Motions for summary judgment are common in medical malpractice cases, as parties often believe the evidence in their favor is sufficient to obtain a ruling prior to trial. When one party files a motion for summary judgment, the other must demonstrate that, contrary to the moving party’s assertions, factual disputes exist in the case that require a trial. In a recent ruling issued in a radiology malpractice case, a New York court discussed what constitutes sufficient evidence to defeat a motion for summary judgment. If you were harmed due to a negligent radiologist, it is advisable to speak to a Syracuse radiology malpractice attorney about your case.
The Plaintiff’s Harm
It is reported that the plaintiff presented to the hospital with complaints of stomach pain. He subsequently underwent x-ray studies, which the defendant reviewed and deemed normal. The plaintiff was later diagnosed with stomach cancer. He then filed a medical malpractice claim against the defendant, alleging his failure to perform follow-up testing constituted negligence and caused the plaintiff’s harm. The parties engaged in discovery, after which the defendant filed a motion asking the court to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims via summary judgment.
Evidence Sufficient to Defeat a Motion for Summary Judgment
Pursuant to New York law, a defendant moving for summary judgment in a medical malpractice case must prove the lack of any material issue of fact with respect to at least one of the elements of a medical malpractice claim. In other words, the defendant must show either that he or she did not depart from the applicable standard of care or that any such departure did not proximately cause the plaintiff’s harm.
If the defendant makes a prima facie showing on both elements, the burden shifts to the plaintiff to rebut the defendant’s proofs by illustrating that a triable issue of fact exists as to both elements of the claim. In the subject case, the court found that the defendant met his burden of proof via testimony, medical records, and the report of a radiologist who testified that the applicable standard of care did not require any additional diagnostic testing when the initial scans were clear, as they were in the subject case.
Further, the expert opined that the defendant neither caused nor contributed to the plaintiff’s harm. In opposition, however, the plaintiff failed to sufficiently rebut the defendant’s evidence regarding the lack of causation. Specifically, neither of the plaintiff’s experts opinioned that a different study would have resulted in an accurate diagnosis. Thus, the court granted the defendant’s motion.
Confer with a Knowledgeable Syracuse Attorney
Diagnostic imaging is often used to diagnose patients, but when doctors do not interpret tests properly, it can cause critical harm. If you suffered harm because of radiology malpractice, you should confer with an attorney about your potential claims. The knowledgeable attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers are adept at helping people harmed by medical negligence recover damages, and if you hire us, we will zealously advocate on your behalf. You can reach us at 315-479-9000 or through the form online to set up a meeting.