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It is never good to suffer a personal injury, but it is especially difficult to come to terms with your injury when it happens at the hands of a doctor you trusted. While doctors are human like the rest of us and sometimes make mistakes, you should not have to pay for those mistakes. Thankfully, you might be able to recover for your injuries if your doctor was negligent.
This article is intended to help you if you have been hurt by a doctor in Arizona. Consider having a medical malpractice lawyer listen to your experience; they can advise you of your options and whether you are eligible for compensation.
If you or a loved one in Arizona is a victim of medical malpractice, the lawyers at Zinda Law Group may be able to help. Call (800) 863-5312 to get a free case evaluation from a medical malpractice attorney.
What cases do not count as malpractice?
Just because you were injured in a surgery does not mean that the doctor is automatically liable for malpractice. Routine operations will sometimes result in injuries, but if you gave your informed consent to the surgery and were made aware of the potential harm, the doctor may not be liable.
On the other hand, sometimes your injuries will be much more serious than what the doctor warned you about. If this is the case, then you might be able to pursue a medical malpractice case against them. Reviewing the materials and disclosures that you received prior to the operation is a good place to start with this.
Still, you need to be ready if you are going to sue a doctor. Chances are that the doctor has both insurance and a team of lawyers at their disposal who are ready to argue their case in the event of a lawsuit. You need to make sure that your case is strong, and that your attorney is ready to fight for your interests.
Bystanders who intervene in an attempt to help you are sometimes not held medically negligent. This is because of “Good Samaritan” laws, which sometimes protect those who, in attempting to help, make your injury worse. If there was no immediate danger to you yet the intervening party tried to help but made your injuries more severe than they otherwise would have been, they might be liable.
When Can I sue my doctor?
Medical negligence occurs when a doctor commits medical malpractice. This is challenging for the plaintiff to prove and there are several necessary components to any medical malpractice claim. Still, if you think you have been injured through the medically negligent actions of a doctor, you should pursue your claim.
To prove your case, you first need to show that the doctor had a duty towards you—that he or she owed you a standard of care. Then, you need to make a showing that this duty of care was breached by the actions of the doctor. These two things by themselves are not enough, though; you also need to show that you sustained an actual injury that the courts are able to compensate you for, and that the breach of duty by the doctor was the cause of your injury.
Your doctor’s Duty of care
Doctors and other healthcare providers are required to provide the level of care that a reasonably qualified doctor in their field would provide. If they have not done this, then it is possible that they have failed to meet the standard of care owed to you and are therefore liable for medical malpractice. This does not mean that the doctor must provide the highest possible quality of care and every conceivable precaution, only that they act similarly to how other doctors in their field act.
Doctors who use uncommon or nontraditional practices and procedures have not automatically breached their standard of care. In order for there to be a breach, the practices and procedures should be generally unacceptable to other doctors in that field. The duty of care for medical malpractice cases usually includes such practices as following the accepted procedures for administering anesthesia and performing surgeries, and ensuring that the patient is informed of the risks of a surgery before getting consent.
A Medical Malpractice Lawyer Can Help Prove Your Doctor Had a Duty of Care
If you have been injured by a healthcare provider, you might consider using an expert witness to testify about the specific standard of care that you should have received. You should look for an expert witness who practices in the same field as the doctor who caused your injury and knows how to perform the procedure that your doctor performed when he or she injured you. If you were hurt by a doctor in Arizona, the expert witness should also practice medicine in Arizona.
You might be wondering, “Where can I find an expert witness that meets such specific qualifications?” Do not be concerned about finding the perfect expert witness on your own. An Arizona will have a broad network of expert witnesses and can work to find the one in Arizona that you need to help you win your case.
your doctor’s breach of the duty of care
It is good to have evidence that shows that your doctor acted negligently and breached the duty of care you deserved. See if you have any of the paperwork that you received prior to treatment so that your medical malpractice lawyer can help you determine whether you were adequately aware of all of the risks of the treatment. There will also likely be standard pamphlets or other literature that the doctor gives to patients undergoing the same treatment.
If your doctor failed to make you aware of the risks, then he or she may not have had your informed consent before treating you. In that case, the doctor will have breached the standard of care by failing to take the precautions that an average physician takes. However, informed consent is not the only way that a doctor can breach the standard of the duty of care.
Examples of Breaching the Duty of Care
Everyone has seen the Hollywood version of a medical malpractice case on television or in the movies. Still, you need to remember that there are so many different possible situations in which you could receive compensation for your medical negligence case; in fact, there are an infinite number of examples of situations in which a doctor might be held liable. Of course, the only way to be certain that you have a case is to speak with a medical malpractice lawyer.
The following is a list of possibilities for filing a medical malpractice claim; it is not exhaustive. It is entirely possible that you may still win your case even if it is not on this list.
- Inappropriate treatment or a lack of treatment resulting from a doctor’s failure to recognize a patient’s symptoms
- Using the wrong diagnostics for a patient’s condition
- A lack of treatment arising from a doctor not diagnosing a patient
- Premature discharge of a patient
- Not taking a patient’s previous treatments and conditions into account when deciding upon a medical course of action
- Unnecessary surgeries performed upon a patient
- Lapses or errors committed during surgery
- Anesthesia improperly administered to a patient
- Prescribing too much or too little of a medication
- A failure to follow up after treatment, or poor quality of follow up
- Prescribing incorrect medication
- Insufficiently forewarning of the risks of surgery or treatment
- Infections caused within a hospital by a doctor
- Misdiagnosis which leads to inappropriate treatment
- Any other failure to treat a patient, or improper treatment of a patient
Your Compensable Injury
There are two more elements that you must show besides the existence of a duty and a breach of duty to prove that your doctor committed malpractice. You must prove that your injury is the type for which you can receive compensation; this will be easiest to show if there is a physical component to your injury. You must also show that it was your doctor’s breach of duty that was the proximate or direct cause of your injury.
Courts usually award both economic and noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases in an attempt to make the victim whole after his or her injury. The court considers not only the bills that you incurred from the injury (including missed wages from time off of work, follow up surgeries to treat the injury from your doctor, and physical or occupational therapy necessary after the injury from your doctor), but also the emotional and psychological pain and suffering that you experienced from the injury and the way you were treated.
In particularly gruesome cases, a court may award punitive damages to punish the doctor. This also serves as a deterrent to stop other doctors who might otherwise take similar negligent shortcuts.
Our medical malpractice lawyers want to help you
You might be eligible for compensation for the injury your doctor caused you. Zinda Law Group skilled Arizona medical malpractice attorneys want to help you stand up to the doctors and their insurance companies to help you recover as much as possible and be made whole again. If you or a loved one had a surgery in Arizona gone wrong, call the Zinda Law Group lawyers at (800) 863-5312 in order to schedule your free consultation.
Our medical malpractice lawyers will advocate for you to make sure that you are not missing out on any of the compensation you could possibly be receiving. Your doctor’s negligence has hurt you enough. Moreover, our No Win, No Fee Guarantee ensures that you will not be expected to pay us unless we win your case for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
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