Medical malpractice occurs when a professional health care provider acts negligently, harming their patient. Doctors are supposed to act in a manner consistent with the best practices of their field. However, when they fail to uphold this duty, they may cause injuries including serious physical, emotional, and financial damages.

Victims of medical malpractice may be able to recover compensation for their losses by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Schenectady. An attorney with experience handling medical malpractice cases could help create a successful strategy to get the compensation you need and the justice deserves.

The Process Involved in Filing a Schenectady Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

Before filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, a Schenectady attorney would investigate the patient’s claim, including obtaining their medical records. N.Y. C.P.L.R §3012-A requires an attorney filing medical malpractice lawsuit on behalf of an injured party to also file a certificate of merit. A certificate of merit is an affidavit affirming that the attorney has consulted with at least one licensed doctor, and the physician has concluded that there is a reasonable foundation to file a medical malpractice lawsuit on the basis of that consultation. The certificate may be waived if the attorney made three good-faith attempts to consult a doctor in the field, but was unable to do so.

After filing suit discovery begins for both sides. This phase allows both sides to request evidence such as medical records and depositions from the other. A deposition is a pre-trial examination given under oath by witnesses.

After discovery, the plaintiff’s attorney may submit a demand letter to opposing counsel seeking compensation for damages. If it is not possible to reach a settlement out of court, the case will then go to trial. At trial, both parties must present their arguments and evidence before the jury to render a judgment. Once a successful settlement or jury verdict is reached, the case will be concluded.

The Length of a Malpractice Lawsuit

The time required to complete a medical malpractice lawsuit will depend on a variety of factors including the strength of the case, its complexity, and the court of jurisdiction. Often, medical malpractice lawsuits settle out of court, but still, require both parties to file motions and complete discovery. The duration of a case from investigation to settlement or court judgment could range from months to a few years.

Statutory Deadline to File Suit

New York Civil Practice Laws & Rules §214-A allows two years and six months for victims of medical malpractice to file a lawsuit for damages. If the health care provider’s error occurred as part of an ongoing course of treatment, the 30-month clock would not start until the treatment was done.

The Limited Discovery Rule

The discovery rule is a possible exception to the standard deadline in cases where the victim could not have reasonably known they had a valid malpractice claim. This rule is only applicable to situations in which a foreign object is left in the patient’s body. In these cases, plaintiffs must file suit within one year of when they discovered the foreign object or reasonably should have discovered it.

Statutory Deadline for Minor Children

Per New York law, the statutory clock for minor children injured by a medical provider’s malpractice does not start until the child is 18. However, regardless of how old the child was when the malpractice took place, the deadline cannot extend more than 10 years after the incident.

Missing the Deadline

If an injured victim does not file their medical malpractice lawsuit prior to the statutory deadline, they may lose their right to pursue legal action against the healthcare provider unless they fall under one of the legal exceptions. A Schenectady attorney could explain the time limits which apply to the plaintiff’s claim and help them pursue appropriate legal action.

Consult with a Schenectady Lawyer About Pursuing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

The injuries a patient may suffer due to a medical provider’s error or negligence could be catastrophic, affecting their ability to deal with lost income due to time missed at work, serious damage to their future earning capacity, and mounting medical costs. If you or your loved one is injured, and you suspect a physician’s negligent action or inaction was to blame, it may be wise to consult with a Schenectady attorney. Schedule your consultation today and learn more about filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Schenectady.