Medical malpractice law in Oklahoma is similar to that of many states and includes all manner of hospital employees and patients. In the case of most medical malpractice law, malpractice is defined by leaving the patient worse off than when they began. In some cases, it is very difficult to ascertain when malpractice has occurred, due to the lack of previous medical history or medical records. In the case of those individuals who are clearly defined as medical malpractice victims, the law is very clear and rulings are generally very swift on the subject. Without this particular type of law in place, many individuals would be left to their own devices after suffering from medical malpractice. Oklahoma is very clear on the subject of medical malpractice and requires that doctors and hospitals carry insurance against plaintiffs who might resort to medical malpractice lawsuits after receiving substandard service or having been the recipient of a doctor's attention that ends in tragedy.
Oklahoma State Malpractice Laws at a Glance:
Oklahoma State Tort Law Statute of Limitations Two years from date injury is discovered. Damage Award Limits Noneconomic damages limited to $300,000. Punitive damages may also be awarded depending on particulars of case. No limits for cases of wrongful death or negligence.
Joint Defendant Liability Proportionate liability for defendants except in cases where the defendant is found to be greater than 50% at fault or in cases of deliberate misconduct or recklessness.
Expert Witness The expert witness must either be a licensed doctor or be trained and qualified in medical area pertinent to claim. May be retired or still practicing in service areas relevant to claim.
Attorney Fees Fees not to be greater than 50% of net judgment.
Slipping Through the Cracks
Unfortunately, there are many patients who are completely unaware that these types of malpractice laws exist. Malpractice law in Oklahoma requires that the individual file suit within seven years of the disputed service. This means that quite often, individuals who are unaware that they have been poorly mistreated at the hands of their medical professionals have missed the boat and are unable to demand compensation for medical malpractice. In these cases, there is little recourse on the part of the patient and the seven-year limit brings with it a finality that cannot be overruled by the court system. In the case of children, this can be specifically difficult, as many times the subject of malpractice does not become apparent for many years, resulting in the awareness of the malpractice coming outside of the seven-year window.
Filing for medical malpractice is not that difficult, requiring a standard court-based legal motion, usually filed by a certified attorney at the discretion of the patient. Quite often these types of motions are filled with all manner of boilerplate and difficult to understand litigation. Because of this, it is generally advised that individuals allow their lawyers to file the paperwork, rather than attempt to muddle through this extremely difficult topic on their own. Without legal training it can be almost impossible to understand medical malpractice law in Oklahoma to the same extent as the local attorneys. For this reason, it is recommended that individuals seek the assistance of a competent attorney.