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New York Court Discusses Evidence Needed to Proceed to Trial in a Medical Malpractice Case

A plaintiff in a New York medical malpractice case typically must produce evidence showing each element of the underlying claims in order to recover damages. As such, if a plaintiff fails to produce competent evidence, their claims may be dismissed before the case proceeds to trial via summary judgment. Recently, a New York court issued an opinion in a medical malpractice case discussing what evidence is needed to withstand summary judgment. If you sustained injuries due to the negligence of a health care provider, it is advisable to speak to a Rochester medical malpractice lawyer about your possible claims.

The History of the Case

The opinion provided few facts regarding the plaintiff’s care and the purported harm. It is alleged, however, that the plaintiff underwent treatment at the defendant hospital. He subsequently filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant hospital and defendant doctors, alleging that the doctors’ failure to examine him constituted malpractice. The defendants moved for dismissal via summary judgment, and the trial court granted the motion. The plaintiff then appealed.

Evidence Demonstrating a Triable Issue of Fact

On appeal, the court explained that summary judgment is only appropriate in cases in which there is no true dispute with regard to a material fact, and therefore, the moving party should be granted judgment as a matter of law. While one of the core rules of civil procedure is that a trial court typically should not dismiss a matter via summary judgment based on its evaluation of the credibility of the evidence offered, there are exceptions.

For example, in the rare case where a plaintiff relies almost solely on their own testimony, and the testimony is largely incomplete and contradictory, the court may grant summary judgment based on its assessment of the evidence. In the subject case, the primary issue in dispute is whether the defendant doctors examined the plaintiff. The appellate court noted that the only evidence that the plaintiff offered in support of his assertion that he was not examined was his own testimony.

The appellate court explained that while, in some situations, an affidavit that is not corroborated by any other evidence is adequate to defeat a motion for summary judgment, that was not the case in the subject matter. Further, in contrast to the plaintiff’s assertions, the plaintiff’s expert and the detailed hospital records all suggested that the defendant doctors had, in fact, examined the plaintiff. Based on the foregoing, the appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling.

Meet with a Knowledgeable Rochester Attorney

A plaintiff alleging medical malpractice must not only show that the defendant failed to provide competent care but also that the failure led to the harm suffered. If you sustained damages due to negligent treatment from a health care provider, you may be able to pursue a medical malpractice claim, and it is advisable to meet with an attorney to discuss your rights. The knowledgeable Rochester attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers are adept at establishing the liability of careless physicians, and if you hire us, we will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can contact us via our form online or at 585-653-7343 to set up a conference.

 

 

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