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New York Court Discusses Medical Malpractice Versus Ordinary Negligence

While most New York medical malpractice claims assert that the defendant health care provider negligently performed their duties, there are key distinctions between ordinary negligence and medical malpractice claims. In a recent opinion issued by a New York court, the differences between ordinary negligence and medical malpractice were explained. If you suffered harm due to the carelessness of your treatment provider, it is smart to meet with a Rochester medical malpractice attorney to assess what claims you may be able to assert in pursuit of damages.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

It is alleged that the plaintiff, who was living in a state-owned facility, fell down a flight of stairs and injured his back. He subsequently instituted a lawsuit against the state, alleging that it had a duty to recognize his risk of falling and place him on the first floor, and its breach of that duty caused his harm. The defendant moved for dismissal via summary judgment, arguing it was entitled to judgment in its favor as a matter of law.

Medical Malpractice Versus Ordinary Negligence

One of the key points of contention between the parties was whether the plaintiff’s complaint asserted medical malpractice or ordinary negligence claims. Specifically, the defendant argued that it was an ordinary negligence claim, and in support of its assertion, stated that the plaintiff’s attorney deemed it ordinary negligence at a pretrial conference. The plaintiff disagreed.

The court explained that whether a claim arises out of medical malpractice or ordinary negligence, if there are issues raised by the facts that are beyond the understanding and experience of ordinary laypersons, an expert medical opinion is a necessary element of a prima facie case. In other words, regardless of whether the claims asserted sounded in medical malpractice or ordinary negligence, the defendant was required to submit an expert affidavit.

The defendant, however, did not submit an expert opinion in support of its motion; as such, it was required to either demonstrate that there were no issues of fact beyond the understanding of the average layperson or that medical decisions were not at issue. Based on the evidence set forth by the parties, the court found that medical decisions were indeed at issue and were not within the understanding of an ordinary person. Thus, as the defendant failed to submit an affidavit in support of its motion as required under the law, the court denied the motion.

Speak to a Dedicated Rochester Attorney

Doctors have a duty to provide their patients with adequate care, and if they negligently breach that duty, they may be deemed liable for medical malpractice. If you suffered injuries because of the carelessness of your doctor, you have the right to seek compensation, and you should speak to an attorney. The dedicated Rochester medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers are well-versed in what it takes to achieve favorable results in cases against health care providers, and if you hire us, we will advocate assertively on your behalf.  You can contact us by calling 833-200-2000 or using our online form to set up a conference.






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