Medical professionals are getting away with murder! How? By a New York law that says victims of medical malpractice have only two and a half years to sue the doctor/hospital or other medical professional who negligently injured them, and only two years to sue for wrongful death (CPLR 214-a), REGARDLESS OF WHEN THE VICTIM FOUND OUT THAT THERE WAS A MEDICAL ERROR OR THAT THEY WERE INJURED BY IT.
Here’s an example of the cruel workings of this rule: Patient gets a lung or breast ex-ray or mammogram. Radiologist says it looks good. Three years later patient is diagnosed with stage-four lung or breast cancer. The new doctors look back at that ex-ray taken three years earlier, which clearly shows the cancer. The radiologist three years ago clearly overlooked it. If the cancer had been timely diagnosed, full recovery was likely. Now it is too late – the patient is dying.
Can this unfortunate patient or her family sue the careless radiologist? NO! Not in New York. That’s because the two-and-a-half year statute of limitations runs from the date of the malpractice, not from the date when the patient discovers the malpractice.
Fair? NO WAY! Should New York should join the other 44 states that have “date-of-discovery” laws for medical malpractice claims? (This means the statute of limitations wouldn’t even start to run until the patient discovers or should have discovered the malpractice.) Of Course!
So why-oh-why doesn’t New York enact such a law? Because medical professionals and their insurers lobby — i.e., shower their elected representatives with money — to keep it the way it is. The unfair rule lets them escape financial responsibility for their negligent and even reckless mistakes.
Time and time again, sensible New York law makers have tried to right this wrong, but time and time again the powerful insurance/medical lobby torpedoes their efforts.
This year, New York’s Legislature is again launching an initiative to change this unfair law. As this article is being written, many members of both the Assembly and Senate strongly support a malpractice date-of-discovery Bill. Write your assemblyman and senator today! Let him or her know you support this Bill.
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to hear from you!
Syracuse NY Medical Malpractice Lawyers
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.