When a medical provider breaches or has violated the standard of care, and the patient has been injured, he or she may have committed medical malpractice. The standard of care is defined as an accepted method of care administered by a doctor or other healthcare professional to a patient with a specific condition. The standard of care varies depending on factors, such as the age of the patient and the ailment of the patient.
In order to prove medical malpractice, the patient must also show that the breach in the standard of care directly caused the patient’s injury. In order to prove this, the patient will need to rely on a medical expert witness.
Statute of Limitations
There is a limit on the amount of time an injured patient has to file a medical malpractice claim called the statute of limitations. In New York the statute of limitation is up to two and a half years.
The statute of limitations commences once the act that caused the patient to be injured occurs or at the end of a continuous course of treatment during which the injury occurred. Once the injury has occurred or treatment has ended, the victim then has two and a half years to commence their medical malpractice case.
In cases where foreign objects have been left in the patient’s body by a doctor or other healthcare professional, there is an exception to the statute of limitations. When this occurs patients have only one year after the discovery of the object.
In New York there are three main types of damages available to victims of medical malpractice. These types of damages are compensatory, non-economic, and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are meant to compensate the victims of medical malpractice for expenses such as medical costs and loss wages because the patient needed to take time off of work. Non-economic damages compensate the patient for damages such as pain and suffering. Punitive damages are not available in every case. In order to obtain punitive damages, the patient must prove that the healthcare provider acted recklessly, such as through malice or fraud.
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