MEDICAL MALPRACTICE

Medical malpractice cases are complex and take an emotional toll on a family to prosecute.  That’s why you need someone with extensive experience in evaluating and resolving medical malpractice cases to review your records, identify and work with top medical experts in the field and who possesses the experience to know when you should move forward with a lawsuit and when a bad outcome does not result in a viable case.

THE PROVIDER’S STANDARD OF CARE

Medical providers must meet the standard of care recognized in their particular area of practice for assessing, diagnosing and treating the condition you present with.  The standard of care required may be different based on any number of factors.  It can be determined by information gleaned from the medical history, observations of signs and symptoms during physical examination, an individual’s reaction to treatment and any other number of factors.  Where a medical provider makes a choice between one or more acceptable alternatives for assessment, diagnosis and treatment and makes the wrong choice, this is not considered malpractice in New York.  In that case, the provider exercised his or her judgment.  Errors in judgment are not considered to be malpractice.  The error must be demonstrable based on the medical records, testimony and documentation of treatment.

THE FAILURE TO MEET THE STANDARD CAUSED THE INJURY

In New York State, a Certificate of Merit must be filed with a medical malpractice lawsuit.  The attorney handling the case must swear under oath that they have consulted with a physician licensed to practice medicine that has reviewed the case and determined it has merit.

For a case to have merit, the plaintiff must be able to prove that the provider failed to meet the required standard of care and that that failure caused the injury or resulted in a loss of chance at a better outcome or recovery.  Both of these criteria must be met.

Each case will require a different level of scrutiny to determine whether the provider’s failures caused the injury or death. Sometimes it will require determining whether a delay in diagnosis made a difference in the progression of the illness or condition or ultimate outcome.  Sometimes it will require determining whether a different approach to a surgical procedure would have avoided injury.  Sometimes it will require determining whether a different course of treatment would have resulted in a better health outcome or avoided a bad outcome. Sometimes it will require determining whether additional consultations or referrals were necessary to make a timely and correct diagnosis.  There are many questions that have to be answered by medical experts in the fields of medicine applicable to your claims.  The answers will be dependent on the circumstances of your individual case.

EXPERT MEDICAL WITNESSES MAKE THE DIFFERENCE

You need an attorney with the experience in this area of practice who can identify the medical issues presented by your situation, identify the fields of medicine that are implicated by your claims and who can identify medical experts that are actively practicing and leaders in their fields of medicine to review your case.  Where a case has merit, the successful prosecution of the claims will rely heavily on the quality of the medical witnesses supporting the claims.

EXPERIENCE MATTERS

Medical malpractice claims should not be handled by any attorney.  You need an attorney that has focused on this area of practice and prosecuted these claims who can identify and unravel the medical issues in your case.  You need an attorney who can quickly comprehend the medicine and knows the anatomy well enough to communicate on par with medical providers, but present your claims in plain English so that a jury can understand what happened to you.  You need an attorney that can identify the experts and get access to their services to make the difference for your claims.  In today’s era of electronic medical record keeping, you also now need an attorney that has the savvy to understand the electronic medical record.  You need an attorney who knows how to gain access to information embedded in the electronic record and can uncover additional clues regarding how your care was delivered and where, when and by whom the errors were originally made.  I have dedicated my career to handling medical malpractice and catastrophic injury claims. If your potential claims involve any of the following, please call.

  • Surgical errors
  • Medication errors
  • Failure to diagnose cancer or other conditions
  • Failure to deliver appropriate cancer treatment
  • Birth injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Brain injuries resulting from lack of oxygen
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Brachial plexus injuries
  • Loss of vision
  • Nerve damage
  • Death

AUTOMOBILE NEGLIGENCE

You were obeying the rules of the road.  You were driving carefully.  You were watching out for others.  Your life changed because a negligent driver didn’t do the same for you.

 

You were just involved in an accident.  What do you do now? 

