New York’s medical malpractice laws

Understanding the basics of New York’s medical malpractice laws is important for anyone who suspects they have been the victim of a medical error.

Doctors are supposed to be people that New Yorkers can place their trust in without concern. There are many ethical and qualified providers and, as a result, many patients do enjoy a high level of care quality. However, there are sadly far too many times when this is not the case. Medical errors can be serious and scary for victims.

Over the last two years, SputnikNews.com reports that claims of medical malpractice involving public hospitals and clinics in New York have increased. There has also been a rise in the number of malpractice claims involving the Health and Hospitals Corporation, which serves approximately 1.4 million patients. These 11 facilities throughout New York City were involved in 521 claims of medical errors in 2015. That compares with 495 the previous year.

Are there damage award limits in New York?

The National Conference of State Legislatures explains that New York is one of the states that does not limit financial compensation in medical malpractice damage awards. People can receive award payments as lump sums or via installments. The state also has a special fund that helps to provide compensation for birth-related neurological injuries.

What is the statute of limitations in New York?

The statute of limitations provides a set timeframe in which any medical malpractice claim can be initiated. According to the New York Daily News, the State of New York has adopted an approach that is quite different than that of most other states.

Most states in the U.S. have what is called a discovery rule. Under this rule, the medical malpractice statute of limitations begins from the date on which an injury is first discovered. This can be different-and much later-than the date on which an injury actually occurred. New York is one of only six states that does not have such a rule. The statute of limitations for all medical error cases begins when the injury happens, even if the victim is unaware of it at the time.

In 2013, an attempt was made to change this and introduce a discovery rule but the New York State Senate reports it was unsuccessful. Cases in which people do not learn about a medical mistake until after the statute of limitations has run out were the impetus for this effort.

Prompt action is important

With the combination of New York's statute of limitations laws and the dangers involved in many medical errors, patients should not hesitate if they suspect a problem. Talking to an attorney is recommended at these times.