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New York Court Discusses Statute of Limitations in Medical Malpractice Cases Involving Minors

People harmed by incompetent medical professionals have a limited amount of time to pursue their claims. If they fail to file a medical malpractice lawsuit within the statute of limitations, they will typically lose the right to recover damages, as illustrated in a recent New York ruling in which the court dismissed the plaintiff’s case, rejecting her assertion that it sounded in negligence rather than medical malpractice. If you were injured by a reckless physician, you should confer with a Rochester medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to avoid waiving your potential claims.

Factual and Procedural History

It is alleged that the defendant was a resident in the hospital where the plaintiff was delivered and attended to the plaintiff’s mother during her March 1999 birth. The defendant allegedly dropped the plaintiff on the floor of the delivery room immediately after she was born. In January 2020, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant.

Reportedly, the defendant moved to dismiss the complaint on the grounds that it was barred by the statute of limitations. The plaintiff opposed the motion, arguing that the statute of limitations for negligence, rather than medical malpractice, applied. The court denied the defendant’s motion, and the defendant appealed.

Statute of Limitations in New York Medical Malpractice Cases Involving Minors

On appeal, the court reversed the trial court ruling. It explained that a defendant that seeks dismissal of a complaint on the basis that it is barred by the statute of limitations bears the burden of proving that the time in which to pursue the action has ended. The plaintiff must then raise a question of fact as to whether the statute did not apply or was tolled or that the action was pursued in a timely manner.

In New York, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases can be tolled for up to 10 years throughout the period of infancy. In evaluating whether an action sounds like ordinary negligence or medical malpractice, the courts will look at the nature of the duty the defendant owed the plaintiff and allegedly breached. A health care provider’s omission or negligent act that constitutes medical care or bears a substantial relationship to medical treatment constitutes malpractice. In the subject case, the court found that the conduct at issue derived from the duty the defendant owed the plaintiff as a result of the patient-doctor relationship and was significantly related to the plaintiff’s medical care. Thus, it found that the plaintiff’s case was barred by the ten-year limitation.

Speak to a Dedicated Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Medical errors can cause permanent detriments, and doctors that carelessly cause their patients harm should be held accountable. If you sustained injuries because of a negligent doctor, you might be owed damages, and you should speak to an attorney. The dedicated Rochester medical malpractice lawyers of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers can assess the facts of your case and develop persuasive arguments on your behalf to help you seek the best legal result available. You can contact us through our form online or by calling us at 585-653-7343 to set up a meeting.

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