If a patient suffers harm at the hands of a doctor, people often assume that the doctor committed malpractice. While in many instances the assumption is accurate, doctors can also hurt people through ordinary carelessness, and in such cases, a medical malpractice claim would not be appropriate. The difference between standard negligence claims and those asserting medical malpractice was the topic of a recent New York opinion in a matter in which the plaintiff asserted she was harmed by the defendant doctor at birth. If you or your child suffered a birth injury, it is important to meet with a knowledgeable Syracuse birth injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss your rights.
The Plaintiff’s Allegations
It is reported that the plaintiff, who was born in 1999, suffered harm after her birth during the transfer from the delivery room. Specifically, she was injured when the defendant obstetrician tossed her to another person. As such, she filed a lawsuit against the defendant on January 6, 2020, alleging claims of negligence. The defendant moved for dismissal, arguing that the plaintiff’s claims sounded in medical malpractice and that she failed to pursue her claims within the statute of limitations or file a required certificate of merit.
Ordinary Negligence Versus Medical Malpractice Under New York Law
Upon review of the pleadings, the court found in favor of the plaintiff. The court explained that, under New York law, the difference between malpractice and ordinary negligence hinges on whether the harmful omissions or acts involve an issue of medical science or art that requires special skills that an ordinary layperson will not typically possess, or whether the behavior at issue can instead be evaluated on the basis of the factfinder’s common everyday experience. Continue reading