Serving Clients Throughout Upstate New York with Multiple Convenient Locations Syracuse | Oneida | Watertown | New Hartford | Binghamton | Cortland | Rochester | Oswego | Albany | Buffalo

New York Court Discusses Negligence Versus Medical Malpractice

Many people living in residential facilities receive both medical care and assistance with general tasks of daily living, such as feeding and grooming. As such, if they suffer harm in such facilities, it can be challenging to determine whether negligence or medical malpractice is the root cause. As discussed in a recent New York opinion, it is important for anyone seeking damages to distinguish between the two to ensure their interests are protected. If you were harmed by a careless healthcare provider, it is smart to consult a Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer about your rights.

Case Setting

It is alleged that the decedent was transferred to a residential facility operated by the defendants in September 2015 after a hospital admission. Upon admission, the decedent was diagnosed with generalized weakness and a history of multiple falls. The medical history indicated a high risk for falls, leading to the discontinuation of her blood thinner prescription.

It is reported that the decedent experienced multiple falls at the facility, leading to a diagnosis of dementia. She was eventually transferred to another facility, where she passed away. The plaintiff, as the executor of the decedent’s estate, filed a lawsuit against the defendants, asserting claims of breach of contract, violation of New York Public Health Law, and negligence. The defendants moved for summary judgment, but the court denied their motion. The defendants then appealed.

Negligence Versus Medical Malpractice

On appeal, the court addressed the issue of whether the negligence claims were based on medical malpractice or ordinary negligence. The court emphasized the distinction, stating that claims related to medical science or specialized knowledge fall under medical malpractice, while those involving ordinary negligence concern general duties to safeguard patients.

The court ultimately found that some of the plaintiff’s allegations, including the failure to assess the risk of falling and provide necessary care, sounded in medical malpractice and that the defendants established their entitlement to summary judgment on these claims through an expert’s affidavit. However, the court upheld the denial of summary judgment on allegations of ordinary negligence, emphasizing the failure to comply with care plans and use safety devices.

Regarding claims under New York’s Public Health Law, the court noted that liability under this statute is distinct from medical malpractice or ordinary negligence. The plaintiff alleged deprivation of the decedent’s rights conferred by various statutory and regulatory provisions. Defendants’ experts did not adequately address these provisions, and thus, the court held that defendants did not meet their summary judgment burden on these claims.

Talk with a Capable Syracuse Medical Malpractice Attorney

In some instances in which a person suffers harm in a medical facility, the parties responsible for their injuries will be liable for both medical malpractice and negligence. If you or a loved one were hurt in a facility, it is smart to talk with an attorney. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, our capable Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys possess the skills and resources needed to help you seek the best legal outcome possible under the facts of your case. You can reach us at 833-200-2000 or through the form online to arrange a conference.

Super Lawyers
Justia Lawyer Rating
Rue Ratings - Best Attorneys of America
Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum
National Association of Distinguished Counsel
Avvo Rating
Martindalle Hubbel
Best Law Firms
Contact Information