The pandemic has hit our communities hard. According to the New York Department of Health, nearly 2.1 million cases of the virus have been confirmed in our state since the start of the outbreak. The good news is that vaccines are arriving. The official New York COVID-19 vaccine tracker estimates that 42.9 percent of state residents have received at least one dose as of April 23rd, 2021.
Unfortunately, there are some concerns that medical errors have increased during the COVID-19 outbreak. This raises an important question: What happens if you are a victim of medical malpractice during the pandemic? In this article, our Albany medical malpractice lawyers highlight the key things to know about your rights and options during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Standard Has Not Changed: Health Providers Owe Patients A Duty Of Care
First and foremost, it is important to emphasize that the legal standard has not changed. As a patient, you are still entitled to the same level of quality medical care that you should have received prior to the pandemic. Under New York law, medical malpractice occurs when a patient suffers harm because their doctor or health provider fails to live up to the requisite standard of care.
While the pandemic has undoubtedly put some stresses on the medical system, it has not altered the duty of physicians, hospitals, and other medical providers to protect the health, safety, and well-being of patients. Every patient should be treated with care, dignity, respect, and a high level of professional skill.
COVID-19 and The Medical Malpractice Statute Of Limitations In New York
New York has a strict statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims. Under NY CPLR § 214-a, an action for medical malpractice must generally be commenced within two years and six months of the date it occurred. There are only limited exceptions to this deadline.
Notably, in the early days of NY’s COVID-19 outbreak, the statute of limitations was temporarily suspended. On March 7, 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo released an official order pausing the statute of limitations for legal claims, including medical malpractice claims.
That pause is no longer in effect. In November, Governor Cuomo signed Executive Order 202.72. Among other things, this executive order has expired. Any person with a medical malpractice claim should take immediate action to get justice and recover financial support.
Four Steps To Take If You Were A Victim Of Medical Malpractice During COVID-19
Negligent doctors and health providers must be held accountable. Here are four steps to take if you suspect that you or your family member suffered harm due to medical malpractice during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Get Immediate Medical Attention for Ongoing Ailments: Do not delay necessary medical treatment because of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are dealing with ongoing injury, illness, or another ailment, get professional medical attention right away.
- Write Down Exactly What Happened: The more evidence you have, the better position you will be in to bring a successful malpractice claim. Save all relevant documentation. Additionally, write down exactly what happened, including dates of appointments.
- Take Additional Care to Protect Yourself from the Virus: Even with improved vaccine distributions, the COVID-19 virus is still circulating in Upstate New York. Take care to protect yourself, including wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing. It is always better to play it safe.
- Schedule a Free Consultation with a NY Medical Malpractice Lawyer: It is not always easy to know whether or not you have a medical malpractice claim. Set up a free, confidential consultation with an attorney. A lawyer will be able to answer your questions and tell you exactly what you need to do next.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted virtually every aspect of our lives. However, it should not stop you from taking action to get justice and compensation for medical malpractice. You can file a claim against negligent health providers during the coronavirus outbreak.
Call Our New York Medical Malpractice Attorneys For Immediate Help
At Powers & Santola, LLP, our New York medical malpractice lawyers are standing by, ready to fight for justice and financial compensation on your behalf. If you have any questions about medical malpractice during the COVID-19 pandemic, we can help. Contact our team now for a free, no strings attached initial consultation. With offices in Rochester, Albany, and Syracuse, we handle medical malpractice claims throughout the surrounding area, including in Onondaga County, Oneida County, Otsego County, Monroe County, Ontario County, Monroe County, and Albany County.