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New York Court Discusses Notice Required in Medical Malpractice Cases Against Public Corporations

Many hospitals and medical facilities in New York are owned or operated by public corporations. While parties injured by medical negligence can pursue malpractice claims against such establishments, they must comply with certain pleading requirements. For example, they must provide notice of their potential claims to the public corporation or municipality within a relatively short time after their harm arises. In a recent ruling issued in a surgical malpractice case, a New York court discussed what constitutes adequate notice of a possible claim. If you suffered harm due to a negligently performed surgery, you might be able to recover compensation, and it is wise to speak to a Rochester surgical malpractice lawyer regarding your rights.

The Plaintiff’s Injuries

It is reported that the plaintiff was admitted to a hospital owned by the defendant public benefit corporation from May through September 2016. During her admission, she underwent numerous surgical procedures that ultimately resulted in the amputation of her right leg. She then initiated a  medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, seeking compensation for her losses. The defendant moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims on the grounds that she failed to provide them with the notice required under General Municipal Law 50-e. The trial court denied the motion, and the defendant appealed.

Notice Required in New York Medical Malpractice Claims Against Public Corporations

Pursuant to General Municipal Law 50-e, it is a condition precedent that a party that wishes to pursue tort claims against a public benefit corporation or municipality must provide adequate and timely notice of the claims. Specifically, the injured party must advise the municipality or public corporation of the time, place, and manner in which the claim arose and must set forth the nature of the claim.

The goal of the statutory notice requirement is to provide public corporations with a chance to investigate the circumstances out of which the claim arose and evaluate the merits of the claim while information pertaining to it is readily available. The appellate court explained, however, that the legislature did not intend for potential claimants to also have to plead their causes of action and legal theories in the notice of the claim.

In other words, the notice requirement is not a sword designed to cut down valid claims but a shield to bar frivolous ones. Thus, a claimant does not need a precise cause of action in a notice of claim. In the subject case, the appellate court stated that the notice of claim provided alleged the defendants were negligent throughout the course of the plaintiff’s admission to the hospital and set forth the injuries she suffered during that period. As such, the appellate court deemed it sufficient and affirmed the trial court ruling.

Speak to an Experienced Rochester Attorney

Public corporations provide many people with competent care, but they are not immune to making mistakes that cause irreparable harm. If you sustained injuries due to a carelessly performed surgery at a hospital owned by a public corporation, you have the right to seek damages, and you should speak to an attorney. The experienced Rochester surgical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers have ample experience helping people pursue claims against public corporations, and if you hire us, we will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can contact us through our form online or at 833-200-2000 to set up a conference.


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