When you suffer from medical negligence, it can seem as if no one is on your side. If the mistake that caused you harm occurred in Arizona, you have a choice of many excellent Arizona medical malpractice lawyers who are experts in the state’s laws and who are dedicated to helping victims of medical mistakes get justice and compensation.
Arizona is in the top half of states for number of medical malpractice lawsuits and the amount paid out to victims. In 2015 there were 24.4 cases per 100,000 people and the total payout to plaintiffs was $71.5 million. The damages paid out to victims of medical errors were hard won by the knowledgeable malpractice lawyers working in the state. If you have been harmed by medical negligence, turn to one of these professionals for assistance.
Arizona Medical Malpractice Laws
Each state has its own, unique malpractice laws, and while there is some overlap and laws that are similar, the details can be complex. This is why it is so important for patients in Arizona to work with experienced malpractice lawyers. These professionals have studied and are well-versed in the laws. They have also had direct experience in settlements and trials relating to malpractice. They may work as part of a larger team of malpractice lawyers, or they may work as individuals.
In Arizona, there are several laws relating to how plaintiffs can bring malpractice suits and how negligence can be proven to award damages. Statute of limitations is one of the most important parts of malpractice law for patients to understand. It limits how long a plaintiff has to file a lawsuit and most states have a set limit. In Arizona the statute of limitations is two years from when the medical error occurred. There is also a discovery rule that stretches the time period to two years from when the error was discovered, if it was discovered within a reasonable amount of time.
Other laws that patients need to know, or need to have a good lawyer to help explain them, include contributory negligence. This means that if a patient played any part in the negligence, such as by not taking medications, the damages awarded can be reduced. Arizona malpractice laws require that expert testimony be used to prove a healthcare professional breached the standard of care and was negligent. It also gives liability immunity to workers in non-profit clinics, unless there is gross negligence.
Damages Caps Unconstitutional in Arizona
Most states limit or cap how much a plaintiff can receive in damages from a negligent physician or medical facility. This is done to keep costs down, for the court system, for medical care, and for malpractice insurance. Arizona, however, does not have any caps on damages. Most states at least cap non-economic damages, for things like pain and suffering or disfigurement, but don’t necessarily limit damages for actual medical expenses.
Arizona does not limit or cap any type of damages in medical malpractice cases. This is important for malpractice lawyers and how they present cases in jury trials. The reason that Arizona has no caps is because the state constitution says: “No law shall be enacted in this state limiting the amount of damages to be recovered for causing death or injury of any person.” It also states in another section that “the right of action to recover damages for injuries shall never be abrogated, and the amount recovered shall not be subject to any statutory limitations.”
It is very clear that to limit damages in malpractice cases would be unconstitutional in Arizona, and yet to reduce costs there have been several votes to amend the constitution. They failed in 1986, 1990, and 1994, and it was brought up again in 2017. This leaves malpractice lawyers in Arizona free to seek as much compensation as possible for plaintiffs who have truly suffered or even lost a loved one because of medical negligence.
Medical Malpractice Case in Arizona
The lack of damages caps in Arizona means that there can be some very high settlements and jury awards in malpractice cases in the state. In 2017, for example, a woman won $12 million in a case against a medical center in Tucson. It was one of the largest medical negligence awards in the state’s history. The woman was left in a persistent vegetative state after being treated with a dangerous drug that deprived her brain of oxygen.
The defendants tried to prove that the woman was to blame and that the doctors acted correctly. They claimed that she did not give the doctors in the hospital enough of her own medical history. Her lawyers argued that they should not have given her the drug that caused her to develop blood clots immediately and to have heart attacks and brain damage. The jury initially awarded the patient $15 million, but the amount was reduced by $3 million because of her contribution to the harm she suffered, as is allowed under Arizona malpractice law.
How to Find an Arizona Medical Malpractice Lawyer
The laws regarding malpractice can be complicated in all states, including Arizona. This is why it is crucial to settle on the best possible lawyer with expertise in malpractice. If you are looking for a malpractice lawyer in Arizona, be sure to look for expertise, experience with actual malpractice cases, a specialization in liability, and medical malpractice.
Ask as many questions as you need to feel comfortable with the lawyer you ultimately choose. You can even ask for the results of past malpractice cases and the amounts of compensation won for previous clients, as well as references from those clients.
Choosing a malpractice lawyer is important and should not be taken lightly. These experts can guide you through the process of filing a lawsuit and seeking damages. Going it alone is not a choice, as the laws are complicated and malpractice insurance companies have experts on their side. Take your time and choose the Arizona medical malpractice lawyer that you feel you can work with and that will really fight for you.