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Court Highlights the Importance of Expert Reports in New York Medical Malpractice Cases

Expert testimony is a key component of New York medical malpractice cases. In other words, while a compelling expert report may provide a plaintiff with protection from the dismissal of their claims via summary judgment, a report that is speculative or that is not based on reliable methodology may be inadequate to demonstrate that a factual dispute demands that a case proceeds to trial. This was illustrated recently when a New York court affirmed the dismissal of a plaintiff’s medical malpractice claims, largely due to the weakness of her expert report. If you suffered harm due to negligent medical care, you might be owed damages, and you should meet with a Rochester medical malpractice lawyer to discuss your potential claims.

History of the Case

Allegedly, the plaintiff contracted Guillain-Barre syndrome. While the facts regarding her care are sparse, she ultimately filed a medical lawsuit against the defendant hospital, alleging that it failed to diagnose her with the condition or treat it in a timely manner, which ultimately decreased her chance of a favorable outcome. The defendant moved for dismissal via summary judgment. The court granted the defendant’s motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

Expert Reports in New York Medical Malpractice Cases

On appeal, the appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling. The court explained that, in New York medical malpractice cases, the defendant bears the initial burden of proving that it did not deviate from the accepted practice of medicine or that any alleged deviation did not cause the plaintiff’s harm. The burden then shifts to the plaintiff, who must refute the defendant’s assertions in order to survive summary judgment.

Typically, both plaintiffs and defendants in medical malpractice cases will rely on expert reports to support their respective positions. If an expert’s conclusion is not supported by data or facts, however, it should not be granted any probative force. In the subject case, the court explained that the plaintiff’s expert report was speculative and conclusory. Specifically, his argument that the plaintiff’s treatment should have started earlier contradicted what he agreed was appropriate. As such, the court found that the plaintiff’s expert’s assertions that earlier detection and treatment would have produced a different outcome to be  “vague, conclusory, speculative, and unsupported by the medical evidence in the record” and wholly insufficient to raise a triable issue of fact. As such, the court affirmed the dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims via summary judgment.

Speak to a Knowledgeable Rochester Attorney

When doctors delay their patients’ care, it can lead to lasting trauma, and in many instances, such harm is irreparable. If you sustained losses due to incompetent medical care, it is in your best interest to contact an attorney as soon as possible to evaluate your possible causes of action. The knowledgeable Rochester medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers take pride in helping people injured by medical negligence in the pursuit of damages, and if you hire us, we will advocate zealously on your behalf. You can reach us through our form online by calling us at 585-653-7343 to set up a consultation.

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