When Can You File Suit for Medical Malpractice? | Dreyer Boyajian LLP

Who Can File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?

Medical errors can be devastating. Whether you were seriously injured or a family member is suffering or has died as a result of medical malpractice, the consequences of a health care provider’s negligence can stay with you for years, if not decades, to come.

Medical malpractice claims afford victims the opportunity to recover compensation for the economic and non-economic costs of a diagnostic or treatment error. All types of healthcare providers can be held liable. To secure compensation, you may need to file a lawsuit against the negligent doctor or other practitioner.

For this reason, it is in your best interest to speak to a medical malpractice attorney in Albany, NY, as soon as possible. The team at Dreyer Boyajian LLP can review your case for free and discuss your legal options.

What Constitutes Medical Malpractice?

In New York, medical malpractice is defined as an error made in the course of diagnosis or treatment that falls below the accepted standard of care. Not all errors made by medical professionals rise to this level, although many do.

All doctors, hospitals, and others are expected to provide care at a level of competency that ensures patients do not suffer unnecessarily when treatment options are available. If providers fail to meet this expectation, they can – and should – be held liable for medical malpractice.

Virtually all types of errors have the potential to constitute medical malpractice. For example, if any of the following result from a failure to meet the requisite standard of care, then the patient (or his or her loved ones) may have a claim for financial compensation:

  • Failure to diagnose or delayed diagnosis
  • Misdiagnosis
  • Medication errors
  • Anesthesia and surgical errors
  • Failure to provide timely or appropriate treatment
  • Failure to prevent infections, sepsis, and other complications
  • Improper triage, record mix-ups, and other administrative errors

Types of Plaintiffs in Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

When a doctor or other provider fails to meet the requisite standard of care, who can file a claim for medical malpractice? Generally speaking, there are three types of plaintiffs in medical malpractice lawsuits:

1. Patients

Any adult patient who suffers adverse consequences due to medical malpractice can file a lawsuit against his or her healthcare provider. New York law gives patients the right to file claims against their providers directly, though most claims are resolved through settlement negotiations with the provider’s medical malpractice insurers.

As a patient, you have two years and six months to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in most cases. The statute of limitations runs from the last day you receive treatment relevant to your claim.

There are two notable exceptions to this general rule:

  • If you have a medical malpractice claim because your surgeon left a foreign object in your body, then you have one year from the date you (i) discover the foreign object or (ii) learn facts that should reasonably lead to the discovery of the foreign object – whichever comes first.
  • If you have a medical malpractice claim for failure to diagnose cancer, then the normal 30-month limitations period runs from the date you learn of (or reasonably should have learned of) the misdiagnosis. However, in no case can you file a claim more than seven years after the date of your doctor’s failure to diagnose.

2. Parents and Guardians

In cases in which the patient is a child, the child’s parent or guardian can file a medical malpractice lawsuit on the child’s behalf. New York law allows parents to recover compensation for their own financial costs in some cases as well.

If a parent or guardian does not file a claim on behalf of the minor child, then the child has 30 months from his or her 18th birthday to file a claim unless the malpractice occurred more than 10 years prior. If the malpractice occurred before the child turned 10 and a half (eight years plus 30 months of age), then the child’s parent or guardian must file a claim within 10 years of the date of malpractice.

3. Personal Representatives

In cases involving medical malpractice resulting in death, the deceased’s personal representative must file a wrongful death claim on behalf of his or her estate. Any damages awarded as a result of the lawsuit will then be distributed to the deceased’s family members according to his or her estate plan (or, if there is no estate plan, according to New York law). Wrongful death claims involving medical malpractice are subject to a two-year statute of limitations.

Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney in Albany, NY

Medical malpractice is a complicated area of law. What’s more, filing a lawsuit is a daunting process for anyone who has been seriously harmed or lost a loved one. Taken together, the prospect of initiating legal action against a negligent doctor or other provider may seem overwhelming.

At Dreyer Boyajian LLP, our attorneys have the knowledge, experience, and resources to represent patients in a wide range of medical malpractice claims. We relentlessly advocate on behalf of our clients for the full compensation they deserve.

Please contact Dreyer Boyajian LLP by calling (518) 463-7784 today for a free case review. Our medical malpractice attorneys serve clients in Albany, Schenectady, Troy, Saratoga Springs, and throughout New York.

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