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Basics of a Medical Malpractice Case

Another name for medical malpractice is medical negligence or the carelessness of the doctor. In New York, medical malpractice is often seen as deviation from the accepted standards of medical care or violation of basic standards of quality medical care. In a valid medical malpractice case, liability, causation, and damages should be proved. In simple terms, the lawyer must show that there was wrongdoing, this wrongdoing caused injury, and such injury is significant or permanent. However, you still cannot start a medical malpractice lawsuit in New York, since the state requires a medical expert confirming each of these three elements.

Determining the Injury Link

The medical malpractice lawyer will first have to gather from the client what was done wrong by the doctor, and what was the injury suffered due to the wrongdoing. When the client narrates what was done wrong, the lawyer will have to see if it was departure from accepted and good medical practice. The injury or injuries that the client has suffered due to the wrongdoing will be the damages. However, there should be a causal link between the wrongdoing of the doctor and the injuries suffered, and this should be shown clearly.

Feeling Betrayed

Clients are usually angry and will have a sense of injustice done to them by their doctors. Every client will be able to verbalize what they believe was done wrong. However, when the lawyer inquires what injuries were suffered due to the wrongdoing, most clients are not able to respond. This is because clients are unable to focus on the damages and the causal link between the wrongdoing and the injuries. Therefore, to get to the crux of the matter, the lawyer should ask a compound question to their clients, as to what they think was done wrong and the injuries they suffered due to the wrongdoing.

However, even before asking these questions, there is one very important question, and that is whether the medical malpractice case they are planning to file is timely. In New York the general statute of limitations for filing medical malpractice case, is two and half years. This means the case has to be filed within this period, from the date of wrongdoing. Once the statute of limitations has expired, nothing can be done and no case can be filed.

The lawyer will also have to find out what are the facts and issues involved in the case. In medical malpractice case the lawyer will be looking for legal issues that could suggest either:

  • Act of omission
  • Departure from good medical care
  • Act of commission, for instance the doctor did something during surgery that could have caused harm
  • Failure to diagnose

Therefore, the lawyer has a lot to evaluate when a client comes asking to file a medical malpractice case. Firstly, the lawyer will ask when the wrongdoing happened, and see if the statute of limitations has expired. After that, the lawyer will evaluate the type of wrongdoing, and if that was the cause of the injuries. If the lawyer is satisfied, he still has to attain confirmation from a medical expert, who confirms liability, causation, and damages being present in the case.

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