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New York Court Find Triable Issue of Fact in A Medical Malpractice Case

In a medical malpractice lawsuit, both the plaintiff and defendant have burdens of proof that they must meet to win the case. If a defendant meets the burden of proof of producing evidence, that on its face shows no substandard treatment, the case may be dismissed unless the plaintiff rebuts the defendant’s evidence by showing there is a triable issue of fact.

This was illustrated in a recent New York appellate court case in which the court overturned a trial court ruling granting the defendants’ motion for summary judgment, where the appellate court found there was a triable issue. If you suffered harm due to insufficient care or monitoring in a hospital you, should meet with an experienced Rochester medical malpractice attorney to determine whether you may be able to seek damages from the hospital and any doctor that treated you.

Factual Allegations

Reportedly, the plaintiff was admitted to the defendant hospital with stroke symptoms. At some point after he was admitted, he fell out of his hospital bed. The plaintiff and his wife subsequently filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant hospital and the defendant physician that treated him at the hospital. Following discovery, the defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, which the trial court granted. The plaintiffs then appealed.

 Triable Issue of Fact

It is well established that under New York law, a plaintiff seeking damages under a theory of medical malpractice must prove that the medical provider departed from the accepted standard of care and the deviation caused the plaintiff’s harm. To have a case dismissed via summary judgment a defendant must produce evidence showing either that there was no deviation from the standard of care or that any deviation was not the cause of the plaintiff’s harm. Even if a defendant meets this burden, however, a plaintiff can still proceed with his or her case if he or she produces evidence of a triable issue of a material fact.

The court found that the defendants in the subject case produced expert reports opining that the defendants had not deviated from the standard of care accepted in the community and that no alleged deviation caused the plaintiff’s harm. As such, the defendants met their burden of proof. The court noted, however, that in granting the defendants’ motion for summary judgment the trial court ignored the fact that the plaintiff had raised triable issues of fact. Specifically, the court noted that the plaintiff produced an expert report stating that the monitoring and precautions against falls employed by the hospital did not meet the standard of care when considering the plaintiff’s symptoms. Further, the expert report linked the insufficient care to an increase in the progression of the plaintiff’s intracranial hemorrhage. Based on the foregoing, the court reversed the trial court ruling.

Set up a Consultation with an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney

Hospitals and the medical staff they employee are required to provide treatment that meets the accepted level of care.  If you suffered injuries due to medical malpractice in a hospital, you should meet with an experienced Rochester medical malpractice attorney to discuss your options for pursuing compensation. The skilled Rochester medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano will work diligently to help you obtain a favorable outcome under the facts of your case. We can be reached at 315-479-9000 or via our online form to set up a free and confidential meeting.

More Blog Posts:

Premature Discharge from Hospitals in Rochester and Across New York,  Rochester Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Blog, January 25, 2018

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