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New York Court Explains Grounds for Setting Aside a Jury Verdict

Most medical malpractice cases resolve before they reach the trial stage. If they do proceed to trial, however, the parties will typically ask a jury to assess liability and damages. In theory, juries should assess the evidence presented at trial and make a determination based on that evidence, but they do not always rule properly. Fortunately, parties who believe a jury issued a verdict that goes against the weight of the evidence have options for seeking justice. Recently, a New York court explained when setting aside a verdict is appropriate in a medical malpractice case in which the plaintiff argued the jury ruled improperly. If you sustained damages because of negligent medical care, it is smart to speak to a Rochester medical malpractice lawyer to determine what proof you must offer to recover damages.

The History of the Case

It is alleged that the decedent visited the defendant’s doctor with complaints of a cough and chest pain. The defendant prescribed a chest x-ray, which was normal, and advised the decedent he did not appear to be suffering from a chronic or acute condition. A different doctor subsequently diagnosed the decedent with lung cancer. The decedent ultimately succumbed to the illness. The plaintiff, the administrator of the decedent’s estate, filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, alleging he violated the standard of care by failing to order a CT scan. The case proceeded to trial, and the jury found in favor of the defendant. The plaintiff then appealed.

Grounds for Setting Aside a Jury Verdict

On appeal, the plaintiff argued that the verdict should be set aside because it was contrary to the weight of the evidence. The court disagreed and denied her motion. The appellate court explained that a jury verdict in favor of a defendant should not be set aside as contrary to the weight of the evidence unless the evidence weighs so heavily in favor of the plaintiff that the jury could not have arrived at the verdict based on any fair interpretation of the evidence.

The court elaborated that matters of credibility are within the purview of the jury, as it had the opportunity to observe the witnesses and the evidence, and therefore the jury’s determination is entitled to deference. Further, the court explained that where the parties present conflicting expert testimony, the jury is permitted to accept the opinion of one expert and reject the opinion of another. In the subject case, the appellate court found that the jury’s determination that the defendant did not depart from the accepted practice of medicine arose out of a fair interpretation of the evidence. Thus, it denied the plaintiff’s motion.

Meet with a Skilled Rochester Attorney

When doctors fail to conduct the tests needed to provide their patients with an accurate diagnosis it can lead to critical harm, and may be grounds for pursuing a medical malpractice claim. If you sustained injuries due to the negligence of a doctor, you should meet with an attorney to discuss your rights. The skilled Rochester attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers can advise you of your options and aid you in seeking the most favorable outcome available under the facts of your case. You can reach us via our online form or by calling 833-200-2000 to set up a meeting.



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