If there is one place where parents do and should feel trust, it is in their pediatrician’s office. But sometimes the care children receive from their medical providers results in their harm, leaving parents to wonder about their options for legal recourse. The NYC pediatric malpractice attorneys at Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green know the devastating impact that a medical injury to a child can have on families. Make sure that your rights are represented and that you have seasoned professionals on your side fighting for full and fair monetary compensation for your losses, including past, present and future medical bills. All consultations are free and confidential, and you owe us no fees unless we win money for you.
Child hurt at the doctor? What to do when you suspect pediatric malpractice
Not every situation in which a child’s condition worsens or complications develop involves pediatric medical malpractice. It can take some time to sort out the facts and the evidence, but the time to file a malpractice claim is limited by state statutes. In other words, there is no time to waste.
When your child’s health has been negatively impacted and you suspect the pediatrician, hospital, or other medical services provider’s breach of the standard of care is to blame, it is time to take action. These are some steps to protect your child and your potential malpractice claim:
1. Seek additional care.
The first priority is to make sure your child receives the medical care he or she needs. If you have reason to believe a medical mistake by the pediatrician or other pediatric caregiver is to blame for your child’s illness or injury, then it is time to find another doctor. A second doctor may be able to more objectively determine what treatment your child needs, as well as whether the symptoms are due to complications from prior treatment or whether the diagnosis by the initial doctor was wrong.
2. Gather documentation.
It is important to gather all medical records. Not only will the prior doctor’s records help the reviewing physician understand the medical treatment provided, but if the provider did commit malpractice, the records can be valuable evidence. It is a good idea to request medical records as soon as possible; not only will they help expert witnesses and attorneys understand and explain your case, but it will also prevent some unscrupulous doctors or hospitals from attempting to break the law by falsifying records once they know about the potential claim.
3. Take notes.
Keep a notebook to document your journey. Keep track of medical appointments, treatments, expenses, and even overall experiences as you and your child navigate life after the suspected medical error. A notebook that you keep while the events are unfolding will make it easier for you piece together the factual information, and it will also provide valuable evidence of your child’s physical pain and the emotional impact that each of you experiences.
4. Speak with a pediatric malpractice attorney.
Medical malpractice cases are very complicated and having professional guidance early on will help smooth the road. An attorney will be sure you comply with the statute of limitations and other technical requirements. Your attorney will also manage all communications so you do not need to personally deal with the doctor’s insurance company or attorneys.
Before committing, be sure an attorney is the right fit for you. Make sure the attorney has experience successfully handling personal injury cases like yours. Be sure the attorney is someone with whom you feel comfortable communicating and that you understand how often and by what methods the attorney will communicate with you.
Special requirements for filing a pediatric malpractice claim
In New York, it is necessary to plan ahead before filing a malpractice claim against a doctor. In addition to complying with the 2-year statute of limitations, a potential plaintiff must obtain a certificate from another physician who is willing to state that the claim has merit. The certifying physician must currently practice in the same specialty and in the same geographic location in order to be valid.
This and other requirements may seem overwhelming to those caring for a sick or injured child, but when you need to proceed against a pediatrician, a lawyer is the best person to help you through the steps.
Determining who can be liable for pediatric malpractice
Another important step before filing a malpractice lawsuit is forming a theory of liability. This involves doing some research to determine what people or entities were at fault and why. It can also mean sorting out who may be liable because of someone else’s actions, like if a medical practice is vicariously liable for the errors made by its doctors.
Modern medical practices can be intertwining, making it difficult to know who is legally responsible for an error. For example, the error may have happened in the pediatrician’s office, but the doctor’s practice may be owned by a regional hospital. The error may have occurred in a hospital, but caused by a physician’s assistant employed by an agency. Malpractice attorneys take a look at the circumstances and relationships so you can hold the right parties responsible when your child is hurt at the doctor.
Pediatric malpractice lawyers in NY
The Manhattan pediatric malpractice lawyers at Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green are strong advocates when you need it most. We understand the strain that medical errors can place on a family, so we get to work right away to protect your rights. Our lawyers serve victims of pediatric malpractice and their families all across New York City, including the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Long Island. Call today to schedule a free consultation.