Fatal Medical Malpractice Lawyers

Losing a loved one due to another party’s negligence or carelessness is a devastating event to live through, especially if the situation was preventable. A Johns Hopkins study in 2016 found medical errors to be the third leading cause of death in the United States.

While there have been some recent efforts to say medical errors aren’t as common as previously believed, the fact remains too many patients are wrongfully injured or killed every year in healthcare settings. A recent study found one in 20 patients are exposed to preventable harm.

After a person dies at the hands of another party in a healthcare facility or emergency room, the victim’s family does have legal recourse, usually in the form of a wrongful death or a medical malpractice claim. In some cases, a family would be eligible to file for both types of claims. Determining the best type of legal action to pursue can be best determined by an experienced personal injury attorney.

If you’ve suffered the tragic loss of a loved one, the Raphaelson & Levine law firm can help you look at your legal options. Contact us today for a free consultation or call us at 212-268-3222.

New York Medical Malpractice

Standard of care is a generally accepted method of care a medical professional administers to their patients in accordance with their specific conditions. Patients have a reasonable level of expectation healthcare professionals will treat them with care when they accept treatment.

When a healthcare professional breaches or violates the standard of care, behaves carelessly, acts with inattention while a patient is under their care, or causes significant damage to the patient through injury, this is medical malpractice. The following are common events that are contributors to medical malpractice.

  • Misdiagnosis of an Illness or Other Medical Condition
  • Failure to Recognize Symptoms of Illness or Injury
  • Ordering Improper or Unnecessary Tests
  • Misreading, Misinterpreting or Ignoring Diagnostic Test Results, Including Blood, Urine, Biopsies, Radiology (MRIs, Cat Scans, X-rays, Mammography), to Name a Few
  • Errors Occurring During Surgery (Including Surgical Errors or Performing the Wrong Surgery or Procedure)
  • Mistakes Made While Administering Anesthesia
  • Discharging a Patient Too Early From Treatment
  • Administering the Wrong Medication or Incorrect Dosage
  • Poor or Lack of Follow-up Aftercare
  • Birth Injuries, Including Prenatal or Postpartum Care
  • And More

Victims need to prove a breach of the standard of care led to injury or death. Medical malpractice is generally defined in all U.S. states, although specific laws relating to wrongful death lawsuits differ across states. 

New York Wrongful Death

A wrongful death lawsuit is permissible under New York State Law. A spouse, child, parent, or personal representative for the deceased person's estate are eligible to file the claim. For a wrongful death lawsuit in NYS to apply, a case must prove the following.

  • Their family member is deceased.
  • The death was caused by negligence or wrongful conduct by another party.
  • The negligence or wrongful conduct would be subject to a lawsuit where had the victim survived; they were eligible to recover economic and non-economic damages.
  • Survivors of the decedent suffered specific damages because of the death.

Medical malpractice is not the same as wrongful death because the latter has a broader definition, but it is one of the types of events that are permitted under a wrongful death lawsuit. Events eligible for a potential wrongful death lawsuit include car accidents, industrial accidents (i.e., construction), medical malpractice, homicide, and killing by a police officer.

When Medical Malpractice Leads to a Wrongful Death

Anyone who goes to their doctor or another healthcare professional for diagnosis or treatment has a reasonable expectation their medical provider will take care of them. When a patient's death occurs, especially a preventable one, it is tragic for those left behind. Medical malpractice claims are eligible to recover damages; however, in wrongful death circumstances, a claim can be filed to protect the decedent’s dependents for both economic and non-economic damages they’ve suffered due to the patient's death.

In NYS, victims are eligible to file a medical malpractice claim when a patient is harmed. Additionally, they often are eligible to file a wrongful death claim if they can prove the healthcare provider was negligent and death was the result. This is a primary reason why it’s essential to consult with a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. The grounds for a lawsuit or the types of damages to be recovered are very specific to medical malpractice and wrongful death claims.

Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim

In New York State, a victim must demonstrate medical negligence has occurred when they file a medical malpractice lawsuit. This involves establishing four key factors.

  • Validating a doctor-patient relationship exists. The plaintiffs must prove the doctor (or another healthcare provider) was an active participant in medical care. Medical records are usually the proof needed to meet this requirement.
  • Demonstrating the doctor acted with negligence or performed a wrongful act. In different medical scenarios, standards of care are commonly accepted across the board. If a patient’s medical care was not consistent with these generally accepted practices, negligence could often be established.
  • Injury must be present. A lapse in medical treatment is not enough to prove negligence or medical malpractice. It must be proven the patient was injured or killed due to their healthcare provider’s actions – or in some cases – inactions.
  • Patients (or their families) must adequately demonstrate they’ve suffered specific damages related to the negligence.

A lawsuit must demonstrate all four factors to prove medical malpractice occurred. Not liking how a physician or other treatment provider behaved or made decisions is not enough evidence to file a medical malpractice case.

Who is Held Liable in Wrongful Death Cases?

The party held liable in wrongful death cases depends upon the specific circumstances. Here are examples of liable parties.

  • A motorist who caused a death in a car accident is listed as the responsible party.
  • Accidents in the medical setting can hold several parties liable, including doctors, nurses, radiologists, or any other healthcare providers working at the facility involved with patient care.
  • A person accused of homicide would be denoted as the liable party (O.J. Simpson is one of the most well-known cases).
  • Owners or contractors at construction or other industrial workplaces are held liable if their actions (or inactions) lead to wrongful death.

Victims who speak with an experienced attorney can determine the best course of action to receive justice for their losses.

New York Medical Malpractice and Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations

New York State medical malpractice law sets the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit two-and-a-half years from the date the event took place. For wrongful death lawsuits, a claim must be filed within two years from the date the death occurred.

Free Consultation With a Top New York City Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Losing a beloved family member is a heartbreaking and tragic experience for surviving family members. In many cases, the death of a patient should never have occurred. The caring and compassionate injury attorneys at Raphaelson & Levine support people who have lost their loved ones due to the careless or reckless actions of another party.

If your family is suffering due to the loss of a member who died due to medical negligence, contact the Raphaelson & Levine law office to evaluate your claim. Our personal injury attorneys have more than 30 years of medical malpractice and wrongful death legal experience and promise to support you and stand with you throughout this difficult time.

The attorney-client relationship is very important to us. Call us today at 212-268-3222 or fill out our online form to receive legal advice or a free consultation.


Sources:

https://news.yale.edu/2020/01/28/estimates-preventable-hospital-deaths-are-too-high-new-study-shows

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/study_suggests_medical_errors_now_third_leading_cause_of_death_in_the_us

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/22/medical-errors-third-leading-cause-of-death-in-america.html

https://statelaws.findlaw.com/new-york-law/wrongful-death-laws-in-new-york.html

http://www.attorneys.com/medical-malpractice/new-york/new-york-medical-malpractice-basics

https://www.justice.gov/archive/victimcompensation/law_ny.pdf

https://injury.findlaw.com/torts-and-personal-injuries/wrongful-death-vs-medical-malpractic


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