Medical malpractice is negligence that which occurs within a medical setting; at a doctor’s office, when seeing a dentist, when receiving treatment at a hospital, or what have you. Basically, this type of negligence happens when a medical professional harms a patient by failing to provide medical services as required.
The experienced Kingston medical malpractice attorney knows that since this type of negligence has a special name, it also has special rules. For example, a doctor patient relationship is required; compare to ordinary negligence where no special relationship must have existed between the opposing parties. Of course, the medical professional must have been negligent in some way. The negligence must have caused an injury that led the victim to suffer damages. And lastly, the statue of limitations in New York for medical malpractice is different than the limitations period for ordinary negligence.
First things first, let us discuss the doctor patient relationship. The doctor charged with negligence must have had a formal relationship with the injured patient. For example, a surgeon that operated on a patient for a scheduled hip replacement.
Once it is known that a doctor patient relationship exists, one can consider negligence. Basic negligence has four elements: duty; breach of duty; causation; and damages. The duty owed to patients is to provide treatment with the same skill and care that which another similarly situated doctor in the community would provide. When that other doctor would not have made the mistake that the offending doctor made, there is a breach of that duty.
Causation is rather simple; the breach must have been what caused the victim to suffer the injury complained of. The injury must have led to damages: pain and suffering; lost wages; medical bills; lost earning capacity, etc.
The kicker is that all of the above must be proven by expert testimony. Medical experts must testify as to the offending doctor’s duty; the expert must show that the doctor’s mistake breached that duty and caused the patient’s injury.
Now, in regard to the statute of limitations, injured patients do not have forever to sue a bad doctor. In New York, the patient has two and a half years from the date when the negligence occurred or from the date when continuing treatment ended. For example, a surgeon commits negligence during surgery and then sees the patient for a post-surgical appointment to discuss the surgery two months later. They never see each other again after that. The limitations period begins on the date of the post surgical appointment and not on the surgical date.
Lastly, even though doctors and surgeons are used in this post, many types of medical professionals can be guilty of medical malpractice; nurses, assistants, podiatrists, technicians, and the like.
But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected] You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.