When it comes to needing a medical malpractice lawyer in New York, most assume that this is only necessary if their troubles are directly associated with a doctor that personally treated them. However, a case has been presented that could extend the workload of any medical malpractice lawyer. If a doctor fails to properly inform a patient about medication side effects and the patient harms another person as a result, the person the patient harmed could possibly bring a malpractice suit against the doctor.
In Davis v. South Nassau Communities Hospital, this is what happened and while it took several appeals, the third party in the case was able to bring suit. To recap what happened that brought on this suit, it was as follows:
Ms. Walsh went to the emergency room due to experiencing stomach. On March 4, 2009, the doctor caring for her administered Dilaudid, a powerful pain medication. Ms. Walsh was shortly after discharged from the hospital, still under the influence of this pain medication. According to the suit, the doctor never told Ms. Walsh that she should not operate a vehicle when using this medication because it has the ability to impair her ability to drive. Ms. Walsh proceeded to get into her vehicle so that she could drive home.
As she was driving home, she struck a vehicle after veering into oncoming traffic. Edward Davis was the person struck by Ms. Walsh and he was injured as a result of this accident. Once he learned of why Ms. Walsh caused the accident, he hired a New York medical malpractice lawyer and brought a suit against the doctor and the hospital. The suit alleges that the doctor and hospital were negligent due to not informing Ms. Walsh that she should not drive when taking the medication Dilaudid. He alleges that if the doctor had informed Ms. Walsh, she would not have driven. Had she not driven, she would not have veered and struck Mr. Davis, causing him injuries.
With 51,546 adverse events reported between 2004 and 2014, according to the Human Resources and Services Administration, Ms. Walsh should have been informed about what could happen should she operate a motor vehicle, according to Mr. Davis. The suit was initially dismissed on the grounds of lacking legal merit. Davis went to the Appellate Division to appeal and the dismissal was affirmed. This division stated that medical providers do not have a duty to prevent third party injuries.
Mr. Davis then took his case to the Court of Appeals, the highest court in the state. The Court of Appeals in New York came down with a 4-2 decision that Davis’ claim was permissible. This Court said that if a physician does not provide adequate warning to a patient that the medications they were administered could impair their driving ability, an injured third party does have the ability to sue the physician and the hospital as a result of negligence.
Medical malpractice is a legal offense that happens when a medical practitioner fails to perform medicals duties due to negligence, ultimately causing harm to the patient. New York medical malpractice attorneys encounter hundreds of these cases each year with patients who are left with long-lasting damages as a result of substandard healthcare. Over 90 percent of cases eventually reach settlements out of court and you might be eligible to collect one of these settlements if you have been injured at the hands of your healthcare provider.
Common Reasons for Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
Failure to Diagnose – If a doctor fails to diagnose a disease or made a wrong diagnosis that resulted in further injury, the patient will have a viable claim for medical malpractice.
Improper Treatment – If doctor administers wrong treatment or administers the right treatment wrongly then the patient has a right to file a medical malpractice claim.
Failure to Alert Patients in Advance to Known Risks – Medical practitioners are required to fully disclose any risks that might occur during a medical procedure. If the patient is aware and refuses to go through the procedure, the doctor will have a case if any injuries occur during the procedure. However, if the doctor fails to provide clear information on the potential risks, he would be at fault and could face a lawsuit.
Legal Requirements for Medical Malpractice Claims
Different states have different rules and procedures on medical malpractice claims. However, as a general rule, these are the guidelines that all New York medical malpractice attorneys must follow in order to pursue a settlement.
Expert Testimony – A qualified medical expert is almost always required to testify both before and during the trial. The rules to follow when choosing someone to give expert opinion vary from state to state so ask your medical malpractice attorney to guide you in choosing the right one.
Limits on Damage Awards – Each state has their own limit on damage awards that can be legally given to a medical malpractice patient.
Notice Requirements – In all states, the patient is required to give notice to the doctor before filling for any medical malpractice claim.
Special Review Panel – Patient is required to present claim of malpractice to a panel to review. The panel will hear the arguments, expert opinion and review evidence and then they will decide whether there was any malpractice. The patient must go through the panel before going to court.
Statute of Limitations – The case must be brought to court soon within two years of the medical malpractice. This can vary slightly depending on the state. If one does not file the claim within the period the case will be dismissed.
Burden of Proof
The New York medical malpractice attorney must be able to show evidence to support the claims. There are three things that the attorney will need to prove in order for the claim to be considered in court.
#1 – The Injury Led to Specific Damages
The patient must produce proof that the injury led to certain damages. Even in situations where there is no injury in the body, the patient can sue the doctor for physical pain, mental anguish, or resulting stress from extra medical bills if the doctor did not follow the right procedure.
#2 – The Doctor’s Actions Were Directly Responsible for Injuries
The patient should be able to prove that the doctor’s negligence is the cause of injury. This could be the most difficult part of winning a medical malpractice case. For instance, if a cancer patient dies as a result of negligence from the oncologist, it will be hard to prove that the death was directly tied to the doctor’s failure rather than to the cancer itself.
#3 – The Dates and Interactions of the Doctor-Patient Relationship
The patient must be able to show evidence that the doctor in question was directly involved with medical care and the procedures in question.