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New York Court Discusses Dismissal of Untimely Medical Malpractice Claims Against Public Corporations

Birth injury cases, like all other civil lawsuits, must be filed within the statute of limitations. Additionally, when the defendant is a public corporation, there are strict time constraints regarding when a claim must be filed and served in addition to the normal statute of limitations, and if the plaintiff fails to file a claim in a timely manner, he or she may waive the right to recover compensation. This was shown in a recent case in which a child suffered a birth injury due to malpractice committed by an obstetrician-gynecologist at a hospital that was a public corporation. If your child suffered a birth injury because of negligent acts during delivery, it is prudent to discuss your harm with a dedicated Syracuse obstetrician-gynecologist malpractice attorney as soon as possible to assess what claims you may be able to pursue.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that in July 2007, the plaintiff mother presented to the defendant hospital, which was a public corporation, for the birth of the plaintiff infant. The plaintiff infant was delivered through an emergency cesarean section, and during the delivery, he suffered brain injuries. Thus, in February 2012, the plaintiffs served a notice of claim on the defendant, and in December 2012, the plaintiffs filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant. Subsequently, in January 2017, the plaintiffs filed a motion for leave to serve a late notice of a claim or to have late notice deemed timely, and to strike the defendant’s defenses that the plaintiffs’ claim was untimely. The court denied the plaintiffs’ motion and directed that the plaintiff’s complaint should be dismissed. The plaintiff then appealed.

Pursuing Medical Malpractice Claims Against Public Corporations

In New York, the law requires that a court considering whether to deem a late notice of a claim timely served must weigh, among other factors, whether the public corporation received actual notice of the claim within ninety days of when the claim accrued or shortly thereafter. The court should also consider whether the plaintiff presented a reasonable excuse for failing to serve a timely notice of the claim and for the delay in seeking permission to file a late notice of the claim and whether the public corporation suffered substantial prejudice in defending the case on its merits due to the delay.

The court must also assess whether the plaintiff was an infant at the time the claim arose and whether there was a correlation between the plaintiff’s infancy and the delay. In the subject case, the appellate court found that the plaintiffs did not set forth a reasonable excuse for the delay in filing a notice of the claim or for the delay in seeking leave to file a late notice.  Thus, the appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling.

Speak with an Experienced Syracuse Attorney

If you or your child suffered harm due to the negligence of an obstetrician-gynecologist, it is smart to speak to an attorney regarding what damages you may be able to recover. The experienced Syracuse obstetrician-gynecologist malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers are well-versed in what it takes to obtain successful results in a variety of claims, and we will work tirelessly to help you seek a just outcome.  You can reach us at 315-479-9000 or through the form online to set up a meeting.

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