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When does a medical mistake qualify as malpractice in New York?

On Behalf of | Jun 4, 2024 | Medical Malpractice

If you’re wondering whether a medical mistake you experienced is malpractice, you’d have to understand New York’s laws on the matter. Because there are many nuances to this complex issue, there’s no straightforward answer.

By law, for a medical error to be considered malpractice, it must violate the accepted standard of care in the medical field. It must also have directly caused you injury. Proving negligence that led to your preventable harm is key.

Simple mistake versus negligence

It can be tricky to distinguish between a simple mistake and negligence that qualifies as malpractice. To understand the difference, your situation needs to meet these key elements:

  • You had an established doctor-patient relationship
  • Your doctor’s care deviated from accepted medical standards
  • This “breach” of the standard directly caused you harm
  • You suffered measurable damages like pain, disability or financial losses

Many assume if they had a bad medical outcome, it automatically qualifies as malpractice. But a bad result alone isn’t enough to prove malpractice. For instance, if a patient has an allergic reaction to properly prescribed medication, that unexpected reaction would not be considered malpractice. There needs to be proof of negligence that caused preventable injury. Then, it may constitute malpractice under New York law.

Establishing negligence

Your perspective as the patient is different from the legal definition of malpractice. For you, any significant injury is devastating—whether technically “malpractice” or not. But you must prove malpractice before a court will award you damages for suffering from medical negligence. Proving it requires establishing those critical elements of medical malpractice mentioned above. Navigating this process alone can prove extremely difficult. This is especially true if you’ve been suffering for a while from injuries like chronic pain, disability or emotional trauma. In New York, before a Medical Malpractice lawyer can file a lawsuit, she or he must provide your records to a medical expert who will review and make the determination whether the case should proceed. Lawyers must sign a certificate of case merit to show that this was done.

Are you suffering injuries from a health care provider?

If you believe you’re the victim of possible medical negligence, you should consider getting help from an attorney. A legal professional experienced in malpractice can evaluate all your medical records and unique situation. Their review may help you get compensation for the malpractice-related damages, losses and suffering you have endured.