As a patient, you expect your doctor to provide you with the best care possible. Unfortunately, medical malpractice is a real and widespread problem throughout the country.
An essential part of any medical malpractice case is establishing liability. Therefore, it is important to understand how to establish liability, as well as how liability may be shifted among several parties.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury due to medical malpractice in Albany, contact an experienced attorney today. A lawyer could help explain the complexities of investigating, establishing, and proving liability in an Albany medical malpractice case.
Basics of Medical Malpractice Claims
Medical malpractice cases are similar to many ordinary negligence cases. In a typical negligence action, a plaintiff will need to prove a duty of care, a breach of that duty, and direct causation of damages suffered by the plaintiff. For example, if a doctor failed to properly diagnose an illness, they could be found liable for the injuries the person may have contracted due to the delayed diagnosis.
However, medical malpractice cases have some notable differences from standard negligence cases. The New York Court of Appeals considers conduct to be medical malpractice, and not ordinary negligence when it constitutes medical treatment or bears a substantial relationship to the rendition of medical treatment.
This means that to successfully file a medical malpractice case, a plaintiff must demonstrate that their health care provider failed to exercise the same degree of care that another reasonably prudent health care provider in the same profession within the state would have, and that their failure to do so caused an injury.
How is a Physician-Patient Relationship Established?
One of the first steps to establishing liability in an Albany medical malpractice case is to evaluate whether the doctor owed the patient a duty of care. In any case, where a person seeks to file a medical malpractice claim, it is crucial to establish that there was a physician-patient relationship.
This relationship is formed when a person goes to a doctor for the purposes of medical treatment. Albany courts will look to whether a person placed their trust and confidence in a doctor in order to create this relationship.
Once a physician-patient relationship has formed, the burden is then on the doctor to provide competent and appropriate medical care given the circumstances.
Shifting Liability in a Medical Malpractice Case
In many cases, a doctor will assert that they are not liable for medical malpractice because the patient did not follow their instructions, or that a patient injured themselves. This can be a potential case of shifting liability in a medical malpractice case.
While there are certain distinguishing features between a general negligence action and a medical malpractice action, medical malpractice cases still follow New York’s pure comparative fault rule NY CPLR § 1411 (2012).
What is Pure Comparative Fault in Albany Medical Malpractice Cases?
New York is one of a few states that follows a doctrine of pure comparative fault. Under this doctrine, a person who has suffered an injury due to medical malpractice will have their damages reduced by their own degree of fault, with no limit at which their ability to collect damages is restricted. For example, this means that if a jury determines that a patient was 99 percent at fault for an injury, that patient may still recover for one percent of their injuries.
Contacting a Dedicated Albany Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you have questions about liability in an Albany medical malpractice case, contact an experienced and knowledgeable medical malpractice attorney today.
An accomplished lawyer could discuss your case with you, conduct investigations, work with experts to help identify instances of medical malpractice, and help hold doctors and health care providers accountable for their actions.