Patients trust their doctors and other medical professionals in times of vulnerability, often in life-or-death situations. Although most doctors, nurses, and hospitals in the area, such as the BronxCare Health System or the North Central Bronx hospital, work hard to get their patients the best possible care, mistakes still happen.
Medical errors kill thousands of people every year across the country or result in devastating injuries that forever change a patient’s life.
Yet, if you are the victim of a medical mistake, you should not have to endure the horrific repercussions on your own. That is why in this blog post, we will dive into this issue of medical malpractice, going over what it is, how it occurs, and the legal remedies you have if you suffered an injury at the hands of your doctor.
Medical Malpractice – What Exactly Does it Entail?
Medical malpractice often results when a medical care professional, doctor, or hospital, through omissions or negligent acts, causes an injury to a patient. In general, this negligence often results from errors in aftercare, treatments, or diagnosis.
However, showing that the procedure did not go the way you wanted to go is not enough to establish medical malpractice. Typically, to be considered medical malpractice, the claim needs to have certain elements in it. For this reason, it is important that following your medical malpractice incident, you work with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer to help you prove:
A Patient-Doctor Relationship
A patient-doctor relationship exists when a physician serves a patient’s medical needs. Usually, this relationship is entered through mutual consent between the patient and the doctor.
A Standard of Care Violation
The medical profession recognizes certain medical standards as acceptable forms of treatment that reasonable medical care professionals would apply under similar circumstances. These recognized standards are known as the standard of care, and a patient has a right to expect that their doctor or other medical care professional will deliver care consistent with these standards. However, if it is determined that this standard was not provided, it can indicate that the medical professional was negligent.
Negligence Caused the Injury
Before you can collect compensation for your injuries, it is not enough to show that a medical care professional simply violated the standard of care. Your lawyer needs to show that your injury would not have occurred if not for the doctor’s negligence. It is also not enough to show that you had an unfavorable outcome. The attorney has to also prove that the negligence caused the injury. This means that if an injury occurred without negligence or the negligence did not actually cause the harm, then it is likely there will be no medical malpractice case.
Significant Damages Resulted From the Injury
Medical malpractice lawsuits are costly to litigate, often requiring testimony from many medical experts. For these reasons, for a case to be viable, the lawyer needs to show that significant damages resulted from the negligence. This is because if injuries are minor, the damages will end up being relatively small, and the cost of pursuing the case may be greater than the damages you can recover. As a result, to pursue a medical malpractice claim, your lawyer often has to establish that the injury resulted in the loss of income, unusual pain, suffering, significant medical bills, or a disability.
Common Examples of Medical Malpractice In the Bronx
Medical malpractice often takes many different forms, yet some of the more common examples of medical malpractice incidents that can result in a lawsuit include:
- Failing to diagnose a condition
- Misdiagnosing a condition
- Ignoring lab results
- Misreading lab results
- Performing surgery on the wrong site
- Giving out improper medication or dosages
- Premature discharge
- Not following up after surgery
- Failing to recognize symptoms
- Not ordering proper tests
- Disregarding appropriate patient history
- Failing to obtain a patient’s history
- Birth injuries including shoulder dystocia, nerve damage issues, or cerebral palsy
However, you should also remember that not all medical mistakes result in malpractice. That is why you should speak to an experienced medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. These attorneys can go over your case, determine whether you have a viable claim, and figure out the best way to pursue the financial recovery you deserve for the harm you sustained.
Who Can You Sue for Medical Malpractice in the Bronx?
If you have been harmed because of a doctor or health care professional’s medical negligence, you can pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit against those medical professionals who are liable for your injury.
These health care professionals can include:
- Pharmaceutical companies
- Urgent care centers
- Blood banks
Damages You May Be Entitled To In a Bronx Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
If your injuries resulted from medical malpractice, you may be entitled to certain types of compensation. Generally, in New York, this compensation includes:
Economic damages: These damages often include measurable losses that are easy to quantify.
- Medical bills including past, present, and future medical expenses such as doctor bills, emergency room visits, surgeries, hospital stay, and prescription medications
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- At-home nursing care
- Rehabilitative therapy, including physical and occupational therapy
- Replacement services
- Other out-of-pocket expenses
Non-economic damages: These damages involve rather subjective losses that are hard to quantify. They include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of reputation
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of a limb
Punitive damages: Economic and non-economic damages compensate the victims for their losses. Punitive damages punish the defendant for their egregious actions and deter them and others from committing these acts again. However, in New York, courts only award these damages in exceptional cases. For a court to award punitive damages, the victim’s lawyer must provide clear and convincing evidence that the defendant acted with a complete disregard for the victim’s health and safety.
