If you were injured by the hands of a medical professional, the New York Medical Malpractice Guide was created by personal injury attorney Stuart Glassmith to help residents that want to pursue a claim against a health care worker.
Medical malpractice is a serious issue in the United States. It kills 250,000 people each year. If you believe that you may have a valid claim for yourself or someone you love, contact a New York medical malpractice lawyer to learn about your potential rights.
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What Is Medical Malpractice?
In a nutshell, medical malpractice is a medical error of some kind made by doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, nursing aides, pharmacists, medication aides, surgical techs, orderlies, and anyone who works or has contact with patients.
Out of patients who are affected by medical malpractice, close to 1/3 of them die. In 2013, the U.S. National Practitioner’s Data Bank reported that claims paid out in New York totaled more than $750 million.
What Are the Most Common Medical Malpractice Claims?
In New York, the most common medical malpractice claims are:
- Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose. A lot of conditions share certain symptoms. Yet, if a proper diagnosis isn’t made, the patient can get much worse, suffer from life-altering complications, or could die since they aren’t receiving proper or timely treatment. It’s important to note that not every misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose incident results in medical malpractice. One of the most significant determining factors is the current standard in testing for and diagnosis certain conditions or when those tests or a diagnosis would be made.
- Prescription errors. Prescription errors happen when someone is given the wrong medication, the wrong dosage, and sometimes when patients aren’t given the information they need to make an informed decision about whether they should take the medication.
- Child birth injuries. A child birth injury can affect the mother, the child, or both patients. It can happen during prenatal care, during the labor and delivery process, or directly after the birth of the child. The failure to recognize and inform mothers of a birth defect, not performing an emergency c-section, ignoring fetal distress, and ignoring signs of preeclampsia are the most common child birth injuries. When signs of fetal distress are ignored, babies may be born with serious and permanent disabilities including a lack of oxygen to the brain, cerebral palsy, and injuries to the baby.
- Surgical errors. Surgical errors include operating on the wrong body party, the wrong side (such as a right ankle instead of the left ankle), the wrong patient, or leaving a surgical instrument inside of the patient. Surgical errors can result in pain and suffering, additional medical bills, disability, and even a serious infection. Anesthesia mistakes are often made when someone needs a surgery.
- Exposure to hepatitis, HIV, or another life-altering infection. While some forms of hepatitis are curable, some aren’t. They require expensive treatment. Improper sanitation and not following proper safety protocol puts patients at risk.
Medical Malpractice Cases Are Complicated
Medical malpractice cases are complicated for a variety of reasons. First, it can be hard for the patient or the patient’s family to know who is truly responsible for what happened. Hospitals, healthcare providers, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, pharmacies, and surgical centers can all be hard for patients and their families to deal with. It’s important to have a New York medical malpractice lawyer to help you determine who is responsible and hold them accountable.
With medical malpractice cases, there are several elements that must be met. One of the most important elements is the opinion of one or more medical experts with the same medical specialty who can ascertain whether what happened was the result of someone (including a corporate entity) ignoring best practice standards. For example, if it were a birth injury, the expert would be from the field of obstetrics and pediatrics. It would need to be someone with years and years of experience delivering and caring for babies and mothers. If the baby had a heart defect that may have been caused by a medical error, a pediatric cardiologist may also be used as an expert.
Often, medical malpractice insurance providers also get involved. While this may seem like a good thing, and it can be at times, it can also mean a lot of pressure for victims and their families. They may be pressured to accept a settlement that is unfair and doesn’t cover all of their medical bills, lost wages, or other financial and emotional damage caused by the incident. If the settlement agreement is signed, you could lose your right to sue or for future medical care for the injuries sustained. Special needs such as cerebral palsy and hypoxia to the brain or other internal organs can result in a lifetime of care, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and other expenses that could amount to hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars over the child’s life.
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Frequently Asked Questions | New Your Medical Malpractice Guide
Should I Talk with the Insurance Company?
If you were injured through medical malpractice, there may be an occasion where the insurance company for the doctors may reach out to you to talk to you. It’s important if you do want to seek out a claim, that you hire counsel and consult with your counsel before speaking with these insurance companies. One of the most obvious and important reasons is those insurance companies may not have your best interests at heart.
You need to have someone who is protecting you, even if you say something innocent, to make sure that it can’t be used against you. Something that you didn’t expect to have any consequences, can have consequences, so it’s important that you have representation so that you’re on an even level playing field with the insurance companies and the doctors, who have their own representation, and their own representatives, and their own investigators protecting them in figuring out what happened. It’s important that the field is level and that you have your own protection as well, someone who’s experienced and knows how to handle these matters.
How Should I Choose My Attorney?
When you are trying to decide who to hire for a medical malpractice case in New York, it’s very important that you pick the right attorney. The right attorney is someone who’s best for you, someone who has experience, understanding, and the right experts. It’s important to seek out attorneys who explain to you how they expect to litigate this case, including which attorneys they’re going to consult with, which doctors they’re going to consult with, and that they’re not going to bear any expense in terms of not being cheap when litigating your case. You want someone who you feel you can trust and someone you feel that you have a good relationship with, and someone who has done this before.
What Mistakes Should I Avoid?
