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Court Discusses Expert Evidence in New York Medical Malpractice Cases

Generally, the average judge or juror lacks medical training or an understanding of what constitutes appropriate practices and procedures in the context of medical care. As such, in the majority of medical malpractice cases, the plaintiff must produce evidence in the form of an expert opinion to support their claims. If they fail to do so, it is likely that their claims will be dismissed. This was illustrated recently in an opinion set forth by a New York court in a medical malpractice case. If you were hurt by the recklessness of a physician, you may be owed damages, and it is in your best interest to meet with a Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer to avoid waiving your rights.

The History of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff, acting pro se, filed a medical malpractice and lack of informed consent case against the defendant in federal court. The case arose out of complications following a cosmetic procedure that the plaintiff alleged was improperly performed. Following discovery, the defendant moved for summary judgment on the grounds that the plaintiff’s claims lacked evidentiary support in the form of an expert opinion. The court agreed and granted the defendant’s motion. The plaintiff appealed.

Expert Evidence in New York Medical Malpractice Cases

On appeal, the court affirmed the trial court ruling. The court explained that pursuant to New York law, except in rare cases, a plaintiff must set forth expert testimony showing that there was a deviation from the accepted standards of the practice of medication and that such deviation proximately caused the plaintiff’s harm in order to establish a prima facie case of medical malpractice. In other words, unless the act that allegedly constitutes malpractice falls within the understanding of the jury, expert testimony is required.

The court noted that such expert testimony is required even when medical malpractice claims are based on a lack of informed consent. In the subject case, the plaintiff did not provide any sworn evidence, including expert evidence, in support of her malpractice claims or in rebuttal of the defendant’s expert affirmation. The court found that the fact that the plaintiff was proceeding pro se was not an excuse for her error. Thus, in the absence of evidence in support of her claims in the form of an expert opinion, the court found that the plaintiff failed to demonstrate that a material factual dispute existed that barred the entry of summary judgment against her.

Talk to a Skillful Syracuse Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Even if it seems clear that a patient’s harm was caused by negligent medical care, expert testimony is needed to prove liability in most medical malpractice cases. If you were hurt by incompetently rendered medical treatment, it is prudent to talk to an attorney about your options for seeking damages. The skillful Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers are proficient at recovering damages from negligent healthcare providers, and if you hire us, we will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can contact us through our form online or by calling us at 315-479-9000 to set up a conference.

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