It’s quite disturbing. In the U.S., it’s the number three cause of death. It’s medical malpractice, and it puts all of us at risk.

What do you need to know about this process and how can a Bronx medical malpractice attorney help? Keep reading for some key facts. You’ll also learn how to respond if you become a victim of medical malpractice.

IS MEDICAL MALPRACTICE ON THE RISE?

For almost twenty years, medical malpractice has been identified as a top cause of fatalities in the U.S.:

1. 1999: The Institute of Medicine reported that almost 100,000 hospital patients die each year because of preventable medical errors.

2. 2010: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services stated that negligence plays a role in more than 180,000 deaths every year in U.S. hospitals.

3. 2013: According to the Journal of Patient Safety, every year in the U.S., from 210,000 to 440,000 hospital patients are the victims of medical negligence contributing to death.

And in the U.S. in 2014, victims received more than $3 billion in payouts for their medical malpractice claims.

HOW COMMON – AND DANGEROUS – IS MEDICAL MISDIAGNOSIS?

Surgical mistakes can be catastrophic, but those mistakes are only a small part of the medical malpractice story. Misdiagnosis is a much bigger part of the story. Everyone, potentially, is at risk for a medical misdiagnosis.

The BMJ (British Medical Journal) has estimated that approximately twelve million of us in the United States are misdiagnosed by doctors and other healthcare professionals every year.

Researchers also estimate that about fifty percent of those misdiagnosed patients may be seriously risking their health – without knowing it – because they’ve been misdiagnosed.

WHAT’S THE EXACT DEFINITION OF MEDICAL MALPRACTICE?

How is medical malpractice defined? And what are your rights if you are the one who is the victim of medical malpractice?

Medical malpractice is a healthcare professional’s negligence (or a healthcare facility’s negligence) that causes a deterioration of someone’s medical condition, causes additional injury, or causes wrongful death.

Medical malpractice may apply to negligence by doctors, dentists, nurses, anesthesiologists, pharmaceutical companies, pharmacists, clinics and hospitals, and others who offer healthcare services.

WHAT TYPES OF INCIDENTS CONSTITUTE MEDICAL MALPRACTICE?

Medical malpractice may include but is not limited to:

1. birth injuries (to either the child or the mother)
2. prescription mistakes
3. misdiagnosis or the failure to diagnose
4. failure to monitor the patient adequately
5. surgical mistakes and ER errors
6. in some cases, the failure to obtain a patient’s informed consent

If you believe that you have been injured or victimized by medical malpractice in New York City – or anywhere in the state of New York – discuss your case, your rights, and your options as quickly as possible with an experienced medical malpractice attorney.

HOW CAN A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE ATTORNEY HELP?

A New York medical malpractice lawyer will review the details of your medical malpractice claim and explain your legal options, which may include a medical malpractice lawsuit.

If you can prove that you were injured or that your medical condition declined because of medical malpractice, the law in this state entitles you to the compensation you will need for your additional medical expenses, your personal pain and suffering, and more.

WHAT’S REQUIRED FOR A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAWSUIT TO PREVAIL?

Medical malpractice lawsuits are civil actions that seek monetary damages to compensate an injury victim’s losses. To prevail with a malpractice lawsuit, the victim (or “plaintiff”) in a New York medical malpractice case must prove these three claims:

1. The patient sought medical care from a licensed healthcare provider.

2. The provider or facility negligently failed to diagnose and/or treat the patient as other providers and/or facilities would have diagnosed and/or treated the patient in a comparable situation.

3. The patient’s health declined, or the patient suffered injury, due to the negligence.

There’s always an element of risk when you seek medical treatment. Do not consent to any surgery or medical treatment unless and until you fully understand what risks are involved.

Healthcare providers in New York, for the most part, are dedicated professionals. Most take extra care and special measures to reduce any risk to patients. But other healthcare providers do not.

HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU HAVE TO TAKE LEGAL ACTION?

In New York, a medical malpractice lawsuit must be filed within two-and-a-half years of the purported malpractice incident. If the negligence happened in the course of ongoing medical treatment, the thirty-month limit begins when that treatment is complete.

In the rare cases where an object has been left in a surgery patient’s body, the patient has one year to file a claim – starting with the date that the object was discovered or “reasonably should have been” discovered.

But you can’t wait two-and-a-half years, or even one year, if you’ve been the victim of a medical malpractice incident. In fact, your attorney needs to be on the case as quickly as possible, while the evidence and the memories of witnesses are still “fresh.”

A medical malpractice lawsuit also gives victims the ability to hold healthcare providers liable for their medical negligence.

HOW ARE MOST MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CASES RESOLVED?

Most medical malpractice claims in New York are resolved privately, by the attorneys for both sides, outside of the courtroom. Medical malpractice attorneys are experienced negotiators who know what it takes to recover compensation on a client’s behalf.

If no acceptable settlement can be reached, you and your attorney may decide to take your case to trial and ask a jury for the compensation – and for the justice – you need and deserve.

WHAT ELSE IS NEEDED WHEN YOU SUE FOR MEDICAL MALPRACTICE?

In New York, in medical malpractice cases, a plaintiff and attorney must adhere to some additional procedural rules. Along with the lawsuit, the plaintiff’s lawyer must file a document that makes these three statements regarding the case:

1. The lawyer has consulted at least one licensed healthcare authority.

2. The lawyer reasonably believes that the expert is knowledgeable about the issues raised by the medical malpractice claim.

3. The lawyer is persuaded, based on the evidence and expert consultation, that the medical malpractice lawsuit has a reasonable basis.

WHAT CAN A VICTIM OF MEDICAL MALPRACTICE RECEIVE?

In the state of New York, there’s no “cap” or limit on what a medical malpractice plaintiff may receive in a settlement or verdict.

In fact, in 2014, the Washington Post reported that medical malpractice plaintiffs in New York receive higher payouts than medical malpractice plaintiffs in any of the other forty-nine states.

Nothing is a higher priority than your family, your health, or your future. Get the legal help you need – and contact a medical malpractice attorney at once – if you believe that you’ve been victimized by medical malpractice. That is your right.