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Can (and should) you still make a claim for bad foot surgery during Coronavirus?

 

Can (and should) you still make a claim for bad foot surgery during Coronavirus?

As we write this article (mid-April, 2020), the World, Country and State of New York remain, in effect, in quarantine, as governments battle the Coronavirus outbreak.

At this point most institutions are operating at a very limited capacity.  This includes the New York State judicial system, which continues to have in place an order which limits any new case filings to only “essential” matters.  These do not, generally, include new civil lawsuits, such as those for podiatry malpractice.

So, the question that might be on your mind if you've been dealing with the implications of a bad foot surgery by a podiatrist is whether it's worth it to reach out to an attorney – whether there is anything you can do.

The short answer to this question is that yes, it is absolutely appropriate to reach out to an attorney, and while the ability to file new cases is temporarily suspended, this does not mean that there is nothing you can do.  There are a few reasons for this.

First, the process for evaluating and preparing to bring a claim for podiatry malpractice (that is, a bad foot surgery) is lengthy, even in good times.  As attorneys, we have to obtain the relevant records, review them ourselves, send them to our experts for review, and have a discussion about the merits of the case.  Again, this takes time, and what better time to get the ball rolling than when the system has forced us to slow things down.


Second, the judicial system will, in the relatively near future, be up and functioning again.  Just this week the New York State Courts have begun having virtual conferences on existing non-essential cases.  This means that Judges and their clerks are back to work on cases that were ongoing prior to the Coronavirus shutdown.   The logical next step in this process will be to open the system back up to new filings, and this will likely occur in the next 30-60 days.  Practically, the longer the closure the more significant the backlog when things re-open, and the court system administrators are aware of this and want to get things open as soon as safely possible.

Third, there are very real and practical reasons to move forward with claims now.  While the claims process may take longer, podiatry malpractice cases are nearly always covered by insurance policies for the podiatrist.  It's important that the insurance companies be placed on notice of the claims (and the time period that those claims occurred), so that they can place sufficient funds in “reserves” to cover those claims.  Without getting into the nitty gritty on this topic, the earlier the insurance company learns about the case, the better.

But, you say, isn't the legal system going to be bogged down and delayed?

Yes, it may, but what's the alternative?  If you've been the victim of podiatry malpractice , you know the pain and complications that come along with it, and you also know that the problems are not likely to end soon.  The best time to take action, to protect yourself and your family, is now.

Likewise, while the Governor of New York has temporarily extended the statute of limitations, this extension will likely not last much longer, and you must always remember that if you miss the statute (generally 2 ½ years from the malpractice), you are out of luck.

So, if you're hesitating to reach out to an attorney because of the current state of affairs, don't.  As with all things, this too shall pass, and when we come out on the other side you will want to be in the best possible position.  That does not come from waiting; it comes from taking action.

If you have questions about bad foot surgery that has led to permanent damage, contact us today.

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