The Turkewitz Law Firm
New York Personal Injury Attorney ♦ Medical Malpractice ♦ Trial Lawyer
Serving Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Rockland, Dutchess, Westchester, Nassau & Suffolk Counties
228 E. 45 St., 17th Floor
New York, NY 10017
Phone: (212) 983-5900
What is Medical Malpractice in New York?
When lawyers analyze medical malpractice cases, we work backwards. That is to say, we start with the law that the judge will give to a jury at the end of a trial – which is an event that may be a few years away from the intake of a case. But it is that law that guides the analysis.
There are three essential parts:
Or, as I like to say, it’s similar to backing out of a driveway without looking.
Many of the cases are defended on another principle that the judge will give to the jury before it deliberates. And that is, that “mere errors of judgment” are not negligence.
It is this conflict – is something a departure from good practice or a mere error of judgment? – that underpins many malpractice cases. This, oft-times, runs headlong into a “battle of the experts” with some saying there is a departure from practice and others saying it was just an error of judgment.
Given the huge reluctance by juries in bringing back verdicts against medical professionals, these concepts lead to malpractice attorneys being very selective in the cases that we take. You can read about the vetting process here.
Now this part about being “a” cause, as opposed to “the” cause, is important, for injuries may come from multiple causes. As an example, a woman goes to a doctor with a lump in her breast and the doctor says, “Don’t worry about it.” Ten months later the cancer is found. The doctor didn’t give her the cancer, but did contribute to the delay in prompt and proper treatment. There are therefore, multiple causes of advanced disease.
In a malpractice suite, the doctor would only be liable in such a case for the additional injury caused by the delay.
A final note:
Because medical malpractice cases are so very expensive, difficult and time-consuming, it is often true that the extent of the injury simply doesn’t warrant the other analysis. In other words, with smaller injuries, the medical community enjoys de facto immunity from suit.
You can see a list of medical malpractice cases that Turkewitz has handled at this link.