Albany Medical Malpractice Attorney
Your doctor tells you something is wrong. Your doctor recommends surgery or some type of medical procedure. You listen to your doctor. But then something terrible happens, and you are now worse off than you were before your operation.
Medical malpractice could have caused your condition to worsen. To find out for sure, speak with an experienced Albany medical malpractice lawyer at Finkelstein & Partners today. We can help you recover compensation for your injuries.
Medical Malpractice Defined
Every medical professional, from EMTs to nurses to doctors, will attempt to provide the highest quality medical attention to their patients. Medical professionals are held to a high standard to provide every patient with an accepted standard of care. Even with the best of intentions, medical professionals may make mistakes.
When this happens and the medical professional does not meet the accepted standard of care resulting in your injuries, that may rise to the level of medical malpractice. Determining if medical malpractice occurred in your specific situation is difficult. Because your injuries may have happened after you already suffered injuries from a car accident or other means, it may be hard to tell if a doctor acted negligently.
This is a job for a skilled Albany medical malpractice lawyer at Finkelstein & Partners. Your legal representative will investigate the cause of your injuries with the help of medical experts. The goal is to determine who caused your additional injuries and if they rise to the level of medical malpractice. If so, your lawyer can handle the complex legal process ahead while you focus on getting the medical care you need to get better.
Common Causes of Medical Malpractice
The most common causes of medical malpractice include:
- Lack of informed consent
- Improper prescription
- Surgical errors
- Leaving a medical device in the patient’s body
- Improper anesthesia use
- Improper use of medical devices
- Medical device malfunction
All of these reasons could leave you in a worse condition. Regardless of why you needed to undergo a medical procedure, you expect that you will come out of that procedure feeling better, not worse. When a doctor or other medical professional makes a mistake or fails to act reasonably, you may suffer injuries.
These injuries can have life-altering consequences, leaving you unable to enjoy regular life activities. These injuries may also severely hinder your ability to earn a living and inflict you with extreme medical bills, neither of which you should be responsible for covering yourself. Your lawyer can work with you to attempt to recover maximum compensation so you do not pay a penny out of your own pocket.
Failure to Diagnose
Failure to diagnose, delayed diagnosis, and misdiagnosis, is the number one reason for medical malpractice claims. These related causes of medical malpractice are each slightly different. Failure to diagnose means your doctor evaluates you but does not diagnose you with anything. Delayed diagnosis occurs when your doctor initially finds nothing wrong with you but, upon further evaluation, correctly identifies your medical issue. Misdiagnosis happens when your doctor diagnoses you with a medical problem you do not have.
Each of these medical errors can cause you serious suffering and physical damage. You may be prescribed the wrong medication, which can result in serious side effects causing even more damage to your body. You may also not receive any prescription medication or treatment for your medical issue, causing your body to degrade further because you are not getting the medical attention you need.
To prove that your doctor or other medical professional failed to properly diagnose you, your lawyer will need to show that the medical professional did not follow the proper and accepted standard of care. In this instance, another doctor would have properly diagnosed your condition, providing you with accurate and timely medical attention.
According to the American Medical Association, medical professionals dealing with childbirth are the most frequently sued. This is the case because, with birth injuries, it is more likely that the mother or child’s life is in danger when a doctor makes an error. Even in situations where the child survives, they may be left with lifelong consequences requiring constant medical attention.
Birth injuries happen because of:
- Improper use of forceps
- Human error
- Misdiagnosing a medical condition
- Excessive force during delivery
Birth injuries can happen to both the mother and the child. While the child’s injuries are often more severe and life-threatening, the mother’s life can be in danger, too.
The most common types of birth injuries include:
- Head trauma
- Cerebral palsy
- Facial paralysis
- Clavicle fracture
- Brachial plexus palsy
- Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy
- Developmental disabilities
Many of these resulting injuries will require your child to undergo a lifetime of medical care. The medical care your child needs may include rehabilitation in a facility or ongoing in-home care. Both of these services are extremely expensive.
That’s why it is vital to your child’s ability to live their life that you speak with Finkelstein & Partners LLP today. For over 60 years, we have helped victims of medical malpractice in Albany just like you. Our goal is to recover maximum compensation for you so that your only worry is making sure your child’s life is the best it can be.
Five Steps to Take if Medical Malpractice Injured You
If you think that you, your child, or another loved one has suffered injuries at the hands of a medical professional, you may have no idea what to do next. You might be scared and stressed.
Following these five steps can help you collect the information you need to help move your medical malpractice claim forward.
- Speak to another doctor. Make your health and well-being your top priority. When you suspect medical malpractice, you need to speak with another doctor right away. This doctor can evaluate you and begin the process of determining whether another medical professional caused your additional injuries.
- Get your medical records. You have a right to your medical records. Getting copies of these records before you file a medical malpractice claim can make your doctor more likely to hand them over and give them quickly. These medical records can provide insight into your condition, your medical history, and other information that can help to show that your doctor committed medical malpractice.
- Do not share details. In today’s world, people share every private detail on social media. Doing this can be detrimental to your medical malpractice claim. You should also refrain from speaking with people other than your legal team and a new doctor about your injuries. Your Albany medical malpractice lawyer will act as your main point of contact to make sure you do not say anything that could be used against you to show that you played a part in your injuries.
- Keep a personal injury journal. Every single day, from the first day that you suspect medical malpractice, you need to write in your journal how you feel, your level of pain, and what you can and cannot do because of your injuries. Over time, you will forget every hurdle and obstacle you faced during your recovery. Keeping daily records of your health and well-being will paint a picture of the hardship you had to endure to recover from your doctor’s negligence.
- Contact Finkelstein & Partners LLP right now. The lawyer you choose can make a difference in your ability to recover compensation for your medical malpractice injuries. With over 60 years of experience helping medical malpractice victims in Albany recover compensation, we have the skill and knowledge to help you get back to your regular life.
To attempt the collection of compensation from the negligent doctor, you need to file a medical malpractice claim. You have a limited time after your injuries to file your claim. It is paramount to your recovery that you meet with a knowledgeable medical malpractice attorney in Albany as soon as possible after your injuries to ensure that you meet this important deadline. Missing this deadline could mean you miss out on your ability to recover compensation and may end up footing the bill for all of your medical needs going forward.
When you partner with an Albany medical malpractice lawyer, they may try to get you compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost wages
- Lost earning potential
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Present and future medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Home renovation costs
The majority of your medical expenses may come in the future. With the help of medical experts, your legal team can create an accurate estimate of your future medical needs. This gives you and your lawyer a good idea of how much more money you will need to recover.
But you may also need more than just medical expenses. Depending on the severity of your medical malpractice injuries, you may not return to work. This could be temporary or permanent. Either situation can lead to your inability to earn a living and provide for your family.
Working with an experienced Albany medical malpractice attorney, you gain a better understanding of the full value of your claim. This can help to ensure that you and your family do not bear the financial burden of your injuries. Covering your medical expenses and lost income should be the sole responsibility of the medical professional who put you in this tragic situation.
Our Albany Medical Malpractice Lawyers Answer Your Frequently Asked Questions
There are over 145 medical facilities in and around Albany, including the top three rated facilities in the city according to the rating system used by U.S. News & World Report: St. Peter’s Hospital, Albany Medical Center, and Saratoga Hospital. Physicians and other providers at these hospitals are required to provide a standard of care to their patients. They must do what experts in their practice field or federal and state laws deem necessary, and follow the facility’s policies and procedures to prevent errors in care that could result in further harm.
This responsibility also exists for dentists, physical therapists, mental health professionals, pharmacists, nursing home staff, and other licensed professionals tasked with providing services related to diagnosing or treating a physical or psychological condition.
Everyone makes mistakes. However, if a health care provider makes a mistake that results in serious injury, illness, or even the death of a patient, the patient or his or her family members can seek compensation for the expenses and impacts they have incurred through a medical malpractice lawsuit. However, medical malpractice is a particularly complex area of the law. Here are answers to some of the more common questions we receive on the topic.
What types of medical errors are considered malpractice?
Some of the errors commonly associated with medical malpractice claims include:
- Medication errors: Medication errors include patients being given the wrong medication, given the wrong dose of medication, or provided a medication that interacts badly with medications the patient is already taking. According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, medication errors cause injuries to about 1.5 million people each year in the U.S.
- Too many blood transfusions: While blood transfusions are one of the most common procedures to be performed in U.S. hospitals, about 60 percent of transfusions are medically unnecessary and increase the patient’s risk of infection.
- Surgical errors: Unfortunately, the operating room is not safe from the errors of surgeons, nurses, or anesthesiologists. Common surgical errors include administering too much or too little anesthesia, operating on the wrong body part, performing the wrong surgery on the patient, or leaving a surgical instrument or sponge inside the patient’s body.
