Medical Malpractice in Arizona
Medical malpractice laws are different in each state. Arizona’s laws have changed over the past 15 years. The changes made to Arizona’s medical negligence laws have created new hurdles and made it more difficult to pursue a medical malpractice case. The stated intention of changing the law was to prevent insurance companies from spending money defending frivolous lawsuits against health care providers and to protect doctors from the subsequent increased insurance premiums. In actuality, it has created roadblocks and obstacles for those injured or killed as a result of medical negligence.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when:
- A health care provider fails to act as a reasonably prudent health care provider would act in the same or similar situation. This concept is referred to as the standard of care.
- To a reasonable degree of medical probability, the breach in the standard of care was a cause of injury.
- The result was significant injury or death.
Doctors are human and make mistakes; not all mistakes are medical malpractice.
Examples of what malpractice is:
- Amputation of the wrong limb
- Failure to diagnose cancer when a radiologist fails to identify and document suspicious breast tissue on a mammogram/ultrasound
- Delay in diagnosis of cancer resulting from a failure to communicate abnormal findings consistent with cancer to a patient
- An ER patient with classic signs of a heart attack is discharged home and a short time later dies from the heart attack
Examples of what malpractice is not:
- your doctor is late for an appointment
- your doctor has a poor bedside manner
- your health care provider makes a judgment call within the standard of care
There are many scenarios that are not so clear-cut. It is important to seek the advice of an attorney armed with significant experience in medical malpractice and access to qualified experts to determine whether there is a viable medical malpractice case.
Who can file a medical malpractice case?
An individual who has suffered a serious injury due to medical error or negligence can file a claim against a healthcare provider. It is rare for insurance companies that represent doctors to settle a case without a lawsuit and significant work by both sides in preparation for trial. In cases of death resulting from medical negligence, the spouse, children, or parents of an individual who died can file a claim or lawsuit. 
How much time is there to file a medical malpractice lawsuit?
In general, the law in Arizona requires that a medical malpractice claim must be made within two years of the injury or it is forever time-barred. However, there are exceptions that may lengthen or shorten this timeframe, so it is important to consult an attorney right away to determine the correct statute of limitations that applies in your case.
Additionally, there is a lengthy process that takes place prior to filing the lawsuit, so it is important to hire an attorney as early as possible to allow enough time to make a claim before the statute of limitations has run.
Before hiring an attorney for your medical malpractice case:
- Ask who will be handling your case. You may find that your prospective attorney does not intend on personally working on your case, but plans on sending it to someone with more experience in this nuanced area of the law.
- Ask how many medical malpractice cases your prospective attorney has handled and what were the outcomes. Many personal injury law firms advertise that they handle medical malpractice cases, but very few have significant experience handling them. Be careful not to place your confidence in someone who is unqualified to competently pursue your very important case.
- Ask yourself how well the attorney relates to you and how well he/she communicates with you and answers your questions. Medical malpractice cases take longer than most cases. It is not out of the ordinary for a case to take two years or more from the day the lawsuit is filed. You will be working with your attorney over the course of many months, so good rapport is a must.
Consult a qualified Arizona Medical Malpractice Attorney
Contact Clausen Law Offices for a free and confidential case review with no obligation.
If you have a viable claim and you hire Clausen Law, Darren Clausen will be your attorney for your case and you will not be passed off to another attorney or firm. Darren has substantial experience successfully pursuing medical malpractice cases and understands the intricacies within this area of the law. Darren has handled medical malpractice cases for nearly 20 years. If you want a seasoned advocate who will help you through the most difficult experience in your life, call him today.
 A.R.S. § 12-612