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Court Analyzes Notice to Public Corporation Required to Pursue Medical Malpractice Claims Under New York Law

In medical malpractice cases, as with all cases, it is important to follow any procedural rules. If a plaintiff does not properly comply with the laws regarding notice and statutory limitations periods, he or she may waive the right to recover damages regardless of whether the defendant medical professional provided inadequate care. For example, under New York medical malpractice law, a plaintiff pursuing a medical malpractice claim against a public corporation is required to provide the corporation with notice of the essential facts of the claim within 90 days of the alleged harm.

Recently, a New York appellate court discussed the notice requirements and what constitutes actual notice, in a medical malpractice case pursued against a municipal rescue squad. If you sustained permanent injuries because of negligent care from a medical professional, it is important to consult a trusted Syracuse medical malpractice attorney in a timely manner to avoid waiving your right to recover.

Plaintiff’s Injury and Subsequent Care

Allegedly, the plaintiff tripped and fell down a flight of stairs while she was at a restaurant. The defendant fire and rescue squad responded to a call for emergency medical services. The defendant’s emergency medical technician (EMT) evaluated the plaintiff and provided her with care until a paramedic arrived. The plaintiff was transported to the hospital by the paramedic, and upon her arrival at the hospital reported a loss of sensation in her legs. The plaintiff was ultimately diagnosed a partial paraplegic.

Reportedly, the plaintiff retained an attorney within a month of her fall and approximately a year later commenced a lawsuit against the defendant fire and rescue squad and paramedic. She did not serve defendants with timely notice of her claim, however, and filed a motion for leave to serve late notice. The court granted her motion and defendants appealed.

Notice Required Under New York Law

Under New York law, a person who wishes to sue a public corporation must provide the corporation with notice of the claim within 90 days after the claim arises. In deciding whether to grant leave to serve late notice the court must assess several factors, including whether the corporation had actual notice of the claim, whether the delay would result in prejudice to the corporation, and whether there is a reasonable justification for the delay. In cases where the corporation has actual notice of a claim that factor is afforded greater weight when assessing whether leave to file late notice should be granted.

Here, the court noted that the defendant had an ambulance call report that detailed the facts regarding the plaintiff’s injury and subsequent care. The court stated that while an ambulance call report in and of itself would not constitute actual notice, when a review of the facts in the report indicate malpractice, the report will constitute actual notice of the pertinent facts. The report in this case showed that the defendant rescue squad and paramedics failed to use spinal precautions and follow required protocols. Further, the plaintiff showed the defendants were not prejudiced by the delay. As such, the court affirmed the order granting leave to file late notice.

Meet with a Seasoned Syracuse Medical Malpractice Attorney

Pursuing claims against public corporations, such as a rescue squad, can be complicated. If you were injured by negligent care provided by a rescue squad, you should meet with a Syracuse medical malpractice attorney to discuss the facts of your case and whether you may be able to recover damages. The seasoned medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano will work diligently to help you seek a successful outcome under the facts of your case. We can be reached at 315-479-9000 or through our online form to schedule a free and confidential meeting.

More Blog Posts:

Spinal Cord Injuries as a Result of Medical Malpractice in Syracuse or Elsewhere in New York, Syracuse Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, December 7, 2017

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