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New York Court Discusses Late Notices of Claims in Medical Malpractice Cases Against Municipalities

People harmed by medical malpractice have the right to pursue damages, but they must do so within the applicable statute of limitations. Additionally, in certain circumstances, a plaintiff must comply with other statutory notice requirements, and the failure to do so may result in dismissal of the claims asserted. This was illustrated in a recent New York ruling in which the court denied the plaintiff’s motion for leave to serve a late notice of claim on the defendant hospital in a cardiology malpractice case. If you sustained harm because of a careless doctor, you could be owed damages, and it is wise to consult a dedicated Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

Allegedly, in September 2016, the plaintiff was admitted to a hospital owned by the defendant municipal entity, where he was diagnosed with endocarditis. He was treated with antibiotics and released. A week after his discharge, he returned, and tests revealed that the infection spread to his brain. He was admitted to a second hospital owned by the defendant, where he was treated for infective endocarditis. He then had to undergo a surgical replacement of his mitral valve two months later.

It is reported that approximately a year and a half after his initial diagnosis, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice case against the defendant, alleging it was negligent in failing to diagnose and treat his endocarditis. The plaintiff then filed a motion seeking leave to serve a late notice of claim on the defendant. The trial court denied the motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

Grounds for Allowing a Late Notice of Claim

Generally, a motion for leave to serve a late notice of claim on a municipal entity cannot be made more than one year and ninety days after the claim accrues unless the statute has been tolled. In the subject case, the plaintiff argued the statute of limitations was tolled under the continuing treatment doctrine. The court found that a question of fact existed as to whether the doctrine applied.

Regardless, however, the court found that even if the statute was tolled, it did not warrant leave to serve a late notice of claim. In evaluating whether to extend the time to serve a notice of claim, the court must assess whether a municipal entity received actual notice of the key facts constituting the claim within 90 days of when it arose or a reasonable time after, whether the plaintiff had a valid excuse for the delay in serving notice, and whether the delay significantly prejudiced the defendant in defending the matter on the merits. In the subject case, the court found that the factors all weighed in favor of the defendant. Thus, the trial court’s ruling was affirmed.

Meet with a Capable Syracuse Attorney

When heart problems are not properly treated, they can cause grave consequences. If you sustained losses due to the negligence of a cardiologist, you may be able to pursue a cardiology malpractice claim and should speak to a lawyer. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, our capable medical malpractice attorneys take pride in helping people harmed by careless doctors fight to protect their interests, and if you hire us, we will work diligently on your behalf. You can reach us through our online form or at 315-479-9000 to schedule a meeting.

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