If you seek medical care and your doctor makes some type of error during the course of that care, do you have grounds for a medical malpractice claim? The answer depends on numerous factors, each of which may apply to your situation and all of which may affect whether or not the court would consider the defendant or defendants in your case legally liable for injury. In short, just because an Arizona doctor makes a mistake, this doesn't necessarily mean he or she has committed malpractice.
There are several key issues you must prove when you present a medical malpractice claim in court. It helps to learn as much about this type of civil justice claim as possible before entering litigation. It's also good to remember that, in such cases, the plaintiff must prove his or her claim. Discussing your situation with someone well-versed in personal injury law is a logical way to begin discerning whether or not you have grounds to file a medical malpractice claim.
Are these requirements provable in your case?
There is always a certain amount of risk involved when you undergo any form of medical treatment, especially surgery. Your doctor is legally obligated to inform you of any and all known risks regarding any procedure you are considering as treatment for an adverse health condition. The following list shows the main factors that must be present; however, in order to prove a medical malpractice claim:
- Fiduciary duty: The person or group you are suing must have owed a duty to you at the time the incident in question took place.
- Defendant failed to fulfill duty of care: It is not enough to prove that the person you have filed a claim against owed you a duty of care. You must also show evidence that he or she, or they, failed to fulfill that duty.
- An injury occurred: For the court to rule in your favor in a medical malpractice case, you must prove that you suffered injury. This injury may be physical, emotional or economic in nature.
- Direct link between failed duty and injury: In legal terms, this is known as causation. It means that you must prove to the court that the defendant's breach of fiduciary care directly caused your injury.
If something went wrong during your surgery or medical treatment plan and your doctor told you ahead of time that such a risk existed, but you elected to have the treatment anyway, he or she is not necessarily liable for your condition. If the doctor never told you about such risks, then you may indeed have grounds to file a medical malpractice claim if you can satisfy all the other requirements mentioned earlier.
No need to go it alone
Medical injuries are often quite severe and may involve partial or full permanent disability. If members of your medical team failed to act according to accepted safety standards, the court may award financial recovery for your losses. It can be quite stressful to go up against a licensed professional in court. That's why most Arizona malpractice victims enlist support from expert witnesses and experienced legal advocates.