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Court Explains Shifting Burdens of Proof in New York Medical Malpractice Cases

People hospitalized with significant health concerns will often be discharged to skilled nursing facilities to recuperate until they are well enough to return home. Sadly, rather than getting well, some people suffer critical harm. Such injuries do not always mean that they are the victims of medical malpractice, though, as demonstrated in a recent New York case in which the court found that the plaintiff failed to demonstrate that a material issue of fact existed with regard to the defendants’ medical negligence. If you want to learn more about your options for seeking compensation against healthcare providers that caused you or a loved one harm, it is prudent to talk to a Syracuse medical malpractice attorney.

History of the Cases

Allegedly, the plaintiff’s father was admitted to a skilled nursing facility operated by the defendant in July 2009 and received treatment from the defendant attending physician, and the defendant podiatrist, among others. After being diagnosed with a right heel blister in June 2010, which developed into a severe pressure ulcer, the father was transferred to a hospital for further evaluation and treatment. Subsequently, his right leg was partially amputated.

Reportedly, the plaintiff, acting as the decedent’s personal guardian, initiated the action against the defendants, seeking damages for medical malpractice. After the decedent’s death, the plaintiff was appointed as the administrator of his estate and continued the lawsuit. The defendants individually moved for summary judgment, which was granted by the trial court. The plaintiff appealed.

Shifting Burdens of Proof in Medical Malpractice Cases

On appeal, the court affirmed the order granting summary judgment in favor of all defendants. In doing so, the court explained that in a New York medical malpractice action, the defendant must establish the absence of any departure from good medical practice or that the plaintiff was not injured thereby. Once the defendant meets this burden, the plaintiff must demonstrate a triable issue of fact on the elements addressed by the defendant.

In the subject case, the defendants each met their respective burdens, supported by expert affirmations addressing the allegations of malpractice. In opposition, the court found that the plaintiff failed to raise a triable issue of fact regarding the pleaded theories of liability. Furthermore, the plaintiff improperly raised a new theory of liability in opposition to the defendants’ motions, and the plaintiff’s experts’ opinions were insufficient to rebut the defendants’ experts. Thus, the court concluded that the trial court correctly granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants. With these determinations, the plaintiff’s remaining contentions were deemed moot.

Confer with a Seasoned Syracuse Medical Malpractice Attorney

People in skilled nursing facilities frequently require thorough and attentive care, but unfortunately, they are often the victims of medical negligence. If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a healthcare facility, it is in your best interest to confer with an attorney about whether you may be able to recover damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit. The seasoned Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers can assess your harm and help you seek any compensation you may be owed. You can reach us at 833-200-2000 or via the form online to arrange a meeting.

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