A man had surgery to fix a detached retina and is now totally blind.
He comes to me asking whether he has a valid case.
After talking with him and his wife for an hour I came to the conclusion that there was no possible way I could take on his case. Although he clearly believed that something was done wrong during the course of one or more surgeries I still came to the inescapable conclusion that there was no way to help them. Why not?
Because there was only two months left for them to file a lawsuit. The time to file a lawsuit is known as the statute of limitations. In New York, the time to file a lawsuit against a private doctor or private hospital is only 2 1/2 years from the date of the malpractice. There are very few exceptions such as if the case involves an infant and other limited reasons.
This couple came to me with only two months left in which to file their lawsuit. I told them that this would be impossible. In order to even begin a thorough investigation, I must obtain all of the treating medical records in the past and current medical records. That can take anywhere from weeks to months to obtain all the necessary records to read once I have obtained all the records, then I must have them reviewed by a medical expert, in this case it would be an ophthalmologist. That can take weeks for the expert to review all the records and get me a decision on whether the case has merit.
To properly investigate a medical malpractice case in New York, can take anywhere from a few months up to a year depending upon how long it takes us to get all the records necessary to properly evaluate a case. In addition, sometimes our potential clients are still receiving medical care and treatment and we do not know the full extent of their injuries or disability. In that instance, we must continue to follow with them their course of medical treatment so that we can document their progress, or lack of progress.
As much as I wanted to help this family I told him that there was simply no way I could accomplish everything that I needed to do within the extremely short time period of only two months.
If you have doubts or questions in the back of your mind about whether you received appropriate medical care by Dr. hospital and think that you suffered injury or harm because of that, I urge you to pick up the phone and call me immediately. The longer you wait, the greater chance your memory will fade and there is the possibility that by the time you do speak to an attorney it may be too late to start a lawsuit on your behalf.
If you have questions, I encourage you to pick up the phone and call me at 516-487-8207 or by e-mail at L. a WNED [email protected]. I welcome your call.