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New York Court Discusses Medical Malpractice Claims Arising Out of Criminal Acts Caused by Insanity

Generally, plaintiffs in medical malpractice cases allege that the defendant doctors failed to provide them with proper care, thereby causing their harm. In some instances, though, the plaintiff will not allege the defendant negligently caused the plaintiff to suffer physical injuries but will instead seek to hold the defendant accountable for medical malpractice for failing to prevent the plaintiff from harming others. This was demonstrated in a recent case in which the plaintiff argued his treating psychiatrists committed medical malpractice by failing to recognize he posed a risk of injury to other individuals.  If you suffered losses due to a negligent psychiatrist, it is prudent to confer with an experienced Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer about your rights.

The Plaintiff’s Allegations

It is reported that the plaintiff was arrested and taken to the defendant hospital after he threatened to kill his family and abused and killed an animal. When he was at the hospital, he was examined by the defendant psychiatrist, who failed to diagnose him with any mental disease or ongoing condition and discharged him without notifying the police.

Allegedly, after he was discharged, the defendant killed the three members of his family he previously threatened. He subsequently was arrested and charged with numerous crimes. The State accepted his plea that he was not guilty by reason of insanity, and he was placed in an institution. He then filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant. The defendant moved for dismissal, arguing that the plaintiff failed to set forth a legally cognizable claim. The court denied the motion, and the defendant appealed.

Medical Malpractice Claims Arising Out of Criminal Acts Caused by Insanity

On appeal, the court explained that under New York law, if a plaintiff engages in illegal behavior, the courts will not entertain his or her lawsuit if the plaintiff’s actions constituted a serious violation of the law and the harm for which the plaintiff seeks compensation were the direct results of those actions, as to do so would violate public policy.

The court elaborated that the rule arose out of the maxim that no one should be allowed to benefit from his or her own fraud or to take advantage of his or her own wrong. In the subject case, the court argued that despite the plaintiff’s plea of not guilty by reason of insanity in his criminal case, the doctrine applied. The court was not persuaded by the defendant’s reasoning, noting that the record in the criminal case established that the plaintiff’s actions were not intentional, knowing, or willful. As such, the court affirmed the trial court ruling.

Meet with a Dedicated Syracuse Medical Malpractice Attorney

Incompetently rendered medical care can cause significant losses, and psychiatrists that fail to properly treat their patients may be liable for malpractice. If you suffered losses because of a negligent psychiatrist, it is smart to meet with an attorney as soon as possible. The dedicated Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers can advise you of your potential claims and aid you in pursuing the best legal result available under the facts of your case. You can contact us through our online form or at 833-200-2000 to schedule a meeting.


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