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What is Medical Malpractice?

Anytime a patient suffers an injury as a result of a healthcare provider’s negligence, that patient may be eligible to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. After serious injuries, patients want to understand how the term “medical malpractice” is defined, and what kinds of actions (or inactions) can constitute medical malpractice under New York law. 

It is important to know that any unfavorable outcome of a medical procedure does not necessarily mean that a patient has a medical malpractice claim, or that medical malpractice occurred. Instead, to prove medical malpractice, a patient needs to show that a healthcare provider’s negligence was the cause of the harm. 

An experienced Albany Medical Malpractice Lawyer with Powers & Santola, LLP, can evaluate your case for you today and discuss your options for moving forward with a claim. In the meantime, the following information is designed to help you understand how medical malpractice is defined in New York and when you may be eligible to file a claim.

Medical Malpractice Involves Several Elements

Medical malpractice can occur in a variety of ways, and many different types of healthcare providers can be responsible for a patient’s injuries. The key part of a medical malpractice claim is proving that the healthcare provider was negligent and that the negligence caused the patient’s injuries. 

In general, medical malpractice claims include the following elements that an injured patient must prove in order to win a case:

  • The Healthcare provider owed the patient a duty of care;
  • Healthcare providers breached the duty of care by acting negligently;
  • The Healthcare provider’s negligence caused harm to the patient; and
  • The patient suffered damages as a result of the harm.

The first element of a medical malpractice claim is relatively easy to prove since a duty of care attaches anytime a person enters into a doctor-patient relationship (or a relationship that places the injured person as a patient of the healthcare provider). Then, in order to prove that the healthcare provider breached that duty of care by behaving negligently, the injured patient needs to be able to show that another healthcare provider in the same or similar medical field, and in the same geographic region, would not believe that the healthcare provider failed to live up to the standard of care set by healthcare providers in the area. In other words, the healthcare provider’s care fell short of what would reasonably be expected under similar conditions. 

Then, the patient must show that the healthcare provider’s negligence was the cause of the injury and that the injury resulted in actual damages. Under New York law, a patient has two years and six months from the date of the injury to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. In some cases, such as a delayed diagnosis, that time window can be extended.

Medical Malpractice Can Be Committed by Different Types of Healthcare Providers

Many different types of healthcare providers may be responsible for malpractice, depending upon the circumstances. Examples include but are not limited to:

  • Physician
  • Surgeon
  • Nurse
  • Hospital or another facility
  • Laboratory or lab technician
  • Dentist

Contact a New York Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you need assistance, an experienced Albany Medical Malpractice Lawyer with Powers & Santola, LLP, can assist you. Contact Powers & Santola, LLP for more information.

Call Today! (518) 465-5995

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