Under New York law, not only can a person harmed by an incompetent healthcare provider seek compensation in a medical malpractice lawsuit, but their spouse can pursue claims against the provider as well. If either party dies before the matter is resolved, however, the surviving party must move to substitute an appropriate representative. If they fail to do so, their right to recover damages on behalf of the deceased party may be lost, as shown in a recent ruling issued by a New York court. If you suffered injuries due to the carelessness of your physician, you might be owed compensation, and it is wise to speak to a Syracuse medical malpractice attorney about your options.
Background of the Case
It is reported that in 2014 the plaintiff, along with her husband, initiated a malpractice lawsuit against several defendants. The first and second causes of action, medical malpractice and lack of informed consent, were asserted by the plaintiff, while the third cause of action was a derivative claim asserted by the husband. In May 2016, the husband passed away. In January 2018, the plaintiff became the administrator of the husband’s estate. In January 2020, two of the defendants moved to dismiss the complaint against them under CPLR 1021. The trial court granted both motions, and the plaintiff appealed.
The Impact of a Party’s Death on a Medical Malpractice Case
On appeal, the court affirmed the trial court’s ruling as to the derivative claim but reversed as to the plaintiff’s claims. The court explained that CPLR 1021 provides that if the need for substitution arises before a final judgment and the substitution is not carried out within a reasonable timeframe, the claims asserted by the party for whom substitution should have occurred can be dismissed. Continue Reading ›