One of the most complex aspects of personal injury law, medical malpractice claims should only be handled by a true specialist and we would never recommend that you try to file the claim on your own.
Doctors and hospitals are heavily protected by insurance companies and other agencies and the evidence required to prove a medical malpractice claim is substantial.
Our team has the know-how needed to tackle your medical malpractice claim with strength and skill. Accustomed to dealing with tough insurance companies, we won’t back down until you’ve received the compensation you deserve.
Standard of Care
Medical doctors and facilities are held to a certain standard of care. Doctors and nurses have to exercise the same care and skill that a reasonably prudent provider with the same specialty would exercise under similar circumstances. This may depend on the medical community where the physician practices or the facility is located. If a practitioner falls below that standard by committing a medical error that led to injuries or a fatality, then the victim may have a cause of action for any damages he or she suffered.
Statistics on the number of people who die annually from medical mistakes vary widely. According to the Journal of Patient Safety, the numbers are between 210,000 and 440,000 patients per year, a number far higher than the 98,000 reported by the Institute of Medicine. Observers do point out that inaccuracies in medical records are not uncommon, and many facilities are reluctant to report errors.
Medical malpractice may consist of the following:
- Operating on the wrong body part or patient
- Failure to diagnose or making an incorrect diagnosis
- Failure to monitor during a procedure or after surgery
- Incomplete or erroneous medical history leading to medication errors, adverse reactions to medication or to a procedure
- Wrong limb amputation
- Leaving surgical sponges or instruments in the body cavity
- Error during birth delivery
- Surgical errors
- Medication errors
- Incorrect interpretation of diagnostic tests
- Medical Sites
- Medical malpractice can occur in environments other than the operating room, such as:
- Emergency room
- Nursing home
- Doctor’s office
- Trauma center
- Out-patient facility
An entity like a hospital or out-patient facility can be sued as well.
Damages in Malpractice Cases
Damages in a malpractice case can be substantial, especially if a patient has lost a limb, suffered needlessly or was otherwise severely harmed by a surgical error, incorrect diagnosis, or other mistake. Arizona is unique in that it is one of the few states that do not limit awards in medical malpractice cases.
Damages can include:
- Medical expenses<
- Lost earning capacity
- Loss of income and future income
- Permanent disability
- Expenses for physical therapy or rehabilitation
- Home care costs
- Assistive living device expenses
- Emotional trauma
- Diminished quality of life
- Pain and suffering
Medical Malpractice Cases Are Difficult
It is important to point out that medical malpractice cases are notoriously difficult cases to bring forth. Often, it is also difficult for the victims to receive compensation, even in cases where an error is obvious.
In these matters, your attorney must still prove that the responsible physician, nurse, nursing assistant or other medical staff person failed to adhere to the applicable minimum standard of care. Expert medical testimony is essential in these cases, and it is common to have competing opinions from both sides. Jurors often must determine whose expert is more credible in deciding whether the duty of care was breached and if the injuries were causally related.
Filing deadlines for medical malpractice actions are generally two years from the date of the injury or discovery of the medical error, with the deadline delayed if the victim is a minor. This number may vary depend on changes in the law or your particular situation. It’s important to know when your deadline to file a malpractice claim is, because if you miss the deadline, you will be prevented from bringing a claim.
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