Medical malpractice: How does Arizona law define it?

At some point in your life, you have likely entrusted your health or that of your loved one to a team of licensed medical care providers. You may have received care and treatment from doctors or nurses you really liked and others who left you with the impression that they might have been better off choosing some other career. The key factor is ultimately not how much you like your care providers but how well they perform their jobs.

Medical malpractice is problematic in many Arizona medical centers, as well as throughout the nation. You have the right to reasonably expect that those caring for you will adhere to all accepted safety standards and regulations regarding high quality care. Medical negligence can cause you injury; such injuries can have long-lasting, even permanent consequences.

Does your situation qualify as negligence under Arizona law?

State law allows you to file a personal injury claim if a doctor or other licensed medical professional fails in his or her duty to provide top quality care and that failure results in injury to you or your loved one. However, you bear the burden of proving that medical malpractice took place. The following list provides information to help you determine if your case would meet the legal requirements for proving a med mal case:

  • You must be able to show the court that the licensed professional or group in question owed a duty to you or your family member.
  • You must also convince the court that the defendant or defendants failed in that duty.
  • Even if you can present evidence to show that your doctor, nurse or hospital administrators failed in their duty toward you, you must also have evidence that such failure directly caused the injuries in question.

In short, prevailing in a medical malpractice lawsuit can be quite challenging. You must not only prove that you suffered injury but that substandard medical care is what caused your injury and that those who were negligent were obligated to you in some way.

Would the average physician see it your way?

In addition to presenting evidence of injury in court, witness testimonies are often key factors toward obtaining verdicts in medical malpractice cases. The court is interested in knowing the following things:

  • It is critical that you prove that the average physician would recognize the procedure or care you claim should have been provided as a reasonable, accepted standard.
  • The person providing expert testimony must have firsthand experience in the area of involvement you are discussing in court. In other words, it is unlikely that the court will consider testimony from a pediatrician worthy if your case involves obstetrics or gynecology.
  • The court is looking to see whether you can prove that your care providers or administrators named in your claim deviated from Arizona standards of care.

If your doctor and medical team did everything possible, considered appropriate and necessary under the law, and a known risk led to an injury, it does not necessarily mean that medical malpractice was the cause. However, if, for instance, your doctor failed to diagnose your condition or you were having a baby and needed an emergency C-section that your doctor never ordered, then you may have grounds to seek legal accountability against any and all parties deemed responsible for the damages you suffered.

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