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New York Court Dicusses Expert Testimony in Medical Malpractice Cases

In New York, most medical malpractice cases require the plaintiff to hire one or more medical experts to explain key issues to the jury, including the manner in which the defendant caused the plaintiff’s harm. Defendants typically hire experts as well, and the outcome of the case often hinges on which expert the parties find more compelling. In some instances, a party’s expert evidence will be so strong that the case may be resolved prior to trial through summary judgment. As discussed in a recent New York case, though, summary judgment is not appropriate in cases in which the parties offer conflicting evidence. If you were hurt by the carelessness of a doctor, you should meet with a Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer to assess your possible claims.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that the decedent presented to the defendant, his primary care physician, complaining that he could not taste, had a loss of appetite and lost ten pounds, and was experiencing vomiting and dizziness. At a subsequent visit two weeks later, the defendant diagnosed the decedent with anemia and, because he believed he had a neoplasm, referred him to specialists.

Allegedly, the decedent visited the specialists and underwent multiple tests but died one month after his initial visit. His cause of death was hypertensive cardiovascular disease. The plaintiff commenced a medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuit against the defendant. The defendant moved for summary judgment, and his motion was granted. The plaintiff appealed.

Expert Testimony in Medical Malpractice Cases

On appeal, the court reversed the trial court ruling. The court explained that the required elements of proof in a medical malpractice case are a deviation from the accepted practice of medicine and evidence showing said deviation proximately caused the alleged damages. As such, a defendant seeking dismissal through summary judgment must prove that they did not depart from the applicable standard of care or that any such departure did not injure the plaintiff.

In response, a plaintiff needs to establish that a triable issue of fact exists on one or more issues to survive summary judgment. Blanket and conclusory allegations of malpractice are insufficient to demonstrate an issue of fact. In the subject case, the court found that each party met its burden of proof by producing expert affidavits in support of their positions. As summary judgment is not appropriate in matters in which the parties offer conflicting reports, the court reversed the trial court ruling.

Meet with an Experienced Syracuse Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Patients expect their primary care physicians to help them maintain their health, but a doctor’s careless oversights can lead to irreparable harm. If you sustained injuries due to the negligence of your primary care physician, you might be able to recover damages, and you should speak to an attorney. The experienced Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers can advise you of your rights and help you to seek justice for your losses. You can reach us through our form online or by calling us at 315-479-9000 to set up a meeting.

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