The state of New York has seen some huge medical malpractice suits in the last few years. Sometimes, these cases end in millions of dollars in damages. Medical malpractice lawsuits can provide much-needed justice to victims and their families after botched surgeries, negligent practices and cases of wrongful death. However, some unscrupulous former patients exaggerate their injuries or illnesses or else fabricate them entirely in order to exploit the system. Before your former patient can collect financial compensation through a medical malpractice case, New York law dictates that they must prove several critical elements in court. For more information on what elements plaintiffs must prove in medical malpractice cases, please read on, then contact one of our skilled New York physician defense lawyers soon. In order to prove their case, your former patient must prove:
You had a duty to the patient
This element addresses the relationship between the plaintiff and the defendant. Doctors have a duty of care to their patients just as lawyers who signed a contract have duties to uphold to their clients. Unless the patient can present proof of this relationship, they can’t proceed with their medical malpractice claim.
You breached that duty of care
Once the plaintiff has established the standard of care, they will have to show that your action breached, or deviated from, that duty or standard of care. This may take many forms, including:
- Failure to recognize or diagnose an illness
- Failure to properly identify or treat an illness or injury
- Surgical errors
- Failure to take or use a patient’s medical history
- Failure to suggest or order tests that could explain symptoms
Your actions, or inaction, directly caused the patient’s injuries
A plaintiff must do more than present a judge with an illness or injury that a defendant could theoretically have prevented. To prevail in court, the plaintiff will have to show a direct link between the defendant’s breach of duty and the patient’s illness or injury.
Actual damages resulted from the injury
Lastly, a plaintiff will need to illustrate that their illness or injury directly resulted in actual financial damages. To this end, they need to present evidence of past and projected medical expenses, past and projected lost wages, permanency of injury, disfigurement, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, et cetera. A doctor may make a mistake, but if it does not result in actual financial damages, the plaintiff has no case.
As you can see, this may be too high of a bar for a plaintiff to surmount, but only with a skilled lawyer. Speak with Paul E. Walker for more details.
Contact our experienced New York City firm
If you are a medical professional accused of misconduct, contact the Walker Medical Law firm to set up a free initial consultation.