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Phoenix Medical Malpractice Lawyer: Is it O.K. to sue my doctor?

Posted by attorney Christopher Zachar

Arizona medical malpractice law is founded on the same principles as other types of personal injury law. When a doctor is negligent, and a patient suffers injuries because of that negligence, they have the right to state a claim. Do we really want a lesser standard than this? Contrary to popular belief, malpractice cases aren’t a threat to good medical care or the national healthcare system. Indeed, the legal system is the best encouragement to medical schools to properly educate these people, to State boards to properly qualify these people, to employers to properly train and supervise these people, and to the medical profession itself to stay educated, alert and focused. Without the legal system, what would provide these measures? The answer is nothing.

Arizona medical malpractice law is similar to personal injury law, but with a few variations. In a standard car collision case for example, the claimant must prove that the wrongdoer was negligent. The same holds true in medical malpractice cases. Oftentimes, normal persons on a jury can make these determinations, as most people drive and most people understand the rules of the road. Medicine however can be complicated. In almost all cases, experts are needed to explain to the jury the medicine. The claimant will need his/her own experts, and the doctor will have his/her own. Did the doctor do something, or fail to do something, that no other reasonable physician of the same specialty in the same circumstances would have done? That is the precise question, and, rarely does an easy or clear answer exist.

Doctors are allowed to make mistake, and not be held liable, so long as the mistake is one of the doctors own judgment, and so long as the doctor conforms to the widely recognized and agreed upon standard of care for his specialty. However, when the doctor deviates from the recognized standard of care, when he does something or fails to do something that no other reasonable physician of the same specialty in the same circumstances would have done, then the Arizona Medical Malpractice Law will call him “negligent". And almost always, other than obvious errors, the knowledge of experts is required to decide whether a mistake was contrary to the standard of care.

The decision about whether to bring a claim and/or file a lawsuit is a personal one, and something you need to think carefully about. You may bear the doctor no ill will, and taking him or her to court can seem harsh on a personal level. In truth, though, lawsuits are not about settling personal grudges or gaining psychological satisfaction from hurting someone who has hurt you; they’re about correcting an injustice. When you went to see your doctor, you trusted them to make the right decisions about your body. You consented to their recommended treatment, believing that they were looking out for your best interests. If your doctor has harmed you by treating you in a negligent manner, it is unjust for you to bear the costs of their errors, sometimes for the rest of your life. Oftentimes, the only place to make it right is in court.

Arizona medical malpractice law can be complex, as can the science underlying your case. This makes the assistance of an experienced attorney all the more crucial. If you have been injured as a result of an unreasonable medical mistake, you owe it to yourself and your family (and the general public) to at least investigate the mistake. After all, anyone may make a mistake, but someone who makes an unreasonable mistake tends to make them again and again.

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