- Birth injuries: Injuries to an infant that occur during or near birth are another common source of medical malpractice claims. Errors that cause birth injuries include failing to perform a medically necessary C-section, failing to diagnose or treat a known pregnancy complication, providing too much oxygen to a premature baby after birth, or failing to monitor the infant during or after a complicated delivery for signs of distress.
- Healthcare-associated infections: Infections are common in medical facilities that treat sick people. Hospital staff must minimize infection risks through sterilization procedures for equipment, the administration of medication, and other clinical tasks.
- Misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, or failure to diagnose: Diagnosis errors can result in an individual not getting the treatment that he or she needs or getting treated for the wrong condition. Failing to diagnose a progressive illness can lead to severe injury or even death that was preventable.
What, exactly, is a medical malpractice lawsuit?
A medical malpractice suit is a legal claim that seeks to establish that a professional caused the patient’s injury or illness through a medical error, and show the expenses and impacts that the claimant has experienced or will likely experience due to this error.
How long do I have to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Albany?
The statute of limitations in New York medical malpractice cases is one of the many complex features found in these cases. In general, claimants have two years and six months from the date on which the injury occurred to file their claims in court. However, if the error occurred during a prescribed treatment, the clock does not begin ticking on this statutory time limit until the course of treatment ends.
If the case involves a foreign body left inside the body, the claimant has one year from the date of discovery of the foreign object to file a medical malpractice claim in court. If the case involves a doctor’s failure to diagnose a malignant tumor, the claimant has two and a half years to file a claim from the conclusion of treatment or when the claimant discovered the missed diagnosis.
In cases involving a medical error that caused injury to a minor child, the statutory clock doesn’t start running until the child’s 18th birthday. However, the statute will not extend more than 10 years past when the medical malpractice occurred or was discovered.
What do I have to prove to have a successful outcome to my Albany medical malpractice claim?
To prove medical malpractice, you must establish these elements:
- A provider-patient relationship existed between you and your health care provider.
- The provider failed to provide you with the standard of care that it owed you. The standard of care refers to the steps that a reasonable provider would take to prevent errors that could harm a patient.
- This failure to provide a standard of care caused you to incur an injury or illness and suffer expenses and impacts as a result.
What can I recover if I suffered a disabling injury from an Albany medical error?
Individuals who have suffered an injury due to medical malpractice in Albany can seek the recovery of both economic and non-economic damages. In the legal arena, the term “recovering damages” means obtaining compensation for the expenses (economic damages) and quality-of-life impacts (non-economic damages) that you incurred as a result of the error.
Common expenses and impacts in medical malpractice damage claims include:
- Medical expenses incurred in the treatment and repair of the error.
- Lost wages you incurred from being too injured to work or required to miss work to attend appointments related to your injury.
- Loss of future earning capacity if the medical error resulted in a permanent disability and you are no longer able to earn in the same capacity as you were before the error occurred.
- Physical pain and suffering resulting from the injury or intense procedures involved in treating it.
- Emotional distress.
What can I be compensated for if I lost a loved one due to a medical mistake?
Family members can obtain compensation for expenses and impacts associated with the loss of a loved one through a medical malpractice wrongful death case. In New York, a personal representative of the estate must file this type of claim on behalf of the beneficiaries.
The damages that you may pursue through a wrongful death action include:
- Funeral and burial or cremation expenses.
- Medical expenses related to the treatment of the deceased’s final injury.
- The loss of financial support that the deceased would have provided to his or her loved ones.
- The value of parental nurturing, support, and care that the deceased would have provided to his or her children.
- Lost inheritance.
- Conscious pain and suffering that the deceased enduring in the time between when the injury occurred and death.
- Interest on the damages calculated from the time of death.
How are Albany medical malpractice cases different from personal injury cases?
There are two major differences in medical malpractice cases when compared to other types of personal injury claims.
Those differences include:
- The certificate of merit requirement: To file a medical malpractice claim in New York, your attorney must include a certificate of merit, or file this document within 90 days of filing the case. The certificate must state that the attorney has reviewed the facts of the case and has consulted with at least one licensed physician. Based on this consultation, the lawyer has reason to believe there is a basis for filing the claim. If the lawyer could not consult with a physician about the case, he or she must make three good-faith attempts with three separate physicians.
