Even if patients suffer devastating losses as a result of incompetent medical care, they may be denied the recovery of compensation if they do not abide by their duties under the law. For example, if a patient suffers harm in a facility that is considered a State actor, the patient must provide the State with notice of his or her claims within a certain time frame, or they may waive the right to pursue claims against the State. In some instances, though, a court may grant an exception to the notice requirement, as demonstrated in a recent New York birth injury case. If your child suffered harm during delivery, it is wise to confer with a skillful Syracuse birth injury lawyer to discuss your legal rights and duties.
Factual and Procedural History
Allegedly, the plaintiff-mother visited the defendant hospital, which is owned by the State, to give birth. During the delivery of the plaintiff-mother’s son, the doctors employed by the defendant used forceps, which caused injuries that ultimately led to the infant’s death. The plaintiff-mother and plaintiff-father then filed a motion for leave seeking permission to file a late claim, pursuant to the Court of Claims Act, which dictates the manner in which claims against the State must proceed. The trial court denied the motion, after which the plaintiffs appealed. On review, the appellate court reversed the trial court ruling, granting the plaintiffs leave.
Notice Requirements Under the Court of Claims Act
Pursuant to the Court of Claims Act, a court has the discretion to permit a plaintiff to file a late claim. In determining whether to grant such permission, the court will weigh several factors, including whether the State had notice of the key facts of the claim, whether the claim seems to have merit, whether the Plaintiff has any other remedy, and whether the State had a reasonable opportunity to investigate the circumstances out of which the claim arose. The court will also look at whether the failure to serve a timely notice of the claim upon the State caused substantial prejudice, and whether the plaintiff’s delay in filing the claim was reasonable. There is no one factor that is controlling, and the absence or presence of any factor is not determinative.