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Court Discusses Substitution of Parties in Medical Malpractice Cases

When dealing with any health issues it is imperative to obtain an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment in a timely manner. A doctor’s failure to promptly diagnose and treat a person’s illness or condition can result in severe detriments and may sadly lead to a person’s premature death.  In cases where a plaintiff suffers an untimely death after the lawsuit has been filed, it is critical to follow the proper procedures for preserving the claim. This was evidenced in a recent New York appellate court case in which the court affirmed the dismissal of the plaintiff’s case for the failure to properly substitute parties after the plaintiff’s death. If you suffered damages due to the loss of your treating physician’s failure to diagnose or treat you promptly it is essential to meet with a capable Syracuse failure to diagnose malpractice attorney to discuss your case and what you must prove to recover damages.

Factual and Procedural Background

It is alleged that the plaintiffs, husband and wife, filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant medical center and defendant physician, claiming that the physician committed malpractice by failing to diagnose the plaintiff husband in a timely manner, and that the defendant medical center was negligent for failing to properly supervise the physician. Approximately a year after the lawsuit was filed, the plaintiff husband died.

Reportedly, two years after the plaintiff husband’s death, the plaintiff wife filed a separate wrongful death lawsuit against the defendants, as the proposed administrator of the plaintiff husband’s estate. The defendants subsequently filed a motion to dismiss the original lawsuit, due to the plaintiff wife’s failure to pursue a timely substitution of parties on behalf of the plaintiff husband. The trial court granted the motion to dismiss and the plaintiff appealed.

Substitution of Parties After a Plaintiff’s Death

Under New York law, a motion for substitution permits the court to exercise jurisdiction over a deceased party’s successor in interest. Such motions are not merely a technicality but are required, and if the substitution is not made within a reasonable time, the action should be dismissed. Whether the delay in filing a motion to substitute a party is reasonable depends on numerous factors, including the diligence of the party seeking the substitution, the prejudice the delay caused to other parties, and the potential merit of the claim. Here, the court found that the plaintiff wife did not diligently pursue a substitution in a reasonable time. Further, the court noted that the plaintiff wife failed to establish the potential merit of her claim. Thus, the court affirmed the dismissal.

Meet with a Skilled Syracuse Failure to Diagnose Malpractice Attorney to Discuss Your Case

A physician’s failure to diagnose a patient accurately and in a timely manner can lead to irreparable harm, and in some cases, death. If you suffered harm or the loss of a loved one due to the failure of a doctor to diagnose, treat, or monitor an illness or condition you should meet with a skilled Syracuse failure to diagnose malpractice attorney to discuss your case and what compensation you may be able to recover. The capable failure to diagnose malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers will work tirelessly to help you seek a favorable result under the facts of your case. We can be contacted at 833-200-2000 or via the form online to set up a meeting to discuss your case.


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