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Medical Malpractice: What You Need to Prove Your Claim

Medical Malpractice-What You Need to Prove Your Claim - Jonathan C. Reiter

How are medical malpractice cases proven?

Medical malpractice isn’t something that just happens in movies, and in fact, according to a recent study, there were 19.3 malpractice claims per 100,000 people in New York in 2015 with a total payout of more than $711 million. (1)

Although the state of New York ranked 30th in the number of malpractice suits per 100,000 people in 2015, it ranked first in the amount of money paid out due to these claims.

Clearly, malpractice suits are an undeniable aspect of the health care system, but they are also misunderstood.

It’s important for patients and their families to have a clear understanding of how medical malpractice is legally defined, and the type of evidence necessary to meet the burden of proof in these types of claims.

Defining Medical Malpractice

Defining medical malpractice is important because without knowing the legal standards that apply to these cases, it’s impossible to know if a doctor can be held legally responsible.

Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, nurse or another type of healthcare professional, harms or injures a patient due to negligence, either by doing something that should not have been done, or by failing to do something necessary for the patient.

In New York, a legal complaint for medical malpractice must ordinarily be accompanied by a certificate of merit signed by the medical malpractice attorney certifying that an independent physician has reviewed the medical records and found that there is reasonable cause to believe that the professional accused of malpractice deviated from the standards of care applicable to that type of case.

Those standards include showing that the physician or health care professional had a duty of care to the patient, violated that duty of care through some act or omission, and that the physician’s conduct fell below what a reasonable and prudent physician would have done under the circumstances.

Types of Medical Malpractice

Some of the most common types of medical malpractice include:

  • Misdiagnosis – This refers to a number of different things, including failing to order a test, failing to screen for a specific disease or ailment, failing to have patients consult with specialists, or failing to ask patients about their symptoms.
  • Surgical Negligence – This refers to any type of error during a surgical procedure that causes harm or injury to the patient. One of the most common types of surgical errors occurs when a surgeon operates on the wrong side of a patient’s body.
  • Medication Error – This refers to a doctor or medical professional that prescribes the wrong medication to a patient, tells a patient to take a higher dosage than is recommended, or fails to recognize the possibility of a dangerous interaction with another drug.
  • Childbirth Injuries – This refers to injuries that a doctor causes during the delivery of a newborn, including brain injuries and fractured bones.

Medical Malpractice Evidence

In order to prove negligence, claimants must provide medical malpractice evidence that would meet the legal standard, including:

  • Establish that there was a relationship between doctor and patient.
  • Provide evidence that shows the doctor did not act with reasonable care. The plaintiff must ordinarily elicit expert testimony from a physician in that same area of practice that the defendant departed from accepted standards of care.
  • Provide evidence that shows that the doctor’s negligence caused some injury to the patient, or caused the patient’s death. In cases of delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis, there must be proof that the delay in rendering the proper diagnosis and treatment caused the patient to be deprived of a better chance of cure.  This issue comes up frequently in cancer cases, where it may be contested by the defendant as to whether the misdiagnosis permitted the cancer to spread, get worse and result in the patient having to undergo more extensive treatment or the patient suffering a worse prognosis, or causing the patient’s death.

It’s worth noting that some medical malpractice laws have gotten tighter over the past few years. While many states have established “caps” on the amount of money juries can award a claimant, New York is not one of those states and therefore has no cap on damage awards.

It is important to remember that in New York claimants must ordinarily file a suit within two years and six months of the time the act occurred or the last date of continuous treatment by the physician.  In cases of cancer misdiagnosis, New York recently enacted a “discovery” rule that permits the filing of the lawsuit within 2 and ½ years from the discovery of the misdiagnosis.

The Role of a New York Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Being the victim of Medical Malpractice is not something anyone is prepared to handle alone. Victims have the right to seek compensation for injuries, and hiring an experienced NYC medical malpractice attorney is the first step toward justice.


Media Contact:

NYC Medical Malpractice Attorney Jonathan C. Reiter. T: 212-736-0979





Prior results cannot and do not guarantee or predict a similar outcome with respect to any future case. Recoveries always depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case, the injuries suffered, damages incurred, and the responsibility of those involved.

