Doctors and other medical professionals complete extensive training and hold positions of immense trust. Despite this, medical malpractice is still a serious issue today in New York and throughout the country. In fact, according to Becker’s Hospital Review, New York has over 19 malpractice suits per 100,000 residents, resulting in a total payout of $711.7 million.

Forbes reports an estimated 200,000 patients are killed each year due to medical malpractice. However, only 15 percent of personal injury claims are classified as medical malpractice claims.

As such, it is important to establish who has liability in a Newburgh medical malpractice case. If you believe you were injured due to a medical error or negligence, an experienced medical malpractice lawyer may be able to assist you in determining who is liable in your case.

Establishing Liability

The United States National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health defines medical malpractice as “any act or omission by a physician during treatment of a patient that deviates from accepted norms of practice in the medical community and causes an injury to the patient.” To establish liability in a Newburgh medical malpractice case, four essential elements must be proven: a duty of care, a breach, causation, and damages.

Duty of Care

First, it must be established that the medical professional owed a duty of care to the patient. Usually, this is done by proving that a doctor-patient relationship existed, which is generally fairly simple and straightforward.

Breach

Once a doctor-patient relationship is established, the patient must prove that the physician or medical professional did not meet their duty. To do this, the plaintiff must show the defendant doctor did not meet the accepted standard of care for their position. This “standard of care” is generally defined as that which another medical professional of similar training in the same situation would have provided.

Causation

A direct connection must be shown between the physician not following the set standard of care and the injury to the patient. This causation can also be referred to as “proximate cause.”

Damages

Finally, the plaintiff must show that the medical malpractice act caused not only their injury but damages arising from that injury. If the plaintiff’s physical damages cannot be linked to the deviance from the standard of care by the medical professional, their case may not succeed.

Shared Fault

Liability in a medical malpractice case in Newburgh may be assigned to both the defendant and the plaintiff in some cases. Even if the plaintiff can establish the liability of the medical professional using the aforementioned elements, they may be held partially liable for their own damages.

New York Civil Practice Law & Rules §4011a provides that a plaintiff can be assigned partial liability for their injuries. In a medical malpractice case, this can happen if the patient fails to adhere to medical advice or does not seek to follow up care or for numerous other reasons.

However, liability can also be split between multiple defendants. For instance, the hospital that hired a negligent doctor could be held liable for the actions of their employee, as could individual technicians and nurses who perpetuated or condoned negligent conduct.

Let a Newburgh Medical Malpractice Attorney Help

Liability in a Newburgh medical malpractice case can be complicated. However, it is vital to the success of the case. If liability cannot be proven, the entire case could fail based on basic legal principles.

Experienced medical malpractice attorneys know how to properly investigate such cases and how to establish liability. If you need legal assistance after suffering damages from medical malpractice, call today to schedule an initial consultation.