Medical Malpractice 101: Hudson Medical Malpractice Attorney Explains the Important Basics

New York medical malpractice is a form of negligence.  Negligence is an event that occurs when one person or entity owes a duty to another person.  Any duty one owes to another is generally about not causing harm, using a certain level of precaution and care, and is about doing as a reasonable person would have done in a similar situation.  The duty could be a requirement to do, or not to so, something; an act or omission.  In the medical setting, medical providers have duties to not cause harm to patients and to properly treat patients.

The duty owed by medical professionals, also referred to as the standard of care, varies depending on several factors.  First, the region in which medical professionals practice affects the standard of care owed to patients.  Second, the specialty in which the professional practices affects the duty of care.  Third, different types of patients receive different standards of care.  For example, doctors who treat persons with diabetes must follow specific protocols in regard to treating diabetes patients.  Additionally, the patient’s age, race, sex, and secondary aliments may also affect how a doctor is required to treat him or her. 

This may sound very confusing to many people.  An experienced New York medical malpractice attorney will be able to help you figure out the standard of care that was due to you.  Further, expert testimony will be needed to testify as to what the standard of care is in each unique case. 

Once a medical professional fails to meet the requisite standard of care, he or she has committed an act of negligence.  But this alone is not enough to hold the practitioner civilly liable for your harm.  In order to be liable, the doctor’s negligence must have been the actual cause of your injury or damages.  This is referred to as causation and it must be proved at trial.

The injuries that you have suffered are referred to as damages.  Damages are broken down into several categories.  First are economic damages.  This includes the additional money you have spent on treating the injuries caused by the medical professional as well as lost earnings, and lost earning potential.  Then there are non-economic damages which compensate patients for pain and suffering.  Lastly, there are punitive damages.  Punitive damages seek to punish a medical professional for their negligence as a way to deter future medical malpractice.  Damages must also be alleged and proved during the course of a medical malpractice case.  Keep in mind that New York has not placed a cap on the amount of damages that you are entitled to receive in a Hudson medical malpractice case.

Lastly, in order to successfully hold your primary physician, dentist, nurse, or hospital liable for your harm, you must file suit within a specific period of time.  Attorneys refer to this as satisfying the statute of limitations.  The limitations period for medical malpractice expires 2 ½ years after the date of the negligence or after the date on which your continuous treatment ended.  In the case of foreign objects left inside your body, the limitations period expires one year after the date the object was discovered or after the date in which you received sufficient information to lead to such a discovery.   For a more detailed explanation of the statute of limitations, visit our page here for a blog post discussing the nuances of this important rule.

Because of the statute of limitations, you should quickly contact an experienced New York medical malpractice attorney if you or a loved one has been the victim of medical negligence.