Articles Posted in Oncology Malpractice

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Medical malpractice cases in New York, like all other New York cases, must be filed within the timeframe proscribed by the statute of limitations, otherwise, the plaintiff may lose the right to recover compensation. While medical malpractice claims must be commenced within two and a half years from the date of harm, when a lawsuit is instituted after the injured party’s death, there may be a dispute over when the statute of limitations begins to run. This was demonstrated in a recent New York case in which the plaintiff’s decedent died due to complications from cancer. If you were diagnosed with cancer and subsequently sustained injuries due to the carelessness of the doctor responsible for your treatment, it is important to speak to a skillful Syracuse oncology malpractice attorney promptly to avoid waiving your right to recover damages.

Factual and Procedural History

Allegedly, the plaintiff’s decedent was treated by the defendants for cancer. He ultimately passed away due to complications related to his cancer in August 2015. In May of 2016, the plaintiff instituted an action against the defendants alleging claims of medical malpractice and wrongful death arising out of their treatment of the decedent. Specifically, the complaint alleged the defendants were negligent during the decedent’s hospitalization in July and August 2013. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s lawsuit, arguing that her claims were barred by the statute of limitations. The trial court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

Statute of Limitations in New York for Wrongful Death Claims in Malpractice Suits

Under New York law, when someone entitled to pursue a claim dies, the representative of his or her estate can pursue a claim on behalf of the estate within one year of the person’s death. In the subject case, the plaintiff demonstrated that she was granted letters of administration in February of 2016, and she commenced the claim by May of 2016. As such, the appellate court ruled that she pursued her claims within the time afforded by law.

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It is not uncommon for a person seeking medical treatment to travel to another state or for a care provider to treat patients in more than one state. In a patient is harmed by treatment rendered by an out of state care provider, though, it can be difficult to determine the proper jurisdiction for pursuing a medical malpractice claim. Recently, a New York appellate court discussed a plaintiff’s burden of proof in establishing that a medical malpractice case was filed in the appropriate jurisdiction, in a case in which the plaintiff alleged she suffered harm due to treatment from a New Jersey oncologist. If you were injured by inadequate care provided by an oncologist, it is advisable to consult a capable Syracuse oncology malpractice attorney to discuss the proper procedure for pursuing a claim for damages.

The Plaintiff’s Treatment

Allegedly, the plaintiff was referred by the defendant New York hospital, to the defendant care center in New Jersey. The defendant care center provided the plaintiff with proton therapy treatment, which caused her to go blind. As such, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant care center and the defendant providers, who specialized in radiation oncology. The New Jersey defendants filed a motion to dismiss based on lack of personal jurisdiction. The trial court denied the motion and ordered the parties to engage in jurisdictional discovery. Discovery was conducted, and the New Jersey defendants again filed a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, which the court again denied. The New Jersey defendants appealed.

Jurisdiction Over Out of State Providers

On appeal, the court reversed the trial court ruling, finding that the plaintiff failed to produce evidence sufficient to show that the court could properly exercise jurisdiction over the New Jersey defendants. Specifically, the plaintiff was required to prove that the defendants, on their own volition, reached into the state of New York for the purposes of engaging in sustained and substantial business transactions that were directly related to the plaintiff’s claims, in order for the court to exercise jurisdiction under the New York long-arm statute.

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