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New York Court Discusses the Statute of Limitations in Claims Against Medical Providers

New York law sets forth statutes of limitations for pursuing civil claims. While medical malpractice claims fall under the umbrella of civil claims, they have a shorter statute of limitations. Thus, which limitation applies depends on whether the person that allegedly caused the plaintiff harm committed ordinary negligence or negligence in the context of medical treatment. Recently, a New York court discussed how to determine which limitations period applies in a matter in which the defendant pursued claims against a social worker and psychologist. If you were hurt by the carelessness of a physician, it is smart to talk to a Syracuse medical malpractice attorney about your right to pursue damages.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

It is reported that the plaintiff’s son was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorders and bipolar disorder in 2014. While he periodically suffered psychotic episodes during which he acted violently and destructively and hallucinated, his condition was stabilized with medication and psychiatric care. Following a psychotic episode, he was confined to a state institution. While he was designated as having the most serious category of mental health illnesses, he was not medicated, and his condition declined.

Allegedly, he suffered multiple psychotic episodes during his confinement. He experienced delays in receiving a mental health evaluation or medication and ultimately stabbed the plaintiff. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendants, the parties responsible for her son’s confinement and care during his confinement. Among other things, she alleged that the parties responsible for his psychiatric care negligently performed their services. The defendants moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s medical malpractice claims as time-barred.

The Statute of Limitations in Claims Against Medical Providers

The court granted the defendant’s motion in part and denied it in part. The court noted that the New York rules of civil procedure provide a three-year statute of limitations for most negligence actions but impose a two-and-a-half-year statute of limitations on medical malpractice claims. The courts have clarified, though, that there is a difference in negligently furnishing medical care to a plaintiff and a medical actor failing to fulfill a different duty.

For example, negligence claims directly related to a doctor providing mental health care are likely to be substantially related to medical treatment and as such, are properly viewed as medical malpractice claims. Mental health professionals that are not doctors are typically not bound by the same framework, though, as the care they offer is typically not considered medical care. In the subject case, the court determined that the two-and-a-half-year statute of limitations applied to the claims against the psychologist the treated the plaintiff’s son but not the social worker. Thus, it granted the defendant’s motion in part and denied it in part.

Confer with a Capable Syracuse Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Mental health care providers have a duty to prevent their patients from harming themselves or others, and if they breach their duties, they should be held responsible. If you were hurt by a reckless physician, it is in your best interest to talk to an attorney about your options. The capable Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers possess the skills and resources needed to help you obtain a favorable outcome, and if you hire us, we will advocate zealously on your behalf. You can contact us via our form online or by calling us at 315-479-9000 to set up a meeting.

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