When medical treatment goes awry and leads to harm, it can be a devastating experience for patients and their families. Medical negligence, also known as medical malpractice, occurs when a healthcare provider fails to provide the standard of care expected in their profession, resulting in injury or even death to the patient. If you believe you’ve been a victim of medical negligence in Buffalo, New York, it’s crucial to understand the steps to proceed with a lawsuit.
Seek Legal Counsel:
Before taking any action, consult an experienced medical malpractice attorney in Buffalo. They can assess the merits of your case and help you understand whether you have a valid claim. A qualified attorney will have a deep understanding of the complexities involved in medical negligence cases and can guide you through the legal process.
Establish the Elements of Medical Negligence:
To pursue a medical negligence lawsuit, you need to prove the following elements:
– Duty of care: The healthcare officer had a duty to give a reasonable standard of care.
– Breach of duty: The officer failed to meet the anticipated standard of care, swinging from what a competent professional would have done in analogous circumstances.
– Causation: The provider’s negligence directly caused the patient’s injury or harm.
– Damages: The patient suffered quantifiable harm, such as physical, emotional, or financial losses.
Your attorney will work with medical experts to help establish these elements and provide evidence that supports your claim.
Medical negligence cases require substantial evidence to establish liability. Your attorney will help gather medical records, diagnostic images, test results, witness testimonies, and expert opinions. These pieces of evidence will help build a strong case by illustrating how the healthcare provider’s actions deviated from the standard of care and directly caused your injuries.
Filing a Notice of Intent:
In New York, including Buffalo, a “Notice of Intent to Commence an Action for Medical, Dental, or Podiatric Malpractice” must be filed at least 90 days before initiating a lawsuit. This notice alerts the defendant healthcare provider that you intend to sue for medical negligence. During this period, the parties may engage in settlement negotiations or discovery discussions. Filing this notice is a critical step, as failing to do so could result in the dismissal of your lawsuit.
It’s essential to be aware of the statute of limitations for medical negligence lawsuits in New York. In general, you have two and a half years from the date of the alleged malpractice to file a lawsuit. However, there are exceptions, so consult your attorney to ensure you file within the appropriate time frame.
Commencing the Lawsuit:
After the 90-day notice period and considering settlement discussions, if no resolution is reached, your attorney will formally file the lawsuit in the appropriate court in Buffalo. The defendant healthcare provider will then be served with a summons and complaint, outlining your allegations of medical negligence.
The Discovery Phase:
During the discovery phase, both parties exchange applicable information and substantiation related to the case. This can include medical records, expert witness reports, and any other documents that might help establish liability and damages. Depositions may also be taken, where witnesses and experts are questioned under oath. The discovery process is crucial for both parties to assess the strength of their case and negotiate potential settlements.
Many medical negligence cases are settled out of court to avoid the time and expenses associated with a trial. Your attorney will negotiate on your behalf with the defendant’s legal team. However, your case will do to trial, if a fair agreement cannot be reached.
If the case goes to trial, both parties will present their arguments and evidence before a judge and potentially a jury. Your attorney will present witnesses, experts, and evidence to demonstrate the defendant’s negligence and its impact on your health and well-being. The defendant’s legal team will counter with their own evidence and arguments. The judge or jury will then determine whether the defendant is liable for medical negligence and, if so, the appropriate number of damages to be awarded.
Navigating a medical negligence lawsuit in Buffalo is a complex process that requires legal expertise, thorough investigation, and attention to detail. By seeking experienced legal counsel, understanding the legal elements involved, and following the steps outlined above, you can pursue justice and compensation for the harm you’ve suffered due to medical negligence.