There’s a common saying that physicians have a God complex because of the effusive praise they receive from most of their patients. Unfortunately, physicians are mere mortals and they do make mistakes. When they do, though, the consequences can be long lasting. You may be surprised to learn, however, that during a medical malpractice case, the physician is often little more than a spectator. The real battle is between the lawyer and the physician’s insurance provider.
Role of Insurance Company in Medical Malpractice
Even though the physician or health care facility may be named as defendants, the insurance carrier will be the ones arguing in the courtroom and will be the party responsible for paying the judgement. The physician is typically relegated to taking part in areas such as discovery and depositions.
The Physician WILL Pay In One Way or Another
While they do not actually pay to cover any judgements, the physician is most likely paying a good bit of out of pocket money – often in the tens of thousands annually – for medical malpractice insurance. If they are found to be responsible for malpractice, their rates will most likely increase substantially.
How Medical Malpractice Settlements Are Reached
In most medical malpractice cases, damages are categorized into different categories:
- Cost of medical treatments (past and future)
- Pan and suffering
- Compensation for lost income and earning potential, and
- Punitive damages awarded in instances when the court feels the defendant deserves further punishment.
While damage amounts for cost of medical treatments, lost income and earning potential are fairly straight forward, awards for pain and suffering can be seen as subjective and are usually intensely negotiate
No Limits on Damages in New York
While many states have capped the amount of damages that can be awarded in medical malpractice cases, New York has no such cap.
Deadline for Filing Malpractice Cases
Here in New York, medical malpractice cases must be filed within two years and six months of when the malpractice occurred or from when the victim last received treatment for the same condition that led to the malpractice case. These deadlines can be extended if the physician moved out of state after the malpractice occurred or if the victim is mentally disabled or mentally ill.
If you feel that you have been a victim of medical malpractice, we urge you to contact Fitzgerald Law Firm for a free consultation.