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New York Court Discusses Notice Required in Medical Malpractice Cases Against Municipal Entities

In New York, people harmed by medical malpractice have the right to seek compensation from the providers that caused their harm. They must abide by any applicable laws regarding notice and timeliness, though, otherwise they may waive the right to recover damages. For example, if the defendant is a municipal entity, a plaintiff must provide notice of a potential claim within 90 days of the date of harm. While in some cases, a court will grant leave to provide late notice, such permission is not always provided. Rather, as explained in a recent New York opinion, a plaintiff must show such leave is warranted. If you suffered harm because of medical malpractice, it is smart to meet with a Syracuse medical malpractice attorney about your options.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

It is reported that the plaintiff suffered a hand injury, which was treated at a health clinic run by the defendant municipal corporation. He suffered complications during the healing process and subsequently had to undergo surgery. He asserted that his treatment did not meet the accepted standard of care but failed to serve the defendant with notice of the claim within 90 days as required by New York law. Approximately ten months later, he moved for leave to serve late notice of his claim. The trial court granted the plaintiff’s motion, and the defendant appealed. Upon review, the appellate court reversed the trial court ruling.

Grounds for Leave to Provide Late Notice of a Claim

On appeal, the court noted that the plaintiff did not offer any first-hand account of the incident or of any investigation that occurred thereafter. Further, he did not offer proof that any records of the incident existed, let alone evidence that the content of such records would show that the city had actual notice of his intention to file a civil lawsuit based on allegations of negligence within 90 days of the date of his harm or within a reasonable time after, as required to establish grounds for granting late notice under New York law.

The court stated that while the plaintiff argued the defendant had actual knowledge of the facts out of which his malpractice claim arose, and therefore would not suffer prejudice if he was granted leave to provide late notice of his claim, he did not provide any evidence in support of his assertions. The court also pointed out that the plaintiff failed to show he had a reasonable excuse for his delay. The court found that while the lack of a reasonable excuse for the delay was not fatal to the plaintiff’s claims, he neglected to meet his burden as to actual notice and the lack of prejudice. Thus, the trial court ruling was reversed.

Speak to an Experienced Syracuse Attorney

Medical errors often cause lasting injuries, and doctors that negligently make mistakes should be held accountable for the losses they cause. If you suffered harm due to medical malpractice, it is advisable to consult an attorney to discuss what compensation you may be owed. The skillful attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers take pride in helping people fight to hold the careless physicians who caused their harm accountable, and if you hire us, we will advocate aggressively on your behalf. You can reach us via our form online or by calling 315-479-9000 to set up a meeting.

 

 

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