Medical Malpractice in Brooklyn Overview

Medical malpractice cases in Brooklyn arise when a doctor, hospital or nurse, acts or fails to act in a way that could be considered medical negligence. Brooklyn residents are entitled to a level of care that falls within the standards developed and maintained by doctors and nurses.

medical malpracticeAs Brooklyn medical malpractice lawyers, the lawyers at Simonson Goodman Platzer PC fight on behalf of Brooklyn residents who are victims of medical malpractice. Our goal is to obtain just and fair compensation for Brooklyn residents who we can show have been damaged by medical care gone wrong.

In medical malpractice cases, the burden of proof falls on the plaintiff to prove in court that a standard existed at the time of treatment, and that the doctor’s action or inaction fell below the proven standard. In most every case, the patient must produce an expert to swear that she is familiar with what good and accepted care required, and that the defendant provided substandard care. Once this threshold is crossed, the expert can the give an opinion that the patient’s injuries were a direct consequence of the negligence.

Negligence

The Supreme Court justices in Brooklyn agree that when it comes to medical malpractice cases, “Negligence is the failure to use reasonable care under the circumstances.”

If you are a patient in Kings County and you go to a doctor, that doctor has the obligation to provide full and complete information about what he or she recommends be done, any alternatives to the recommended treatment, and the normal risks of the operation, procedure or medication. This obligation on the part of the doctor is what the law calls informed consent, and an injured patient may collect money damages if a Brooklyn jury decides that a reasonably prudent patient would have decided to forgo the treatment if they had been properly informed of the risks. In a Brooklyn informed consent case, the patient need not prove that the treatment was negligently given, but rather that it wouldn’t have been given at all if the patient had been fully advised of the risks.

Damages

If you are a Brooklyn victim of medical malpractice, you should learn as much as you can about money damages. In order to get money for your injury, an expert has to come to a Brooklyn court and testify to a link between the negligence and your specific injury. For example, if the claim is made that during an emergency department visit to Kings County Hospital, a very busy Brooklyn hospital, the doctor departed from standards of emergency care when he neglected to diagnose appendicitis, and two days later the appendix burst and spread poison throughout the patient’s belly, the expert must testify with a reasonable degree of medical certainty that surgery on the day of the visit would have prevented the patient’s becoming so sick. In other words, the law requires an expert to give the opinion in a Brooklyn court, that “but for” the defendant’s negligence, the burst appendix could have been prevented.

Brooklyn victims of medical malpractice may recover cash damages for both physical and emotional damages. If the jury finds that a Brooklyn plaintiff is entitled to recover money, the jury is told that they are required to give a verdict for a sum of money that “…will justly and fairly compensate the Brooklyn plaintiff for all losses resulting from the injuries he/she sustained.”

In Brooklyn, the courts recognize that “loss of enjoyment of life” can be compensated in appropriate cases. Unlike New Jersey, the New York courts require that the injured party have some “awareness” of the loss; thus, patients who are in a fully comatose state are unable to collect for loss of enjoyment of life.

The law provides that the survivors of a Brooklyn resident who dies as the result of medical malpractice may sue for money damages that occur as the result of the “wrongful” death. The courts have held that the survivors may not collect damages for love or grief, but rather are restricted to pecuniary (i.e., economic) damages. An example of pecuniary damages would be the lost wages that occur upon the death of a spouse. In order to bring a case for wrongful death, an executor or administrator must be appointed by the Brooklyn Surrogates court.

Time to sue: Statutes of Limitations

In some cases, depending on the entity in question and whether there are “public employees” in question, a notice of claim must be filed within 90 days of the act of negligence. For example, there are seven hospitals and institutions in Brooklyn that require timely notices of claim: Coney Island Hospital, Cumberland Diagnostic & Treatment center, East New York Diagnostic & Treatment Center, Kings County Hospital Center, Dr. Susan Smith McKinney Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center, and SUNY Downstate Medical Center. The Brooklyn medical malpractice attorneys at Simonson Goodman Platzer PC have more than 30 years of experience helping Brooklyn residents to file timely notices against these hospitals and institutions.

In rare cases, the deadline for Brooklyn residents to file a claim can be extended for an additional year; but, to be safe, call one of our Brooklyn medical malpractice attorneys as soon as possible so that your rights can be protected.
Depending on whether a Brooklyn resident is a child or adult, there are different time periods in which to sue. In Brooklyn, a medical malpractice claim which involves bodily or emotional injuries, rather than death, must be brought within two and one-half years after the act of malpractice.

One problem for Brooklyn residents is that the time to sue may run out before the patient even knows he has a case. Suppose that on June 30, 2013, a Brooklyn patient goes for a routine PSA to check for possible prostate cancer. The test comes back very high, indicating that cancer may be present. The doctor, failing to meet the standard of care, neglects to read the report when it is sent to his office. Two years and seven months after the PSA report, the patient feels very sick, and tests show that the cancer has spread throughout his body and he is likely to die. Despite this Brooklyn resident having a very strong case, he has nowhere to turn, because more than 2 1⁄2 years has passed.

In a very few instances, the 2 1⁄2 year limitations period for a Brooklyn resident to sue can be extended through a legal theory known as continuous treatment. Under continuous treatment, if a patient has been seeing a doctor for a period of time for a particular condition, the statute may not begin to run until after all treatment is ended, rather than from an earlier, discrete event. This exception is not often applied, so if you are a Brooklyn resident who thinks you may have been a victim of medical malpractice, contact the Brooklyn Malpractice Lawyers at Simonson Goodman Platzer PC for a free consultation.

For Brooklyn children, the rules are a little different. When an injury such as Cerebral Palsy or Erb’s Palsy occurs at birth, the case must be started before the child’s 10th birthday. In those cases that occur prior to a Brooklyn child’s 18th birthday, but happened after birth, the child has 10 years from the time of injury to commence a lawsuit, but no more than 2 1⁄2 years from his/her 18th birthday.

In cases involving death, the suit must be started within two years after the date of death.

In Brooklyn cases involving a left behind foreign object, such as a clamp, scissors, or sponge, the suit may be started within 2 1⁄2 years of the incident, or within one year from the time it actually became known that something was negligently left behind. In order to take advantage of the one year “discovery” period, the object must be truly foreign, meaning that it was never intended that the object stay in the body beyond the completion of the surgery or procedure.

Call 1-800-405-7783 today to schedule your free consultation with an experienced Brooklyn Medical Malpractice Attorney.