishing a “duty of care.” Medical records and/or medical bills with the presiding physician’s name on them should suffice.
- The medical professional was negligent. All medical care carries a certain amount of risk. The facts must show that the medical provider was negligent – failed to do something that a reasonably skilled and careful doctor in the same situation would have done. In other words, you must prove that the doctor failed to provide the standard of medical care that the public has a right to expect.
- Medical negligence or error caused you harm. There must be a connection between the medical care provider’s negligence or error and the injury you suffered. In addition, your injury must be compensable, or something that can be made better with a monetary payment. For example, if you required additional treatment and hospitalization, a monetary award could pay your additional medical bills and for your lost wages. If you suffered significant physical pain or mental anguish, New York medical malpractice law considers this to be a compensable injury.
- Your case merits damages. Your loss must be significant. Medical malpractice claims are extremely expensive to pursue. There must be a strong likelihood that a jury will award damages that will cover the tens of thousands of dollars required to pursue a claim, including attorneys’ fees, and provide money to you. Not all medical errors and health care provider negligence meets this test.
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Examples of Medical Malpractice Cases
You may have the basis of a medical malpractice claim if medical error or neglect caused:
- Permanent injury, disability, or death
- Inability to work for a significant period of time
- Surgery to correct the error
- Surgery that was unnecessary
- Invasive or injurious treatment that might have been avoided.
New York is considered a state in which a medical malpractice claim is most likely to be resolved in the injured party’s favor. There was $685.3 million in claims paid out in New York in 2018, according to the Buffalo Law Journal. While every medical malpractice case stands on its own, here are some examples of the results that Cohen & Jaffe has secured for our clients, showing our experience with these complex cases:
- $500,000 settlement for the parents of a baby who died from bacterial meningitis after treatment was delayed when a Bronx hospital initially failed to run bloodwork or other tests.
- Six-figure settlement for the family of a Brooklyn woman who died from a brain bleed after hospital doctors failed to spot the issue on a CT scan.
The most common causes of medical malpractice claims are:
- Surgical error, including wrong-site surgery, foreign objects left in the body, post-op infections.
- Birth injury, including cerebral palsy and other brain damage from lack of oxygen, physical injury from a rough delivery.
- Diagnostic error, including failure to diagnose or late diagnosis of heart attack, stroke, cancer or infection.
- Medication error, including injury from wrong medications or wrong dosages, adverse reactions, or pharmacy errors.
- Hospital / institutional error, including hospital-acquired infection (HAI), fall injuries and other neglect, and/or failure to enforce protocols to prevent other errors or neglect.
- Lack of informed consent, or the failure to disclose reasonably foreseeable risks of treatment or alternative treatments as a reasonable provider would have under similar circumstances to permit the patient to make a knowledgeable evaluation.
How Can I File A Medical Malpractice Claim?
The doctor will have experienced lawyers employed by the medical malpractice liability insurer defending his or her reputation and interests. You will need an experienced personal injury attorney from a law firm with the resources to develop a strong medical malpractice claim.
At Cohen & Jaffe, we will meet with you at no charge to discuss your case. If we see merit in your complaint, we will obtain your medical records and have them reviewed by a medical professional. If the medical professional has concerns and questions about the treatment that you received, we will ask additional practitioners to review your files, such as a doctor, a surgeon, or a specialist.
If our medical professionals believe that you have a valid malpractice claim, we will pursue it aggressively on your behalf. We will press the medical care provider to settle for an amount that is appropriate and agreed to by you. An institution’s risk management officer will try to minimize the organization’s legal liability and may want to head off a potential lawsuit by making a settlement or forgiving your medical expenses.
If a fair settlement cannot be made, we will file a lawsuit and be prepared to present a persuasive case in court.
Talk to an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney in New York
You should contact Cohen & Jaffe’s medical malpractice attorneys if you have concerns about questionable medical care that left you or your loved one dealing with unexpected complications. We can help get answers to questions. If your experience is a case of medical malpractice, we will aggressively press a claim for maximum compensation to you.
Call our experienced attorneys now or fill out our online contact form for a prompt response. We do not charge fees in medical malpractice cases unless we recover compensation for you.