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Dismissal of Medical Malpractice Case in New York Demonstrates the Need for Expert Reports

It is the well-established law in New York that a plaintiff that wishes to recover damages through a medical malpractice case against a defendant must do more than merely allege that the defendant caused the plaintiff’s harm. Rather, in all cases except those involving blatant negligence, the plaintiff must produce an expert report that establishes the defendant’s liability. Thus, if a plaintiff fails to produce expert testimony, it will typically result in the dismissal of his or her claims, as shown in a recent ophthalmology malpractice case in New York. If you sustained injuries due to negligent care rendered by an eye doctor, it is advisable to confer with a seasoned Syracuse ophthalmology malpractice attorney to assess your possible claims for damages.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff was treated at a facility that was funded by the federal government for retinopathy and macular edema in both eyes. The doctors at the facility routinely provided the plaintiff with injections in both eyes. Following one of the injections in 2016, his left eye became swollen, and he began experiencing light sensitivity and pain. His symptoms lasted about ten days and then resolved. Following injection in 2017, however, he again experienced adverse effects. He was then diagnosed with dry eye syndrome and a disorder that caused opacities in both eyes.

Allegedly, the doctor who administered the injections then advised the plaintiff that it was possible that he had allergic reactions to the injections. The plaintiff then filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the federal government in federal court, alleging the negligence of the doctors at the facility caused him to suffer pain, obstructions to his vision, and diminished sight. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, which the court granted due to the plaintiff’s failure to provide an expert report.

The Necessity of Expert Reports in Medical Malpractice Cases in New York

The court explained that as the claims pursued were against the federal government, the Federal Tort Claims Act dictated that the defendant’s liability would be analyzed under the laws of New York, which is where the alleged harm occurred. Under New York law, a plaintiff alleging medical malpractice must prove that the defendant breached the community standard of care and that the breach caused the plaintiff’s harm.

Further, unless the alleged malpractice falls within the understanding of the jury, the plaintiff must produce expert testimony to support his or her allegations in order to demonstrate a prima facie case of malpractice. In the subject case, however, the plaintiff neglected to produce any expert evidence, despite the fact that the allegations in his complaint did not demonstrate a clear and obvious departure from the standard of care that would be easily understood by a jury without an expert report. As such, his claims were dismissed.

Speak to a Trusted Attorney in Syracuse

If you sustained an illness or injury because of your eye doctor’s incompetence, it is wise to speak to an attorney to determine whether you may be able to recoup damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit. The trusted Syracuse ophthalmology malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers will gather the evidence needed to support your claims and develop persuasive arguments on your behalf, to provide you with a strong chance of a successful result. We can be contacted through the form online or at 315-479-9000 to set up a meeting.

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