Jonathan C. Reiter NYC Injury Lawyer

New York City Personal Injury Lawyer / Aviation Accident Attorney


Manhattan Medical Malpractice Info Center

Lenox Hill Hospital

A 652-bed teaching hospital, Lenox Hill Hospital is located in the Lenox Hill neighborhood at 100 E. 77th Street. This 652-bed on the Upper East Side of Manhattan serves mostly patients from Manhattan, but other patients are admitted from Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, Long Island and throughout the tri-state region. Anyone who suspects negligence after treatment should speak with an experienced attorney immediately.


Manhattan Medical Malpractice Info Center

Bellevue Hospital Center

Bellevue Hospital Center at 462 1st Avenue has 828 beds and experiences 115,797 emergency room visits each year. Bellevue had a higher rate of infections compared to hospitals in other states, according to a New York State Department of Health Report in 2009. Anyone who is injured by the negligence of a doctor or nurse at this Manhattan hospital, the oldest in the United States, will need an experienced attorney with experience and resources needed to take aggressive action.


Manhattan Medical Malpractice Info Center

New York Presbyterian-Lower Manhattan Hospital

Lower Manhattan Hospital at 170 William Street in New York is one of the main campuses of New York-Presbyterian Hospital. This hospital, with 170 beds, provides a range of inpatient and outpatient services. According to an article in the New York Post, New York-Presbyterian scored 18 percent below average for patient safety in a ranking of hospitals by Consumer Reports magazine. Patients who suspect medical malpractice should not hesitate to arrange a consultation with a New York City attorney who can investigate and hold the negligent medical care provider accountable.


Manhattan Medical Malpractice Info Center

Mount Sinai Beth Israel

The main hospital known as the Petrie Division is located at First Avenue and 16th Street. But Mount Sinai Beth Israel has other campuses, including Phillips Ambulatory Care Center at Union Square. Mount Sinai Beth Israel is a teaching hospital with 1,368 beds. If you suffered any form of negligence while being treated at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, take action immediately to protect your rights.


Manhattan Medical Malpractice Info Center

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center at 1275 York Avenue in Manhattan provides cancer care to patients. The hospital is composed of two institutions: Memorial Hospital for Cancer and Allied Diseases, which provides patient care, and the Sloan Kettering Institute, which is focused on research. Patients who suspect a failure to diagnose cancer or some other type of hospital negligence can contact a lawyer to discuss options.


Manhattan Medical Malpractice Info Center

Mount Sinai Hospital

Mount Sinai Hospital at One Gustave L. Levy Place is a 1,048-bed facility founded in 1852. It is one of the oldest and largest teaching hospitals in the country. Consumer Reports rated Mount Sinai 31 percent below average for patient safety. If you or a loved one was a victim of medical malpractice at any Manhattan hospital, don’t wait to contact an attorney to find out if you have a case. You may be entitled to compensation.


Manhattan Medical Malpractice Info Center

St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center

St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center at 1111 Amsterdam Avenue was ranked No. 14 out of the 30 worst hospitals for patient safety, as identified by Consumer Reports. The magazine examined four key measures of patient safety: hospital-acquired infections, readmissions and the quality of communication between staff and patients in regard to medications and discharge planning.


Manhattan Medical Malpractice Info Center

New York-Presbyterian/ Columbia University Medical Center

New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center at 630 West 168th Street was described by a lawmaker as having “horrendous conditions.” Emergency room wait times last an average of 85 minutes, which rank among New York’s 10 worst. Any patient who was treated at the 995-bed hospital in Washington Heights and suspects negligence should not hesitate to speak with an attorney for a free consultation.


Manhattan Medical Malpractice Info Center

Harlem Hospital Center

Harlem Hospital Center at 506 Malcolm X Blvd. received a 20 on a 1-to-100 scale gauging patient safety by Consumer Reports. The hospital received the second worst score in the nation, according to a New York Post report. Harlem Hospital told Consumer Reports it needs to improve in some areas, according to the Post. The hospital is a general medical and surgical hospital with 272 beds.