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Many people struggle with mental health issues that lead to self-harm. Fortunately, psychiatrists can often offer treatment that prevents people from fatally injuring themselves. If a patient that sought mental health care subsequently takes their own life, their treating provider may be held accountable. In a recent New York opinion, a court discussed what a plaintiff must prove to establish liability for the actions of a psychiatric patient in a matter in which the plaintiff was ultimately denied recovery. If you suffered losses due to a negligent psychiatrist, it is smart to speak to a Rochester medical malpractice attorney about your rights.

The Factual Background

It is reported that the decedent visited the defendant’s hospital in November 2015 with scratches on his arms. The decedent advised the treating physicians that he tried to end his life via suicide. He was observed for 20 hours and then released. He died by suicide the following morning. The decedent’s estate then filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant. Following the completion of discovery, the defendant moved to dismiss the case via summary judgment. The court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

Establishing a Psychiatrist’s Liability for the Actions of a Patient

On appeal, the court affirmed the trial court ruling. In doing so, it explained that in order to hold a doctor or their employer accountable for harm resulting from the behavior of a psychiatric patient who was released, when their release is a matter of professional judgment, the plaintiff must prove that the doctor’s decision to release the patient was something less than a professional medical decision that was founded upon a thorough examination of the patient. Continue reading

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Police and other first responders have the authority to activate emergency lights and sirens and travel in excess of the speed limit in certain circumstances. They must nonetheless do so with care, however, to avoid causing inadvertent harm. If a police officer operates their vehicle recklessly and collides with another motorist, they may be liable for negligence. Recently, a New York court discussed the standard of liability for police officers involved in collisions in a case in which it ultimately determined that the factual issues must be resolved by a jury. If you were hurt in a collision involving a first responder, it is prudent to meet with a Rochester personal injury attorney to discuss your possible claims.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff was driving her vehicle when she was struck by a patrol car driven by the defendant sheriff, who was working on behalf of the defendant city. The defendant sheriff was in the process of responding to a dispatch regarding an armed robbery in progress at the time of the crash.

Reportedly, the defendant sheriff attempted to pass the plaintiff on the left when the plaintiff was making a left turn and hit the plaintiff’s car. The plaintiff, who suffered injuries in the accident, filed negligence claims against the defendants. The defendants moved for summary judgment, but their motion was denied. They appealed. Continue reading

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Under New York law, employers can be held accountable for the negligent behavior of their employees in certain situations. For example, a hospital may be liable for injuries that arise out of incompetent care rendered by a physician it employs. Vicarious liability will only be imposed on hospitals in certain situations, however, as demonstrated by a recent New York ruling issued in a medical malpractice case. If you were injured by a reckless physician in a hospital, you might be able to recover compensation, and you should consult a Rochester medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff underwent surgery at the defendant hospital. Following his procedure, he developed gangrene in his left foot. His foot ultimately had to be amputated. He subsequently instituted medical malpractice claims against the doctor that provided his post-operative care and against the hospital on a theory of vicarious liability. The defendant hospital asked the court to dismiss the claims against them via a motion summary judgment. The court denied the defendant’s motion, after which the defendant filed an appeal.

Vicarious Liability in the Hospital Setting

The trial court ruling was affirmed on appeal. The court explained that generally, pursuant to the doctrine of respondeat superior, a hospital may be held vicariously liable for the malpractice or negligence of its employees while acting within the scope of employment. Hospitals will not be held vicariously liable, however, for negligent care offered by an independent physician, for example, when the doctor is retained by the patient themselves. Continue reading

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Generally, in a lawsuit arising out of a car accident, the party named as a defendant will be the driver of a vehicle involved in the collision. In some cases, though, other parties may be deemed liable for harm arising out of a car accident. Specifically, as shown in a recent New York ruling issued in a car crash case, if a person drives with reckless disregard for the safety of others, they could be found liable for any harm that ensues, even if they were not involved in the crash. If you were injured in a collision, it is wise to consult a Rochester, personal injury attorney about your potential claims.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that in November 2011, the plaintiffs, who were police officers, were driving in a police vehicle. They then witnessed a high-speed chase involving another police department and the defendant driver. The defendant driver and the other police vehicle were driving at approximately 100 mph through a high-traffic area when the defendant driver lost control of his vehicle and collided with the plaintiffs’ vehicle.

