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Court Explains Sufficiency of Expert Reports in New York Medical Malpractice Cases

In New York, whether a medical malpractice case is successful typically hinges on whether the judge or jury finds either party’s expert reports to be adequate or compelling. As such, both plaintiffs and defendants will often argue the opposing party’s expert reports are deficient, or that their expert lacks the qualifications needed to offer an opinion. Recently, a New York court discussed the sufficiency of expert reports in a case in which the plaintiff alleged he suffered harm due to hospital malpractice. If you were hurt by incompetent care in a hospital, you should meet with a Syracuse hospital malpractice lawyer to determine your options for seeking damages.

The Plaintiff’s Allegations

It is reported that the plaintiff was admitted to the defendant hospital multiple times between April and July 2008. During his admissions, he developed lesions and decubitus ulcers on his legs, knees, and other areas of his body, which he asserted were caused by the negligence of the defendant’s employees. Thus, he filed a lawsuit against the defendant, seeking compensation for his harm which he asserted was caused by medical malpractice.

Allegedly, after the parties exchanged expert reports, the defendant moved for summary judgment. The plaintiff opposed the motion on the grounds that the defendant’s expert lacked the qualifications to offer an expert opinion, but the court granted it, dismissing the plaintiff’s claims. The plaintiff then appealed.

Sufficiency of Expert Reports in New York Medical Malpractice Cases

In a medical malpractice case, a defendant asking a court to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims through summary judgment must establish either that there was no departure from the standard of care or that any such deviation did not cause the plaintiff’s harm. The appellate court found that, contrary to the plaintiff’s assertions, the defendant’s expert did not lack the qualifications to offer an opinion on the relevant standard of care.

Medical experts do not need to be specialists in a particular field in order to offer testimony regarding the accepted practice of medicine in that field. They must, however, have the required training, skill, education, and knowledge from which it can be presumed that the opinions they set forth are reliable. In the subject case, the court noted that the defendant’s expert’s professional background was adequate to support the conclusion that he possessed the qualifications for offering an opinion on the relevant standard of care.

The appellate ruled, however, that the trial court erred in dismissing the plaintiff’s complaint. Specifically, the appellate court found that the plaintiff’s expert report adequately rebutted the defendant’s, thereby demonstrating that an issue of fact existed that necessitated a trial. As such, it reversed the trial court ruling.

Speak to a Seasoned Syracuse Medical Malpractice Attorney

When doctors and nurses working in hospitals fail to uphold their professional duties, it often leads to painful injuries. If you were hurt due to negligent medical care, it is advisable to speak to an attorney about your possible claims. The seasoned medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers are adept at helping people harmed by medical malpractice in the pursuit of damages, and if you hire us, we will help you fight to protect your interests. You can reach us via our online form or at 833-200-2000 to set up a meeting.



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