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New York Court Discusses Establishing Liability for Medical Malpractice

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.

In turn, a defendant physician moving for summary judgment has to establish, prima facie, that there either was no departure from the accepted practice of medicine or that any such departure did not proximately cause the plaintiff’s harm. If the defendant makes a prima facie showing, the burden transfers to the plaintiff, who must set forth evidentiary materials or facts adequate to refute the defendant’s prima facie showing.

In the subject case, the appellate court explained that the defendant met the burden of proving he was entitled to judgment as a matter of law via, among other things, the affirmations of experts who testified within a reasonable degree of medical certainty that the defendant did not deviate from the standard of care and that, in any event, any alleged deviation did not proximately cause the decedent’s harm. In response, however, while the plaintiff’s expert opined that the defendant deviated from the accepted standard, he did not state that the deviation proximately caused the decedent’s death. Thus, the plaintiff failed to adequately refute the defendant’s assertions which warranted summary judgment in favor of the defendant.

Meet with an Experienced Rochester Medical Malpractice Lawyer

It is critical that people pursuing medical malpractice claims gather evidence in support of their assertions; otherwise, their cases may be dismissed. If you were injured due to negligent medical care, you could be owed compensation, and you should talk to an attorney. The experienced  Rochester medical malpractice lawyers of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers can advise you of your rights and aid you in seeking the best legal outcome possible under the facts of your case. You can contact us through our online form or by calling us at 585-653-7343 to set up a conference.

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