  • Get the medical attention you need
  • Get a copy of the accident exchange information form
  • Report the claim to your auto carrier
  • Complete a No-Fault claim form within 30 days of your accident
  • If you can, get photographs of your vehicle
  • If you can, get photographs of the accident scene
  • If you can, get the names of any witnesses to your accident
  • Tell medical providers you were involved in a car accident and give them your auto claim number for billing
  • Follow-up with your physicians as directed and follow their orders
  • Report all of your injuries and symptoms to your providers

 

Your Ability to Bring a Lawsuit Against the Other Driver

New York State is a “no-fault” state.  That means in order to bring a lawsuit against the other driver, you must be able to establish a few things.  You must be able to show that the other driver was negligent, or at fault for the accident.  You must be able to show that the other driver’s negligence was a proximate cause, in other words, a substantial factor in causing your injuries.  You must be able to show that you suffered a “serious injury.”  The term “serious injury” is a term of art.  In order to demonstrate that you meet this threshold, you must have a qualifying injury.  New York State Insurance Law defines a “serious injury” as one of the following:

  • Death
  • Dismemberment
  • Significant disfigurement
  • Fracture
  • Loss of a fetus
  • Permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function or system
  • Permanent consequential limitation of a body organ or member
  • Significant limitation of use of a body function or system
  • Medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature which prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute such person’s usual and customary daily activities for not less than 90 days during the 180 days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, please reach out today.

 

Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse

You can remember every time your loved one held your hand through a difficult time.  You can remember the moments when your loved one showed great strength and resilience.  You can remember the moment you had to decide that it was time to find a nursing home.  Few decisions are more difficult.   You did everything you could to research the facilities.  You took great pains to pick a facility that looked safe, that smelled better than the others, that seemed to have friendly staff.  You wanted your loved one to be safe.  You wanted them to preserve their dignity.  You wanted them to be cared for the way they always cared for you.

We live in an area with some of the most expensive facilities in New York State.  The majority of nursing homes in New York State are owned by private corporations.  As a result, the desire to make sure profits are outpacing expenses drives care decisions, staffing decisions and facility upkeep decisions and the day-to-day operations on all levels. No matter how often you and your family are at the nursing home, you cannot watch over every staff member and make sure all of your loved one’s care needs are met.  Unfortunately, most times there are not enough hands-on-deck to care for all of the residents in the nursing home.  Staff turns over repeatedly.  Too many residents have high levels of needs.  Supervisors aren’t ensuring that treatments and medications are being administered correctly.  Your loved one’s care plan is not met.  It only takes one mistake to shatteryour fragile loved one’s quality of life for the rest of their life.  It only takes one mistake to take a life.

NURSING HOME DUTIES

In New York State, we havea Nursing Home Resident’s Statement of Rights. All residents have these rights.

Nursing homes are required to make proper and timely assessments of your loved one’s condition.  Nursing homes are required to create and implement a Care Plan that addresses all of your loved one’s care and emotional and social needs.  Nursing homes are required to make sure that the Care Plan is updated when your loved one’s condition changes.

YOUR NURSING HOME’S TRACK RECORD

Did you know you can access the profile of your nursing home?  You can find out how many beds the facility has, any violations of New York State Public Health law identified at the facility and find ownership information. Nursing homes in New York must undergo an annual inspection by the New York State Department of Health.  The inspection results in a report detailing any deficiencies found.  When deficiencies are identified, the nursing home must submit a plan of correction to the Department of Health for approval.  The nursing home will then be re-inspected to make sure that the plan of correction is being implemented and deficiencies are corrected.  The annual reports for your nursing home are available for your review along with the nursing home profile.

FAMILY MEETINGS AND ADVOCATING FOR YOUR LOVED ONE

You have the right as your loved one’s health care proxy, power of attorney or guardian to request a meeting with the nursing home to address any concerns you have. You can bring an advocate with you to these meetings.  You can request reasonable and necessary changes to your loved one’s care plan.

MAKING THE NURSING HOMES ACCOUNTABLE

You can hold the nursing home accountable for a nursing home resident’s injuries or death in more than one way.  The path you choose will largely be driven by your goals as a family.  No family comes in and tells me that it is about the money.  Families tell me they want to provide for their loved one in better ways and that they don’t want another family to go through this.