Allegedly, the plaintiffs both suffered injuries, after which they filed a lawsuit against the defendants. The defendant police officers filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that they could not be deemed liable for the collision as they were not involved in the collision. The trial court granted the motion, and the plaintiffs appealed. Continue reading

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Medical malpractice cases typically arise in the context of a doctor-patient relationship. In other words, the plaintiff will usually be a patient hurt by the defendant’s negligent care. Under New York law, however, a doctor may be held liable for medical malpractice for harm suffered by someone other than their patients. This was explained in a recent New York ruling issued in a case in which the plaintiff pursued claims against a psychiatrist following harm caused by the psychiatrist’s patient. If you were hurt because of a doctor’s carelessness, you might be owed damages, and it is in your best interest to consult a Rochester medical malpractice attorney.

The Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff was kidnapped and sexually assaulted by a man who was treating with the defendant psychiatric clinic for mental health issues. The plaintiff subsequently filed a lawsuit against the man and against the clinic and its professionals. As to the psychiatric clinic defendants, the plaintiff asserted medical malpractice claims. The psychiatric clinic defendants moved for summary judgment, arguing they could not be liable for medical malpractice as the plaintiff was not their patient. The court disagreed and denied the motion, after which the defendant appealed.

Medical Malpractice Claims Pursued by Non-Patients

On appeal, the court affirmed the trial court ruling. The defendants argued that doctors usually only owe a duty of care to their patients and that there was no special relationship that extended that duty to the plaintiffs in this case. The court disagreed. Specifically, the court explained that mental health professionals or psychiatrists owe their patients a duty to exercise professional judgment and offer treatment using a proper medical foundation. In some instances, though, that duty extends to the narrow group of individuals that the physician could expect to be affected by the treatment, but also to the public at large as well. Continue reading

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When people suffer harm in the course of receiving medical care, it is often due to the incompetence of their healthcare providers. Negligent healthcare providers, however, will rarely admit liability. In other words, the parties will dispute whether the medical acts in question were performed properly and, if not, whether they were the cause of the patient’s harm. Whichever party presents more compelling arguments typically prevails, but in some cases, the courts rule improvidently and dismiss a plaintiff’s medical malpractice case despite evidence that indicates they should be permitted to proceed with their claims. Recently, a New York court discussed the ground for granting summary judgment dismissal of medical malpractice claims in a case in which the plaintiff’s claims were ultimately reinstated. If you were hurt by a reckless physician, you should talk to a Rochester medical malpractice lawyer about your potential claims.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff, who was 28 weeks pregnant, went to the defendant hospital with complaints of decreased fetal movement. The defendant’s residents examined the plaintiff, and the plaintiff was admitted to the hospital. The following morning the defendant ob-gyn examined the plaintiff’s fetal monitoring strip and recommended that the plaintiff’s care remain the same. The next day, a sonogram showed that the fetus had a weak heart rate, and the plaintiff underwent an emergency c-section.

Allegedly, the infant suffered severe brain damage due to the fact that he was deprived of oxygen before delivery. He died shortly after he was born. The plaintiff filed a medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuit against the defendants. The defendant ob-gyn moved for summary judgment, and the court granted his motion. The plaintiff appealed. Continue reading

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Under New York law, there are different statutes of limitations for pursuing negligence and medical malpractice actions. While such claims are similar, there are key differences between them, and if a party seeking damages for harm caused by a medical professional fails to properly characterize their claims, they may unintentionally waive their right to recover compensation. This was demonstrated in a recent New York opinion in which the court dismissed the plaintiff’s claims, finding that they were barred by the two-and-a-half-year statute of limitations that applies to medical malpractice actions. If you suffered harm due to the negligence of a doctor, it is important to confer with a Rochester medical malpractice attorney promptly to protect your rights.

Factual and Procedural Background of the Case

It is alleged that the decedent received medical care at the defendant hospital in September 2015 for unspecified health concerns. He died two weeks into his hospital admission. Approximately three years later, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant asserting wrongful death and medical malpractice claims. The defendant then moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s medical malpractice claim on the grounds it was barred by the two-and-a-half-year statute of limitations. The plaintiff opposed the motion, arguing that her claims sounded in negligence and not medical malpractice. The court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

Differences Between Negligence and Medical Malpractice Claims

On appeal, the court affirmed the dismissal of the plaintiff’s claim. In doing so, the court discussed the nuances between negligence and medical malpractice claims. The court noted that the distinction is subtle, and no sharp line divides the two. Rather, whether a claim sounds in medical malpractice or ordinary negligence turns on whether the behavior complained of involves an art or matter of medical science requiring special skills not typically possessed by lay people or whether the acts or omissions complained of could be evaluated on the basis of the common experience of the judge or jury. Continue reading

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First responders are often dispatched to provide emergency medical care to people suffering from critical health concerns. Tragically, however, first responders sometimes make fatal mistakes when offering acutely ill people care. In such instances, the first responders can often be held accountable for medical malpractice. Recently, a New York court discussed what evidence is needed to prove that first responders should be liable for negligent medical care in an opinion issued in a case in which the plaintiff’s decedent died following incompetent care. If you were hurt by the recklessness of a health care provider, you might be owed compensation, and you should speak to a Rochester medical malpractice attorney as soon as you can.

The Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the decedent suffered a seizure while working. The defendant paramedics who were employed by the defendant city responded to a 911 call the decedent’s co-workers placed. Within fifteen minutes, the decedent’s heart stopped. The defendant paramedics administered the decedent a drug per the instruction of the defendant doctor. The decedent never regained consciousness or the ability to breathe on his own. He died a month after the incident. His wife subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant asserting, among other things, medical malpractice and wrongful death claims. The decedent city moved for dismissal via summary judgment.

Demonstrating First Responders Committed Medical Malpractice

The court granted the defendant city’s motion in large part, dismissing most of the plaintiff’s claims. The court explained that when a medical malpractice claim is asserted against a municipality, the first issue the court must decide is whether the municipal entity was acting in a governmental capacity or engaged in a proprietary function when the claim arose. Continue reading

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Typically, victims of medical negligence will pursue medical malpractice claims against the providers that caused their harm. In certain situations, though, incompetent medical care may give rise to a constitutional violation claim. Recently, a New York court issued an opinion differentiating between the two causes of action in a matter in which the plaintiff sought compensation following negligent treatment of a mental health issue. If you suffered harm due to delayed medical care, you have the right to seek damages, and you should contact a Rochester medical malpractice attorney to discuss your possible claims.

Factual Background of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff was confined to a facility owned and operated by the state. While there, he sought medical care due to mental health issues, including depression and suicidal ideation. He was examined and released. He subsequently attempted to end his life by suicide. He survived and filed a lawsuit against the defendants, and employees of the facility, alleging they violated his constitutional rights by failing to provide him with adequate medical care. The defendants moved for summary judgment, and the case was referred to a magistrate. The magistrate filed a report and recommendation that the court grant the motion.

When Medical Malpractice Becomes a Constitutional Violation

The court declined to adopt the magistrate’s reasoning and dismiss the plaintiff’s claims. The court explained that there are both subjective and subjective requirements to succeed on constitutional claims arising out of mental health concerns. First, the danger presented by the defendant’s alleged deliberate indifference must be adequately serious from an objective perspective. Second, the defendant must have acted with deliberate indifference to that need. In other words, they must have subjectively failed to address the danger.

In the subject case, the court found that there was a triable issue of fact as to whether the objective portion of the plaintiff’s claim could be satisfied. In other words, whether the plaintiff’s propensity to self-harm or attempt suicide constituted a sufficiently serious mental health need.

Further, the court explained that upon viewing the facts in a light that is most favorable to the plaintiff as the non-moving party, a genuine issue of material fact existed as to the subjective prong as well. In other words, whether the defendants were aware of and disregarded the excessive risks to the plaintiff’s mental health and safety. Based on the foregoing, the court declined to grant the defendants’ motion for summary judgment. Continue reading

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Doctors will often admit people who have undergone surgery to rehabilitation facilities prior to releasing them home. Rehabilitation centers are intended to prevent people from sustaining injuries while they recover. Unfortunately, some people staying in such facilities suffer significant harm. Simply because a person suffers injuries while in a rehabilitation center does not mean that they can recover compensation via a medical malpractice claim, though, as shown in a recent New York ruling in which the court dismissed the plaintiff’s case. If you or a loved one were hurt while staying in a rehabilitation center, it is advisable to talk to a Rochester medical malpractice attorney about your rights.

History of the Case

It is alleged that the decedent was admitted to the defendant’s rehabilitation center following a surgery. During her admission, she fell. She subsequently developed septic shock and gangrene. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant alleging medical malpractice and wrongful death claims. The defendant moved for summary judgment.

Establishing Liability for Medical Malpractice

The appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling dismissing the plaintiff’s case. In doing so, it explained that in order to establish a doctor’s liability for medical malpractice, a plaintiff must prove that the doctor departed from the standards of practice accepted in the community and that such a departure proximately caused the plaintiff to suffer harm. Continue reading

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