Medical Malpractice Basics

In Arizona, people have the right to sue their health care providers for medical malpractice.  Regardless of the false narratives about how these cases impact the delivery of health care, there is a constitutional protection to your right to hold health care providers accountable for their negligence.

Historically, medical malpractice laws were  designed to accomplish certain specific social objectives, including addressing poor quality care, fairly compensating patients for injuries resulting from negligence, and imposing justice in a manner that would make future occurrences less likely.

As the injured person, you have a burden.  You must prove three things.  In basic terms, you must prove: (1) the health care provider either did something they should not have (negligent act) or did not do something they should have (negligent omission), (2) that the negligent conduct caused an injury, and (3) your damages.

In most cases, you must prove these three elements by a preponderance of the evidence.  Arizona’s lawmakers raised the burden of proof in cases involving emergency room care and emergency medical services to clear and convincing evidence.   Frankly, with the conservative nature of Arizona jurors and general deference given to health care providers, you might want to view every case as requiring clear and convincing evidence.

In addition to raising the burden of proof, Arizona’s lawmakers have worked hard to interfere with your constitutional rights and impede your ability to hold health care providers accountable.  These obstacles will be addressed in future blog posts, but just know that Arizona’s lawmakers enacted several obstructionist laws that aim to limit your right to sue, limit your right to obtain full and fair compensation, and limit your right to the truth about what happened to you.

Contact me if you think someone you love was seriously and permanently injured by a careless health care provider.

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