The Importance Of Knowing State Laws When Filing A Medical Malpractice Claim
The compensation received in a medical malpractice claim depends on where you live. Medical malpractice has been regulated by the states which pass laws regarding matters such as court procedures, compensation, statutes of limitation, liability, and carrying malpractice insurance. There are differences among the state laws and they vary greatly where medical malpractice is concerned. When a healthcare professional is negligent and violates the generally accepted standard of care used by other medical professionals it is perceived as medical malpractice. The medical negligence must be a factual cause resulting in the patient’s injuries.
To recover damages for the injury, the following elements must be established:
- The medical professional owed a duty to the patient;
- There was a violation of the “standard of care” – the degree of prudence and caution required of a medical professional.
- The violation of the standard of care by the medical professional was a factual cause of the harm suffered by the patient.
Damages In A Medical Malpractice Claim
A patient must have suffered damages resulting from the malpractice in order to recover in a medical malpractice claim. A victim may file for three types of damages:
Compensatory Damages: To pay for costs such as medical, hospital and rehabilitation bills, past, present and future. Also recoverable are lost wages etc.
Non-Economic Damages: To compensate for intangibles such as pain and suffering, loss of life’s pleasures prior to death, disfigurement. In a wrongful death case, other damages may apply such as loss of consortium, society and services.
Punitive Damages: To punish healthcare professionals whose intentional or reckless disregard causes injury to a patient.
Variations In State Laws
State law typically varies in governing areas such as:
- The statute of limitations
- The minimum qualifications of expert witnesses.
- Whether there are limitations or “caps” on monetary damages recoverable in malpractice suits.
- Laws regarding “wrongful death” claims alleging malpractice as the cause of death.
- Periodic payment rules which require damages to be paid in installments if future damages, such as expected costs of medical and hospital bills.
Common Examples of Medical Negligence
Medical Negligence by a healthcare professional comes in a multitude of forms. Some of the most common ways that healthcare professionals commit malpractice are:
- Making an incorrect diagnosis, failure to diagnose, or inappropriate treatment for the diagnosis
- Prescribing wrong medication or dosage
- Not considering a patient’s medical history
- Surgical errors, doing unnecessary surgery or operating on the wrong body part
- Laboratory errors or ignoring laboratory results
- Leaving a foreign object in the body after surgery
- Errors in anesthesia administration
- Negligent birth injuries
- Emergency room injuries
- Lack of informed consent.
In states throughout the country, medical malpractice law is highly regulated by a complex body of rules. For a successful claim, the burden of proof is on the injured patient, so if you have been the victim of negligence at the hands of a healthcare professional in Arizona it is essential to get assistance from a skilled and experienced medical malpractice lawyer to get the most favorable resolution to your case.