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New York Court Discusses Grounds for a New Trial in Medical Malpractice Cases

Typically, people who hit their heads in car collisions will go to a hospital, which in many instances will result in a diagnosis of a traumatic brain injury. If the doctors in a hospital failed to conduct the appropriate tests, though, it can result in a missed diagnosis, which tragically can lead to permanent harm. People who suffer lifelong injuries due to hospital malpractice are often owed substantial damages, but liability may be disputed by the hospital, regardless of what the jury finds. Recently, a New York court discussed the grounds for setting aside a verdict in a case in which the plaintiff suffered irreparable brain damage due to the hospital’s negligence. If you were hurt by incompetent care in a hospital, you could be owed significant damages, and it is advisable to meet with a dedicated Rochester medical malpractice lawyer to assess your claims.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

Reportedly, the plaintiff visited the defendant’s hospital following a car accident. He underwent a CT scan of the brain that showed a hematoma but no acute bleeding. A few weeks later, an MRI was conducted to rule out a diffuse axonal injury, but the scan was incomplete because the plaintiff moved. No further testing was conducted at that time. Three weeks later, the defendant was unable to move to the edge of the bed at a physical therapy session, and the following morning he had slurred speech, lethargy, and could not follow commands.

Allegedly, a CT scan revealed an acute hematoma that required emergency surgery. Following the surgery, he had permanent cognitive injuries and was unable to care for himself. A medical negligence lawsuit was instituted on his behalf against the hospital. A jury trial was held, resulting in a verdict of approximately $22 million. The defendant moved to set aside the verdict due to the alleged misconduct of the plaintiff’s attorney during closing statements. The trial court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

Grounds for Granting a New Trial

Under New York law, a trial court can order a new trial in the interest of justice. In evaluating whether to exercise such authority, the court must determine whether substantial justice has been done and whether the verdict has been impacted. In the subject case, the court found that the trial court ruled improperly in granting the motion for the new trial.

The court explained that while some of the conduct was improper, opposing counsel has a duty to make specific objections to inappropriate statements during summation so that the court can rule on the objection and, if necessary, tell the jury to disregard the information. As the defendant’s attorney failed to object in this matter, the court found that he deprived the trial court of the chance to weigh in on the matter. Thus, because no objection was posed, a new trial could only be granted when a gross injustice occurred. The court found no such injustice in this case, and the trial court ruling was reversed.

Speak to an Experienced Rochester Malpractice Attorney

When doctors in hospitals do not perform necessary tests, it can result in devastating harm. If you were hurt due to the negligence of a doctor in a hospital,  you may have a viable hospital malpractice claim, and you should meet with a lawyer. The experienced Rochester medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers are adept at helping people harmed by incompetent medical professionals in the pursuit of damages, and if you hire us, we will advocate zealously in your favor. You can contact us through our form online or at 585-653-7343 to set up a meeting.

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