Articles Posted in Podiatry Malpractice

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Doctors frequently work for other physicians or facilities. As such, if a physician’s carelessness causes harm, the injured party may not only be able to pursue claims against the doctor but also the party that employed him or her. In a recent New York opinion, the court explained what a plaintiff must establish to prove a vicarious liability claim against a hospital for negligent care provided by a physician, in a matter where the plaintiff alleged podiatrist malpractice. If you were hurt by the carelessness of a foot doctor, you might be able to pursue claims for damages, and it is advisable to speak to a trusted Syracuse podiatry malpractice lawyer to determine your potential claims.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

It is reported that the plaintiff was referred to the defendant podiatrist by his primary care physician. The plaintiff treated with the defendant podiatrist for a laceration in his big toe. At the time, the plaintiff was working as an independent contractor for the defendant practice and the defendant physician. Due to unspecified harm, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant podiatrist. He then amended the complaint to include claims against the defendant practice and physician, alleging they were vicariously liable. They ultimately moved to dismiss the claims against them via summary judgment.

Vicarious Liability for Medical Malpractice

Pursuant to the doctrine of respondent superior, a doctor or care facility may be deemed vicariously liable for the negligence of its employee. In cases in which no employment relationship exists, they may be vicariously liable under theories of agency, apparent agency, or control in fact. In the subject case, the defendant practice and physician argued they could not be deemed liable for the defendant podiatrist because he was an independent contractor and not an employee, and they did not exercise control over his work performance. Continue reading

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In New York medical malpractice cases, the plaintiff bears the initial burden of proving that the defendant’s failure to act in a manner that complies with the applicable standard caused the plaintiff to suffer harm. If the plaintiff meets this burden, the burden then shifts to the defendant, who must show that the evidence, on its face, demonstrates that the plaintiff’s claims must be dismissed. As such, if a defendant meets its burden of proof, a plaintiff can only avoid dismissal by showing that a triable issue of material fact exists. If a defendant does not meet its burden, however, the plaintiff’s claims will not be dismissed despite the strength of the plaintiff’s evidence in opposition to a motion for dismissal, as shown in a recent podiatry malpractice case. If you were harmed by negligent care rendered by a podiatrist, it is advisable to speak to a Syracuse podiatry malpractice attorney to analyze your possible claims.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the defendant, a podiatrist, performed a plantar fasciotomy on the plaintiff’s left foot. Following the procedure, the plaintiff began experiencing numbness in her fifth toe, difficulty walking, and pain. The plaintiff then filed a medical malpractice claim against the defendant podiatrist and the defendant podiatrist’s employer. At the close of discovery, the defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, in which it asked the court to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims. The defendants’ motion was denied, after which they appealed.

The Defendant’s Burden in New York Medical Malpractice Cases

On appeal, the appellate court affirmed the trial court’s ruling. The appellate court stated that a plaintiff must prove that a defendant departed from the applicable standard of care and that the departure was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s damages, in order to recover compensation under a medical malpractice claim. As such, a defendant moving for summary judgment must make a prima facie showing either that he or she did not depart from the standard of care or that any departure did not cause the plaintiff to suffer harm. If the defendant makes a prima facie showing, the burden shifts to the plaintiff to produce evidence or materials that demonstrate that a disputed issue of fact exists that must be resolved via trial.

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The law provides many safeguards that a plaintiff in a medical malpractice case can use to remedy results that are perceived to be unjust. For example, even if a judge or jury finds in favor of a defendant, a plaintiff in a malpractice case has the right to seek a new trial. A new trial will only be granted in certain circumstances, however, as recently explained by the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York, in a case arising out of an alleged failure to obtain informed consent and other deviations from the standard of care during a foot surgery. If you suffered damages due to inadequate care provided by a podiatrist, you can consult with a capable Syracuse podiatry malpractice attorney regarding the compensation that you may be able to recover for your harm.

Factual and Procedural Background

The plaintiff filed a medical malpractice case against the defendant podiatrist, alleging that the defendant failed to obtain the plaintiff’s informed consent prior to a surgical procedure and that the defendant deviated from the applicable standard of care. Following a trial, the jury found in favor of the defendant. The plaintiff subsequently filed a motion for a new trial.

The Standard for Granting a New Trial

Under federal law, a new trial will only be granted if the verdict rendered by the jury or judge is against the clear weight of the evidence, the trial court acted unfairly, significant evidentiary errors occurred, the jury received improper or inadequate instructions, or the judge or jury awarded excessive damages. Thus, a new trial is only warranted in cases in which it is necessary to rectify a miscarriage of justice or a clearly erroneous result, after reviewing all the evidence of record. In other words, courts are not granted the discretion to reevaluate the evidence and vacate a jury’s verdict merely because a reasonable jury could have come to a different conclusion under the facts of the case, or because the judge believes taht another result was justified.

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