In New York, when people go through the unfortunate situation of suffering through medical malpractice, we sometimes see clients who waited too long before they tried to figure out if something was done wrong. There are strict timelines with respect to these medical malpractice claims. It cannot hurt– as long as you do feel that something wrong happened and you want to seek out your rights to compensation – to immediately seek a lawyer. Nothing good will come from waiting.
Even if you don’t miss a deadline for your right to recovery (whether you have to file a certain notice or whether you have to file a lawsuit) even if you’re able to find someone in time that protects those rights, it’s important to seek out an attorney immediately. Early on, you may be able to find out the facts more readily. You may be able to investigate it and do things that you wouldn’t be able to do after the passage of time. This is something that you should immediately seek out counsel for, to make sure that your rights are being protected, you don’t miss these deadlines, and that you’re giving yourself the best benefit in terms of figuring out what happened – if something was done wrong – and getting recovery if you’re entitled to it.
How Much Is a Lawyer Going to Cost?
For the most part, the fees of medical malpractice attorneys in the state of New York are statutory. Regardless of the attorney, you’re going to have a strict scale of how much the attorney can get and limitations to the attorney’s right to fees as part of your larger compensation. The better question, also, is to find the right medical malpractice attorney, someone who’s going to aggressively prosecute your claim, litigate your claim, and can be compassionate to what you’re going through and have experience with the type of claim that you have.
How Much is My Case Worth?
When considering a medical malpractice case when you’re the victim, and what type of compensation you may be entitled to one day is a very complex question, one that is not easily answered early on. While, of course, if you have any injury, your lawyer, through their experience, may be able to understand the value of the past pain and suffering up till that point. The medical bills up to that point may be clear, but the difficult part is understanding moving forward, how you are going to be doing. What are your bills going to be moving forward?
Not only are you entitled to your past pain and suffering, medical bills, and lost wages, but you’re also entitled to future problems, including future pain and suffering, future medical bills that could be expected, and future lost wage. That’s something that has to be looked into carefully because you don’t always know what the future holds. You want to make sure that you get the right experts, that your attorneys are seeking out the right opinions, and that you’re understanding truly what can be expected in the future so that you’re properly compensated for all those future problems.
You may not need immediate surgery, and doctors are hoping for the best moving forward, but that doesn’t mean five, ten years down the line you may have to undergo another surgery, or more treatment, or more therapy at that point. That has to be carefully considered. You must have the right experts and the right doctors who analyze this, to make sure you’re properly being compensated when you do settle your case, even in considering these things in the future.
Can I File a Claim If I Didn’t Follow My Doctor’s Orders?
It’s important for people who suffer medical malpractice, or an injury related to a doctor’s negligence that they seek out proper representation. In that setting, while you may have some responsibility, that doesn’t offset the doctor’s responsibility or sometimes the hospital’s responsibility.
It’s important these things are all properly weighed, that your attorney investigates these things, and you understand that. Don’t think you don’t have a case because of something you may have done. While that may in certain situations lessen your ability to recover, that doesn’t mean you don’t still have that ability to recover at all. That depends, and it swings on different facts, so it’s important to seek out counsel to make sure that your rights are being protected.
Should I Take the First Settlement Offer?
When someone is seriously injured as a result of medical malpractice, there may be times where insurance companies who represent the doctors or the hospitals make an offer. It’s important to carefully consider this first offer, but at the same time it’s important to understand that this may not be the best route to take it.
At that point early on, you may not know what’s to be expected into the future with your future medical bills, inability to work, lost wages, and your future pain and suffering. Maybe your injuries are getting better, but you have to understand that your quality of life may suffer. You’re entitled to compensation not just for the pain, but the suffering. Part of the suffering is the things that you have to endure, not just now but in the future.
It’s important that you have an attorney who’s not just going to necessarily grab that first offer, or try to seek a quick resolution. It’s more important that you seek a fair resolution. You want to aggressively litigate your case. You want to find someone who’s pushing hard. You want to make sure that everything’s being considered properly. Often what happens is, if you don’t consider that, years later you’re not happy and you can’t look back and get money for that. You want to make sure all that is considered and all properly looked into at the time that you take whatever eventual offer it is that you take.
How Long Will My Case Take to Complete?
That is a question that really spins on the type of case you have, not just from the liability perspective but also the type of injuries that you sustained. Liability also plays a role. It might not be a clear case of malpractice. It could be more involved and take experts to figure out.
The way you feel when you first hire your attorney, or even in the first few months, may be very different, whether it be better or worse into the future. It’s important that you understand that you really need to make sure you have a good grasp of how you’re going to do moving forward. Sometimes we look to your current doctors and get a sense from them how you’re recovering, what their expectations are, what your expectations are and how you’re feeling as time has moved on. Have you gotten better quicker? Has it been a tougher recovery? What the experts in this field may feel what you’re going to be recovering or not recovering as well in the future matters.
It’s important to understand that you really want to have a grasp of how you’re going to do in the future, and this may take time. It’s important that, even if it does take time while your attorney’s aggressively pushing this case, you really understand what may be in the future, because if you don’t, you may be selling yourself short.
Call a New York Medical Malpractice Lawyer
If you believe that you may have a valid claim, call a New York medical malpractice lawyer immediately. Medical malpractice claims must be filed within two and a half years from the date of the injury. If you don’t file before the end of that time limit, you will be barred from making your claim. Don’t wait. Contact an experienced New York medical malpractice lawyer at Krause & Glassmith right away.
Download Our FREE Medical Malpractice Guide