The New York State Department of Health has a Nursing Home Complaint hotline. You can report concerns about nursing home care directly to the Department of Health.  This will not result in any monetary compensation for your loved one, or their Estate, but it will result in an investigation of the facility’s delivery of care.  A report detailing the findings will be issued.  Where there are violations, a plan of correction will be required.

The New York State Public Health Law provides a resident or the Estate of a resident with the right to bring a private lawsuit against a nursing home for compensation for the resident’s injuries or death.  The statute sets a minimum recovery for injuries. The statute allows for recovery of attorneys’ fees incurred in prosecuting the case.  The statute also provides for the assessment of punitive damages meant to punish the nursing home for egregious failures to care for a resident.

If your loved one has been injured or has died as the result of poor nursing home care, you need answers and someone to take responsibility.

Please call with any of the following concerns with nursing home care.

  • Falls with fractures
  • Bed sores
  • Improper medication administration
  • Malnutrition or dehydration
  • Choking
  • Improper use of physical or medical restraints
  • Untimely death of a loved one

Premises Liability

Duties to Keep You Safe

In New York, owners have a duty to keep their properties in a reasonably safe condition.  It should be free of dangers and hazards that can cause you injury.  There is a duty to warn you of unsafe conditions.  If a property owner is doing work at the location, there is a duty to conduct that work in a reasonably safe manner.

Notice of the Conditions or Creation of a Dangerous Condition

Unless the property owner created the dangerous condition, the owner must have some notice of the condition to be held accountable.  Notice can come in the form of actual notice to the owner verbally or in writing.  Notice can also be inferred because the condition existed for such a period of time that the owner had an opportunity to discover and correct it.

A Property Owner’s Carelessness Can Change Your Life

Regardless of the nature of the condition that caused your injuries, we can discuss your options.  If you have been injured as the result of any of the following, please call.

  • Unsafe conditions
  • Failure to warn of dangerous conditions
  • Failure to inspect the property
  • Failure to maintain the property
  • Failure to repair the property
  • Poor workmanship and defective construction
  • Poor lighting
  • Uneven surfaces
  • Wet or icy conditions
  • Poor indoor air quality and mold
  • Exposure to hazardous substances

Student Advocacy

You sent your child to school with the intention of providing them with the best education.  You wanted them to have a positive experience.  You expected them to be guided by and supervised by qualified adults in your absence.  They went off to school full of hope and excitement.

Then, something happened.  School wasn’t a positive experience.  Your child’s needs weren’t met.  Your child was hurt.  Your child was afraid.  Your child didn’t have the supports they needed.  Your child was still being bothered by the same student you reported before. The teacher wasn’t there.  The school didn’t follow through.

Whatever the reason for your child’s struggles at school, there can be a better solution.

Accidents and Incidents on School Grounds

Students’ injuries may be physical or emotional or both, depending on the circumstances of their experiences at school.  Any number of factors can lead to injury.  Regardless of how this happened, let’s discuss a way forward.  If your child has experienced any of the following, please call.

  • Unsafe conditions in school or on school grounds
  • Unsafe equipment
  • Failure to supervise students
  • Bullying
  • Harassment
  • Failure to follow Individualized Educational Programs or 504 Plans leading to injury

Access to Appropriate Education and Planning Supports

Every student is entitled to a Free and Appropriate Public Education in the least restrictive environment.  Every student’s learning and emotional needs are unique.  The same classrooms and teachers will not work.  Whether you are at the beginning of discussions with the district or you feel that you are at the end of the line with negotiations, I can assist you through the following circumstances.

  • Special Education Policies and Procedures
  • Individualized Educational Programs
  • 504 Plans
  • Reasonable Modifications
  • Committee on Special Education Meetings
  • Homeschooling
  • Requests for Records
  • Disciplinary Consequences and Manifestation Determinations
  • Appropriate Educational Placements

Reach Out Today