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New York Court Discusses Damages Awarded in a Medical Malpractice Case

Although most people who pursue medical malpractice claims in New York will ask a jury of their peers to determine liability and assess damages, juries do not always issue verdicts that are in accordance with the evidence of record. For example, in some cases, a jury will find in favor of a defendant despite clear evidence of negligence. Additionally, a jury may issue a verdict that is arguably incomprehensible, by finding that a defendant committed malpractice but that the plaintiff is not owed any compensation. A plaintiff’s recourse in such instances was discussed in a recent New York medical malpractice case in which the plaintiff’s husband died due to negligent care. If you lost a loved one because of a health care provider’s incompetence, it is prudent to talk to a knowledgeable Rochester medical malpractice attorney to analyze what damages you may be able to recover.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff filed a wrongful death and medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant doctor that treated the plaintiff’s decedent and the hospital where he received treatment, alleging that their negligence caused the decedent’s harm and ultimate demise. The case eventually proceeded to trial. After deliberating, the jury found that the defendants were negligent and awarded the plaintiff $25,000 for the decedent’s suffering and pain but did not award any pecuniary damages. The plaintiff filed an order asking the court to set aside the jury’s verdict in part and to order a new trial solely on the issue of damages. The trial court denied the plaintiff’s motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

Damages Awarded in a Medical Malpractice Case

On appeal, the plaintiff argued that the jury’s decision not to award pecuniary damages to the plaintiff and her adult children was against the weight of the evidence. The court found that the plaintiff’s argument lacked merit, however. Specifically, contrary to the established standard under New York law for granting a new trial, the evidence of record on the issue of the financial damages the plaintiff suffered due to the decedent’s death was not so strongly in favor of the plaintiff that the verdict could not have been reached based on a fair interpretation of the evidence.

Additionally, the court also rejected the plaintiff’s assertion that the damages awarded for pain and suffering were inadequate. The court explained that under New York law when a person suffered from a condition prior to the defendant’s act of malpractice that may have contributed to his or her ultimate harm, the injured party is not entitled to recover compensation for the damages the condition would have caused even if the malpractice had not occurred. As such, the court affirmed the trial court ruling.

Speak to an Assertive Attorney in Rochester

Medical malpractice can cause significant injuries and, in some instances, death, and it is critical for people harmed by careless physicians to speak to a lawyer regarding their rights. The assertive Rochester medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers are adept at handling complicated claims against doctors and other health care providers, and we can help you seek any damages you may be owed. We can be reached at 585-653-7343 or through the form online to set up a conference.

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