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You are so angry with the medical care you received you decide it's time to file a complaint with the New York State Department of Health. Before you do that ask yourself this important question...

"WILL FILING A COMPLAINT WITH THE NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH HELP OR HURT ME IF I ALSO FILE A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAWSUIT HERE IN NEW YORK?"

Why is this important?

It's important because if you do go ahead and file a lawsuit seeking compensation for the harms and losses you suffered because a doctor or hospital violated the standard of care, this could impact your particular case.

There are multiple ways it could impact  your potential case.

When you file a complaint with the New York State Department of health, they are obligated to investigate. Then as a result of their investigation, they will render findings of fact and come to various conclusions. If they determine that there were no violations, no action is taken against the hospital or physician and the defense will be unable to use any information to conclusively say that there was nothing done wrong.

In other words, the defense could not come forward during the trial and say “The injured victim here even went so far as to file a complaint with the New York State Department of Health. The Department of Health investigated and determined that there was no basis for such a complaint and there were no findings of any violations.”

On the other hand, if the Department of Health does find that there were violations of the standard of care ,there are some limited instances where the findings of fact established during the course of the investigation might be able to be discussed during the trial. However, conclusions rendered by the Department of Health will likely not be permitted since ultimately it is the jury's function to come to conclusions about whether the standard of care was violated.

There are two other instances where filing a complaint with the New York State Department of Health could help or hurt your medical malpractice matter.

It might generate publicity about the events that occurred. There are some instances where publicity can help try and settle your case. There are other instances where publicity will have a negative effect or no effect on your particular case. On the other hand, the defense attorney and their principals are often very sensitive to any untoward publicity that occurs to their client and/or their hospital as a result of this type of publicity. There have been instances where defense attorneys and their principals have dug their heels in and refused to cave in to public pressure simply because such a complaint has generated untoward publicity.

On the other hand, there have also been instances where publicity has generated tremendous pressure on the defense as well as the hospital, doctor or their insurance companies that have prompted them to try and settle the case quickly in an effort to minimize the negative effects associated with a tragedy.

Before you go ahead and file a complaint with the New York State Department of Health and are also contemplating bringing a lawsuit for the injuries you have suffered, you would be well advised to speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney before doing so.


Gerry Oginski
NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer