Every year, thousands of patients are injured or killed as a result of medical negligence. It can be a painful experience for families and patients to realize that their lives have been forever changed due to a medical mistake. This is why it is important to make sure your loved ones are compensated for their injuries, and see that it doesn't happen to anyone else. By filing a medical malpractice injury lawsuit, you can make sure the people who caused the injury are held accountable.
Medical Malpractice Claims in Arizona
Doctors, surgeons, hospitals and other healthcare providers in Arizona are required to provide a certain level of care to their patients. Even if a doctor does not intentionally want to harm a patient, by cutting corners or not taking their patient's concerns seriously, their negligence could result in serious and permanent harm. Medical malpractice law allows an injured patient to seek damages from the doctor or hospital when their negligence resulted in injury. In order for the plaintiff to prevail in court, they need to prove that the health care provider failed to provide adequate care, resulting in injury.
Under Arizona law, when a healthcare professional fails to comply with the applicable standard of care, they may be medically negligent. The standard of care requires that the provider exercise that degree of care, skill and learning that would be expected of a reasonably prudent healthcare provider under similar circumstances. If the provider breached that duty of care, resulting in injury, they may be held liable for damages. Negligence causes injury if it helps produce the injury, and the injury would not have happened but for the negligence.
Statute of Limitations in Arizona
In Arizona medical malpractice cases, the statute of limitations is the time limit for filing a claim. In most cases, a medical malpractice action must be commenced within two years (but it can be as little as 180 days). This may be two years from the date of the injury, or two years from the discovery of the injury. Most wrongful death cases also have a two-year statute of limitations.
Under the discovery rule, the cause of action does not accrue until the injury is discovered. This is common in medical negligence cases where the patient does not learn of the negligence or injury until after the incident occurred. For example, if a surgeon left some foreign items inside the body after injury, it may take the patient months before they learn that their pain and symptoms were related to the surgeon's mistake.
Additionally, for minors who were victims of medical malpractice, their statute of limitations extends to two years beyond their 18th birthday. For examples, a child who is negligently injured at birth may have 20 years before their statute of limitations expires.
Common Examples of Medical Malpractice
A medical mistake can lead to an injury at any point during treatment, consultation, or follow up with a medical professional. Many of these errors occur when the doctor or physician first talks to a patient about their diagnosis. A physician can misdiagnose a problem, fail to identify a more serious issue, or delay treatment to the point where injury results. This could include a misdiagnosis of cancer, heart attack, infections, tumors, or heart disease.
Neglect can contribute to the development of pressure sores. These can occur in the context of an ICU setting or in a medical rehabilitation setting. Not turning a patient, or repositioning them, can lead to skin ulcers and pressures sores which is a cause of action for medical malpractice.
Another common area of medical malpractice has to do with birth injuries. It is unfair that a child can be injured by a doctor before they are even born. Unfortunately, many doctors fail to use due care during pregnancy, and during childbirth, resulting in injury to the child and the mother.
Prescription medication mistakes are becoming increasingly common. Many patients are routinely prescribed multiple medications at the same time, to take in conjunction with the prescriptions they are already taking. Some doctors or pharmacists fail to take proper notice and consideration of the patient's medical history, prescription history, and any possible adverse reactions, leading to injury or death.
Surgery always carries some risk of complication. However, a surgeon is required to exercise the degree of care, skill, and learning that a reasonably prudent surgeon would under similar circumstances. When they fail to exercise that degree of care, injury may result. Common surgical errors result in anesthesia errors, leaving foreign objects inside the body after surgery, nerve damage, and failing to monitor patient recovery.
In many cases, it may be difficult to detect when a doctor may have committed malpractice. If a doctor or surgeon made a mistake during a procedure, they may not want to admit to it, leaving you in the dark as to the cause of the injury. If you think that you or a loved one was injured, received negligent medical care, or may have died as the result of a medical error, you may consider speaking to an experienced Tucson medical malpractice attorney.
The hospital and doctors won't always give you the whole story. They may be trying to protect themselves from admitting to making a serious mistake. An Arizona medical malpractice law firm will be able to evaluate your case, and talk to you about whether you may have a legal claim. They will listen to your experience, review the medical records, and may submit the information to a medical expert for their expert review.
Liability of the Doctors and the Hospital
You may be unsure of who was responsible for the medical error. In many cases, there are multiple parties who may be responsible in a medical malpractice case. For this reason, medical malpractice cases may begin with naming all possible defendants, to make sure no claims are foreclosed.
The medical professionals who caused the injury should be held responsible for their negligence. However, the hospital or treatment center may also be responsible for any mistakes. Under the theory of vicarious liability, a hospital may be held liable for the negligence of their own employees.
Hospitals may also be held liable for negligence in employee hiring, training, and retention. A hospital is required to properly investigate any new employee's education, licensing, training, and criminal background. Hospitals are also required to make sure they are properly staffed, and have enough qualified personnel to attend to patients' needs.
If you were injured through medical negligence, you may be eligible to receive full compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and even lost future earning capacity. However, you may also be able to recover non-economic damages for your pain and suffering, loss of a limb, or significant scarring. Your family may also recover for loss of consortium or loss of support. In some cases, you may be able to recover punitive damages, depending on the seriousness of the defendant's actions. While some states limit the recovery of damages in a medical malpractice case, Arizona has declared such limits unconstitutional.
Tucson Medical Malpractice Attorneys
At West, Longenbaugh and Zickerman, our attorneys are here to help individuals and families throughout Tucson Arizona. We will work with you and advise you on your options for a medical malpractice claim. Our team of lawyers are committed to addressing the individual needs of each of our clients and can assist you with all aspects of your medical malpractice claim. Contact our office today.