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Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit against a Municipal Hospital in New York

Jun 2, 2015 | Medical Malpractice

Notice of Claim

HHC (New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation) is the organization responsible for municipal hospitals in New York. If you are injured due to medical negligence in these hospitals, you have only one year and ninety days from the date of the wrongdoing to file a medical malpractice lawsuit to claim compensation for your injuries. However, you have to file a notice of claim initially within 90 days of the wrongdoing.

There are many procedural steps after you have filed your notice of claim and before you are permitted to file a lawsuit. One of these steps involves a mini deposition, known as the 50-H hearing. The purpose or function of this hearing is to enable the HHC to investigate your claim and determine what actually happened.

Your notice of claim prepared by your lawyer will have to be very specific. You have to state clearly where the incident occurred, what you believe was done wrong, and what injuries you suffered because of that. In some instances, you might have to list or itemize the damages as well. If your notice of claim is not specific, then there is a strong likelihood of your case being thrown out because your claim was not detailed enough.

Late Notice of Claim

If for some reason, the victims are unable to file the notice of claim within the ninety-day period, can they still file a claim against HHC? The answer is yes. There is a special procedure for petitioning the court which correlates with the purposes of filing a late notice of claim. However, there are several procedural hurdles in doing this, and your lawyer could face a significant challenge in filing a late notice of claim.

There are instances where the court will allow you to file a late notice of claim, provided your medical records are still available. It is also important if that doctor involved in your care is still available.

Confirmation by a Medical Expert

In New York, you cannot file a medical malpractice lawsuit, until a medical expert confirms your case has liability, causation, and damages. This particular step makes medical malpractice cases significantly different from other personal injury cases like a car accident case or a slip and fall case.

In a medical malpractice case, the lawyer will have to gather all your medical records, go through all your records, and send these records to a medical expert in order to confirm that there is a valid basis for a lawsuit. Based on all of this information, unless a medical expert confirms that you have a case, you cannot file a medical malpractice lawsuit in New York. Well, what attorney is going to waste their time if they cannot find medical support to side with them?

No Rest for the Weary

Even when you have suffered injuries at a municipal hospital, you have to go through this same process for filing a case. Sometimes it can take months for your lawyer to gather your medical records. After that, it will take him several weeks to secure a medical expert to confirm your case. All these steps take time, and therefore you have to start things as expeditiously as possible when you are trying to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against a municipal hospital in New York.