The Statute of Limitations for a Bronx Medical Malpractice Claim
The statute of limitations is a law that dictates how long a party has to file a lawsuit after an alleged offense. If they do not bring this claim within that allotted time, they can be barred from collecting compensation for the harm they sustained.
In New York, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice is two years and six months from the date of omission, act, or last treatment date if the medical treatment is continuous. However, you should know about numerous exceptions to this rule.
- There is a Cancer Misdiagnosis: If the health care professional failed to diagnose your cancer, the statute of limitations will start when you first learn of the misdiagnoses, and you will have two years to file the suit.
- There is a Foreign Object: If the legal action is based on the discovery of a foreign object left in the body, the claim needs to be filed within one year of the date that the foreign object was found or within one year of when a reasonable person could have discovered the foreign object, whichever happens first.
- The Patient is Not Sane: If a medical malpractice claim involves an insane person, the statute of limitations to file the suit does not begin until the insanity is cured. At which point, the victim will have two years and six months to file their case.
- The Patient is a Minor: If medical malpractice involves a minor, the statute of limitations is often extended. Generally, minors have ten years to file a malpractice claim unless these extensions apply, including the discovery of a missed cancer diagnosis or the discovery of a foreign object.
- There was a Wrongful Death: If a patient dies due to medical malpractice, their personal representative or their estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit, and they will have two years to file the claim from their loved one’s death.
Determining exactly how much time you have to file a medical malpractice claim in the Bronx can get rather complicated, especially with the many factors that can affect the time to file. That being the case, you should consider speaking with an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible following the incident. These lawyers can figure out how much time you have to file your claim and ensure that all your legal motions are adequately prepared and filed before time runs out.
Actions to Take After a Bronx Medical Malpractice Incident
Medical malpractice incidents can cause numerous issues, immense stress, and damages that will forever change a patient’s life. Yet, it is still imperative to understand that the actions you take after a medical malpractice incident are not only important to your health and safety but your legal rights as well. For these reasons, if you have been a victim of medical malpractice, you should:
See Another Health Care Professional
Your health should be your top priority, meaning that you should continue to get the necessary medical treatment you require. Plus, these treatments can often help your attorney understand the full extent of your harm and the damages you sustained. However, you should not reach out to the doctor who harmed you. If your physician knows that you are pursuing a malpractice claim against them, they may interject certain things into your medical care or medical records that can minimize your chance of winning your lawsuit. If you can, avoid seeing your doctor and find a new one.
Obtain Your Medical Records
You need to obtain a copy of all your medical records as soon as possible. This can help prevent the health care professional or their staff from altering these records or losing documents and reports that can help your case.
Do Not Talk About the Incident to Others
Although it may seem helpful, venting about what happened to others or seeking support online may not be in your best interest. Following a medical malpractice incident, you want to avoid discussing the issue, especially online, as these statements can come back and hurt you and reduce the amount of money you can obtain. In addition, you do not want to leave a trail of evidence for the defense attorney to find and use against you.
Contact an Experienced Bronx Medical Malpractice Attorney Today
If you have been injured because of a medical care professional’s wrongful or negligent actions, you do not want to miss your chance of pursuing compensation for the harm and losses you sustained. Even if you have plenty of time to pursue this action, investigating a malpractice claim can take a significant amount of time. Do not wait—contact an experienced Bronx medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible.
These attorneys can:
- Go over your questions and your claim and determine if it is viable.
- Figure out what legal options you can pursue.
- Investigate your medical malpractice incident and secure the evidence needed to show fault and damages.
- Bring in the experts such as other physicians or surgeons to substantiate your claim.
- Handle all the negotiations and discussions with the defense team and the insurance companies, and fight for the fair compensation you deserve.
- Ensure that all motions and documents are filed before time expires.
- Take your case to trial, if required, and fight for maximum damages.
If you or a loved one suffered harm because of medical malpractice, contact an experienced Bronx medical malpractice lawyer. If you deserve a financial recovery, proper legal representation can help you.