Medical Malpractice in Arizona
Statute of Limitations: 2 Years, 2 Years for Minors (beginning at age 8)
Discovery: 1 Year from Discovery
Liability Rules: Shared Fault/Comparative Negligence
What You Should Know
Each state has their own set of time limits and exceptions or rules on when and how a medical malpractice case may be filed. A medical malpractice or medical liability case is a civil claim filed by a patient in pain or who has been injured by cause of a physician or health care provider due to negligence or omission. In short, if a patient is harmed before, during or after treatment, or due to lack of treatment, they may qualify in filing for a medical malpractice case. Below we cover a general outline of what you need to know in the case of filing a medical malpractice in the state of Arizona.
Statute of Limitations
A Statute of Limitations is a deadline or time period in which you have to file a medical malpractice case. This can vary by years and, of course, there are a few exceptions. In Arizona, the set number of years you have is two. Unless you qualify for one of the exceptions of this rule, you will lose your right to open a case. For minors, the two year clock does not start running until his or her eighth birthday.
Before we get into any of the exceptions of filing a civil claim, let us first cover what must first be established or able to be proven in order to file a claim:
- The physician or health care provider owed the given patient any ‘duty’. For example, further treatment, alternate care, guidance, etc.
- The standard of care for the given illness or ailment failed to be met. Each surgery or treatment has a set of conditions, or standards, that must be met in order to be considered acceptable, or at the most basic level, complete.
- There is a compensable injury. Unfortunately not all injuries are compensable. A worst case scenario for medical malpractice is fatality. However, if there are reconcilable damage to the patient that can be rectified to some degree, that will help in filing a claim.
- Lastly, not only does it have to be proven that the standard of care was breached, but also that it was the cause of harm or damage to the patient. For example, if indeed a doctor did neglect the standard of care for a given treatment, but that was not the cause of harm or injury to the patient, it may not be enough to open a case.
The first exception to the two year statute of limitations is supported by the discovery rule. The discovery rule is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: depending on when the patient discovered they did not receive proper care or recuperation, the time clock may be extended to the point of discovery rather than the date of treatment.
In almost all states there needs to be an expert on the particular treatment that did not meet standard of care in order to prove so. In other words, there needs to be someone that specializes in the treatment that was neglected in some manner in order to prove that it was the fault of the treating physician or health care provider. The expert cannot simply be someone that is knowledgeable on the matter, though. They must be an active or practicing professional.
This third-party opinion and input is required so that it can be determined if the pain or harm is either solely at the fault of the treating physician or health care provider, or if it may be in some part due to negligence of the patient. The patient may be partially or fully at fault if they refused recommended pre- or post-treatment care, or if they were properly diagnosed and did nothing about it.
Arizona does not set a cap, or limit, on how much damage can be compensated in a medical malpractice claim, or any civil claim for that matter. Damage is not limited to physical damage, either. If the pain or injury due to medical malpractice is keeping the patient from work, they may be eligible to be compensated for the time missed.
As you can see, there is a lot of information necessary to understand before even filing a medical malpractice case. It is, no doubt, a daunting endeavor; however, receiving just compensation or rectifying damage for the sake of you or your family’s health should be a top priority. It is best to seek an experienced team of attorneys to assist in filing a civil claim such as medical malpractice.
How Can We Help You?
If you or a loved one have been injured in the state of Arizona, contact us at 432.570.1919 or email us using the form below for your free, no-obligation consultation. The Buckingham Barrera Law Firm has helped thousands of people in multiple states get the compensation they deserve for their injuries.