What is the standard of care in New York medical malpractice cases?

When a medical professional violates the standard of care and a patient suffers harm as a result, New York statutes provide patients with the right to file a legal action and seek recovery for damages through a medical malpractice suit. But, what is exactly is the “standard of care” and how do you prove that your doctor violated it?

What is the standard of care in New York?

“Standard of care” is the care and attention that a medical professional is expected to give, as well as the procedures they are expected to follow, based on other medical professionals with comparable backgrounds in the same line of work. In other words, the standard of care in the medical field is the sets of rules and protocols that all professionals within a given field are expected to know and abide by.

All board-certified doctors and other medical professionals have reached a certain level of certification. They are expected to have gone through rigorous training and know what is called for in a wide range of field-specific situations. When a patient visits a neurologist with symptoms and health complaints, for instance, the neurologist should know which diagnostic tests to administer, what the symptoms suggest, and what types of treatment to offer. This standard of care will be the same across the board for any neurologist in New York – and the country, for that matter.

How do you establish and prove the doctor violated the standard of care?

In order to successfully pursue a medical malpractice claim or lawsuit, you and your attorney must be able to show that the doctor’s actions (or inaction) were outside of the standard of care. The doctor must have done something or made a decision that other doctors in the same situation would not have done. If the doctor somehow breached the standard of care she owed you, her actions can constitute as negligence, which would make her legally liable for the harm she caused you.

There are various pieces of information that can be used as evidence to support your claim. In almost every medical malpractice case in New York, the plaintiff (victim) is required to provide testimonies from medical professionals to establish what the standards of care are. In fact, medical expert witnesses are one of the most vital pieces of evidence of a malpractice case.

For instance, if you are suing a neurologist (defendant) for failing to diagnose a brain tumor, you need to have a third party neurological expert explain what the standard of care was for your situation, and testify on your behalf that:

  • The defendant’s actions were in breach of the standard of care
  • Other neurologists in the position would have made different choices, e.g., administered different tests, interpreted the tests differently, looked into your medical history more carefully, etc.
  • Other doctors who had adhered to the standard of care would have likely made a correct diagnosis

Other items that can help prove your doctor violated the standard of care include your medical records and case histories. Your attorney can help you identify and collect the necessary evidence for your case.

Where can I find a medical malpractice lawyer in New York?

When you sustain a serious injury or lose a loved one because of medical negligence, you are entitled to seek compensation for your damages and suffering. Consulting with a medical malpractice lawyer can help you better understand your rights, determine liability for your injuries, and decide if you have a medical malpractice case worth pursuing.

At Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C. we have formed a dedicated network of medical malpractice lawyers and medical field expert referrals that serve clients throughout New York. We serve residents of the five boroughs with all of their legal needs for injuries and wrongful death. For help with your medical malpractice claim, contact us today at 888-LAW-8500.

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