When someone seeks medical care, they make themselves vulnerable to those treating them. Patients trust medical professionals to treat, diagnose, and advise them correctly, but sometimes physicians fail in this duty.

Whether you were unaware of the medical neglect until you experienced unexpected side effects or you were aware of the carelessness immediately, you may be eligible to file a claim for compensation.

If you or a loved one were injured after seeking medical treatment, a Poughkeepsie medical malpractice lawyer could help you pursue financial recovery. Being injured by a medical professional can cause traumatic physical and psychological harm, and a compassionate attorney could help you through this time as you seek compensation from the responsible parties.

Causes of Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice can manifest in several ways. The most frequent types of medical malpractice in Poughkeepsie include:

  • Misdiagnosis
  • Defective medical devices
  • Mistakes in handling medication
  • Surgical errors

When mistakes like these are made by medical professionals, they can have devastating, lifelong effects on a person. Accordingly, injured individuals have the right to seek compensation for the pain and expenses resulting from such negligent care with help from a Poughkeepsie medical malpractice lawyer.

Legal Theories Behind Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

In the majority of medical malpractice lawsuits, the patient alleges that the medical professional was negligent in providing care. In the context of these cases, negligence means that a medical professional failed to meet the standard of care that is expected of similarly credentialed providers. A plaintiff must also prove that they suffered an injury and that the injury was a direct result of the medical professional’s failure to meet the standard of care.

A plaintiff also might allege a negligent failure to obtain informed consent. The law requires that a patient consent to treatment, and they must do so with an understanding of the potential risks and benefits of the treatment or procedure. A medical professional must explain the risks the patient faces, or the harm that might result if the patient pursues or fails to pursue a recommended course of treatment. A failure to explain risks could expose the medical professional to liability for lack of informed consent, which a medical malpractice lawyer in Poughkeepsie could use to bolster their argument.

Certificate of Merit

Identifying medical malpractice is not always easy, so the state of New York requires all potential plaintiffs for such cases to verify careless medical actions by filing a certificate of merit. This is a document which contains the written opinion of a qualified physician explaining how the defendant—typically the medical professional or facility that rendered treatment—was negligent while caring for the plaintiff.

This is required so the court system only spends time handling cases that are verified as true instances of malpractice. It also helps prove the injury was a direct result of the care received at the medical facility.

The document further attests that an attorney has reviewed the facts of the case and believes the plaintiff received inadequate medical treatment. When developing a certificate of merit, a seasoned medical malpractice lawyer in Poughkeepsie may have the resources to retain a reliable physician to review the medical treatment an individual received.

Litigation Process of Medical Lawsuits

After a malpractice lawsuit is filed, the discovery process begins. This is when the attorneys from both sides request information from the other party. This can be information regarding aspects of the negligent care or what course of action the plaintiff took following the treatment.

A Poughkeepsie medical malpractice lawyer may request information regarding the physician’s history of care prior to caring for the plaintiff. This process of discovery allows them to build evidence leading to trial.

In certain cases, a plaintiff may be able to settle on a set award amount outside of trial with the insurance company or through mediation. If a trial is necessary, both sides would present their evidence, experts may testify, and the jury would deliberate on an appropriate award amount.

Damages for an Injured Patient’s Losses

The legal term for the money that a patient might receive through negotiations, mediation, or a trial is called “damages.” Ideally, damages will put a plaintiff in the financial position they would have been in if the medical malpractice had not occurred.

Damages include all medical costs related to the malpractice, including expenses that the patient has incurred to correct or treat the condition, and such costs they are likely to incur in the future. Damages also include lost income. If the malpractice prevents the plaintiff from returning to their prior employment, damages could include a sum in recognition of the plaintiff’s diminished future earning capacity.

Damages also compensate for the intangible impact the malpractice might have on the plaintiff’s quality of life. A local malpractice lawyer might advise seeking damages for disfigurement, mental anguish, disability, loss of companionship, lost opportunity to enjoy life, physical pain, and similar non-pecuniary losses.

Time to Take Action is Short

Patients often value their relationships with their medical professionals and take time to decide whether to bring a malpractice action. Laws called statutes of limitation restrict the time a plaintiff has to file a lawsuit. A failure to file within the prescribed timeframe could defeat an action before it begins and an injured plaintiff would have no recourse in the courts.

New York Civil Practice Law and Rules §214A sets the statute of limitations for medical malpractice actions at two years and six months. The thirty-month clock begins running on the date the malpractice occurred. If the patient received ongoing treatment for a condition that is the basis of the lawsuit, the clock begins to run on the last day they received treatment from the defendant.

There are several situations that might alter the thirty-month timeframe for bringing a malpractice lawsuit. For example, if the act of malpractice was leaving a foreign object in the body after a surgery, the plaintiff has one year from their discovery of the object to bring a malpractice action.

If the act of malpractice was a failure to diagnose cancer, a plaintiff has 30 months from the date they learned of, or reasonably should have discovered, the missed diagnosis. However, once seven years have passed, the medical professional cannot be held liable for the failure to recognize the malignancy.

Talk to a Poughkeepsie Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you or a loved one suffered injury as a result of negligent behavior by a physician or medical facility, you may need to contact a Poughkeepsie medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. You may be eligible for compensation for medical expenses and intangible losses resulting from your improper care.

Local legal representation could work with a trustworthy physician to develop your certificate of merit and file any necessary documentation for your potential case. You should not have to deal with pain and suffering because of someone else’s mistake, so let an attorney in Poughkeepsie assess your situation and work in your interests.