- Limitation on attorney fees: Medical malpractice cases require such an in-depth knowledge of both the legal and the medical industries that it is nearly impossible for this type of case to move forward without an attorney. Because of this, New York limits how much attorneys can charge for their services in these cases.
What is the average medical malpractice claim in Albany worth?
Like all types of personal injury lawsuits, every medical malpractice claim is unique, from how the error took place to the severity of the injuries that took place. The impacts that the claimant experienced or is likely to experience determine the value of each claim. The claimant’s ability to work and earn what they did before the injury can alter what the plaintiff can recover. Settlements are even more unique, as they reflect the willingness of the claimant to accept less than what they need. Because of this, there is no “average” medical malpractice claim, award, or settlement.
Do I have to pay taxes on my medical malpractice settlement?
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) does not consider settlements and awards in compensation for personal injury as income or tax them.
However, there are two exceptions:
- The IRS can tax punitive damages, as they do not relate to the expenses and impacts of the injury itself. Instead, punitive damages financially punish a defendant for complete disregard of another person’s safety.
- If you deducted your medical expenses from your tax burden and then later received a settlement that included medical expenses, you must repay the amount you deducted.
Why do I need to hire an attorney for my Albany medical malpractice claim?
Medical malpractice cases require an intense knowledge of the legal system, a deep understanding of the compensation necessary after a serious injury, and a network of medical professionals who can consult on the facts of the case and what expert testimony you need to prove medical claims.
Some of the services an Albany medical malpractice attorney from Finkelstein & Partners can provide to assist you in obtaining compensation for the expenses and impacts you incurred due to a medical error include:
- Guidance about the medical malpractice process through a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
- The timely filing of your medical malpractice claim, including a certificate of merit that was obtained after consultation with a licensed physician.
- Skilled negotiations with the at-fault provider’s medical malpractice insurer in an attempt to garner a fair settlement offer on your behalf.
- Assistance in understanding the pros and cons of accepting or rejecting any offered settlement in your case.
- The collection of witness testimony and evidence needed to prove your claim. This can include testimony from medical experts as to your diagnosis and prognosis and the acceptable standard of care for providers in the same medical field as the one who caused your injury.
- Litigation of your case, including the delivery of opening and closing arguments, the presentation of evidence, and the examination of witnesses.
- Assistance collecting your settlement or award.
Were you injured as a result of a medical error? Want to know if you are eligible to file a medical malpractice claim? Find answers to your questions through a free consultation with a Finkelstein & Partners Albany medical malpractice attorney.
When your lawyer files a medical malpractice claim on your behalf, the insurance company representing the doctor, hospital, or another medical professional will reach out to discuss a settlement. In fact, when the insurance company first finds out about your injuries, they may contact you directly even before you file a claim. Be careful about speaking to an insurance company without a personal injury lawyer.
The insurance company only wants to make you go away for as little as possible. Their goal and your goal are opposite. The insurance company wants to settle your case quickly and for far less than your claim is worth. If you do take the insurance company’s initial offer, you will waive your right to bring any future claims against them for your medical malpractice injury. This means you could end up paying out of pocket for your medical expenses and financial losses.
To avoid this situation, you can partner with an aggressive Albany medical malpractice lawyer. Your lawyer will be your legal advocate, standing up to the insurance company and working diligently to try to get them to settle for what your case is worth and not a penny less.
Finkelstein & Partners LLP can be the legal advocate you deserve. Aggressive negotiation and contacts with medical experts are imperative to reaching a fair and reasonable settlement for you.
In some instances, insurance companies simply refuse to settle for a fair amount. That’s when we may need to take your case to court to get you every dollar you deserve. To ensure minimum delay and quick recovery, you need a legal team with medical malpractice trial experience. Not every law firm can show you proven results at trial. We can.
Contact an Albany Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today
The lawyer you choose to represent your best interests in your medical malpractice claim can make a difference in your recovery, both physical and financial. Your lawyer should give you the peace of mind that your case is in good hands, allowing you and your family the time to focus on your physical recovery. When you transfer the legal stress and worry about how you will pay your bills to your lawyer, you can give all of your attention to your physical health and well-being.
Medical malpractice claims require extensive experience. They are some of the most complex cases. Not every lawyer and not every law firm is capable of handling such complex cases. We are.
Contact Finkelstein & Partners LLP today or call us at (518) 452-2813 to find out how we can help you recover from your Albany medical malpractice injuries.
1707 Central Avenue
Albany, NY 12205