Tempe Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Medical professionals are entrusted with the health and safety of their patients, and they must uphold a legal standard of care to protect their patients. When they fail due to negligence, their actions can have severe and even fatal consequences.
At Feller & Wendt, our clients are our family. We’ve seen the effects of medical negligence firsthand and go the extra mile to ensure our clients find the resolution they need. Filing a medical negligence claim can seem daunting, but at Feller & Wendt, we’re not intimidated by hospitals and their lawyers. We fight for our client’s rights and best interests. Contact our firm today to schedule a free consultation.
What Is Considered Medical Malpractice in Arizona?
Medical malpractice is a type of personal injury that arises when a healthcare provider or medical entity commits a negligent act that causes injury to a patient. Medical malpractice may be the result of a doctor, surgeon, nurse, hospital administrator, or another medical professional failing to properly follow medical procedures, misdiagnosing, failing to warn, and various other mistakes. However, not all medical mistakes are considered medical malpractice. For an act to be considered medical malpractice, like in other personal injury claims, negligence must be proven.
- The negligent party must have owed the patient a duty of care
- They breached that duty of care
- The breach was both the cause-in-fact and proximate cause of the patient’s injuries
- The patient suffered damages.
It is the injured person’s burden to prove all four elements to establish that medical malpractice occurred by a preponderance of the evidence. Medical malpractice must be proven to be “more probably true than not.”
When Does a Medical Professional Owe a Patient a Duty of Care?
The first and critical element of proving negligence is establishing that the medical provider owed the patient a legal duty of care. The injured person has the burden of proving that a doctor-patient relationship existed between the injured person and the medical professional at the time of the negligent act.
Generally, proving duty of care can be a straightforward process. A doctor-patient relationship is formed in several ways. For example, if the injured person chooses to be treated by the medical provider, and the medical provider agrees to treat the injured person, the hospital assigns the medical provider to a patient and various other patient-doctor relationships.
Once it’s been established that the medical provider owed the injured person a duty of care, the injured person must then prove that the duty of care was breached.
What Is a Breach of Duty of Care in a Tempe Medical Malpractice Case?
Medical professionals must exercise a degree of skill, expertise, and care. In Arizona, to bring forward a medical malpractice case, it needs to be proven that duty of care must show that the medical professional failed to exercise that degree of skill, expertise, and care expected of a reasonable and prudent healthcare professional under the same or similar circumstances. Establishing this breach may be proven through testimonies from other medical professionals who share similar skills, training, certifications, and experience as the negligent medical professional.
A few examples of breach of duty in a medical malpractice case include:
- Misdiagnosing a patient’s condition
- Administering incorrect treatment for a patient’s condition.
- Incorrect birthing practices.
- Making a serious mistake during treatment (i.e., performing a procedure on the wrong body part)
- Administering incorrect medication or incorrect medication dosage
- Prematurely discharging a patient
- Failing to warn a patient of known risks
- Failing to order adequate tests or failing to analyze the tests properly
A poor medical outcome doesn’t automatically mean a medical professional has breached their duty of care and committed medical malpractice. The medical professional must have deviated from the appropriate standard of care and caused harm to the patient.
How to Prove Medical Malpractice Caused the Patient Harm
Once it’s established that the medical provider owed a duty of care and breached that duty, the next thing to establish is proving legal causation. A medical malpractice case requires a breach of duty being the cause-in-fact and proximate cause of the patient’s harm.
Arizona law holds that cause-in-fact exists if the negligent party’s actions helped cause the results and if that result would not have occurred without their actions. The medical professional’s negligence needed not to have been the large or abundant cause of the final results.
In addition to proving cause-in-fact, it must also be proven that the medical malpractice action is the proximate cause. The injured person must present evidence from which negligence and a relation between the injury and the medical professional’s acts may be reasonably inferred. Typically, this means proving that the victim’s injuries are foreseeable consequences of the negligent act.
How to Prove Damages in an Arizona Medical Malpractice Case
The final step in a medical malpractice case is demonstrating that the injured person suffered some degree of damage or loss due to medical negligence.
In Arizona, there are three types of damages that may be recovered in a medical malpractice lawsuit:
Economic damages include past and future loss of income, cost of medical treatment, and other financial losses caused by medical negligence. These damages also include expenses such as physical therapy, lost earnings capacity, and more.
Non-economic damages include pain and suffering damages. Under pain and suffering damages, things like psychological trauma, time lost, physical pain, anxiety, mental anguish, and other mental, emotional, and physical injuries are covered. These are damages that are not easily quantifiable, like medical bills.
Punitive damages may be available in a medical negligence case if the negligence is the result of reckless or intentional behavior by the medical professional. Punitive damages are granted in extremely egregious cases. In Arizona, punitive damages are only awarded if the injured party can prove the medical provider’s wrongful conduct was guided by malicious intent.
Contact an Experienced Tempe Medical Malpractice Lawyer at Feller & Wendt
Suffering any kind of injury as a result of medical negligence can be an overwhelming experience. It’s challenging to pursue a medical malpractice case, but the medical malpractice attorneys at Feller & Wendt are here to help. Our medical malpractice attorneys understand how daunting a lawsuit may seem, but we have the necessary resources and expertise to help you through it.
Feller & Wendt is committed to prioritizing our client’s needs and protecting their rights. We believe that it’s our duty to hold those who are negligent responsible and create a safer community for our clients. At Feller & Wendt, our medical malpractice lawyers put in the work to tirelessly pursue the best possible outcomes for our clients. To schedule a free consultation, complete our contact form or call (408) 702-2277.