All states have their own laws and regulations when it comes to medical malpractice. In this article, we’ll cover the basics of the medical malpractice laws that are in place in Arizona currently. Knowing these laws can help patients to get a better idea of how their case might proceed and what it will involve.
Medical Malpractice Laws in the State of Arizona
Comparable to all other state jurisdictions, the state of Arizona deploys some state-specific statutes, procedural rules, and adheres to a body of case law that can drastically differ from even neighboring states, let alone the nation at large. Moreover, the applicability of a given Arizona medical malpractice statute or law must be applied on a case-specific basis as well, in which the individual fact pattern surrounding a single patient’s claims case is evaluated alongside extant and applicable Arizona medical negligence tort claim statutes.
Statutes of Limitations under Arizona Medical Malpractice Law
For claims cases of medical negligence falling under the jurisdiction of the state of Arizona, patients have only two (2) years from the date or event causing harm, which is typically a given date of medical treatment, or faces tolling of the statute and expiry on any prospective medical malpractice lawsuit. In cases involving minor patients and medical negligence in Arizona, individuals under the age of eighteen (18) do not incur a commencement of the statute of limitations period under Arizona’s Revised Statutes until the individual turns eighteen (18) years old.
Medical Malpractice Laws in Arizona Rely on a Several Liability Standard
Under Arizona’s Revised Statutes about medical negligence, a several liability standards is deployed, in which defendants are not jointly liable for damage claims, save for limited cases of exception including agency, collusion, or the fault assigned is vitiated in the case of defendants employed under the auspices of the US government.
Medical Malpractice Laws in Arizona Adhere to a Comparative Negligence Framework
The state of Arizona adheres legally to a comparative negligence doctrine, which permits claims cases to recover damages even in the event of plaintiff contribution or shared fault in the creation of damages sustained. Under Arizona law, any fault assigned by the percentage by the trier of the fact in a medical negligence case to the patient will diminish the patient’s damage recovery amount proportional to the percentage of contributory negligence found in a given case.
Periodic Payment of Verdict or Settlement Amounts Banned in Arizona
While certain states permit the periodic repayment of damages awards to plaintiffs in medical negligence cases, the state of Arizona has attempted to do so historically as well, however, the Arizona Supreme Court ultimately found the actions of the state unconstitutional. Moreover, as of 2016, the state of Arizona does not employ a centralized patient fund for claims of medical negligence.
Medical Malpractice Laws in Arizona Do Not Cap Damage Awards in Medical Negligence Lawsuits
Arizona is one of the few remaining states entirely lacking any caps or statutory limits on damage awards, with the state even going so far as to enshrine this medical malpractice statute into the state constitution, which as of 2016, forbids capping any compensation of claims related to wrongful deaths or negligence resulting in personal injuries to patients, which ultimately presents claimants in Arizona a favorable legal climate under which to recover damage amounts in full. Likewise, legal counsel filing claims on behalf of patients in the state of Arizona is not restricted of compensation recoverable as part of the fees associated with legal representation, which often occurs on a contingency basis in medical malpractice lawsuits, with patients incurring no costs upfront.
The State of Arizona Does Not Require Mandatory Arbitration, Mediation, or Submission of a Medical Malpractice Case to a Screening Panel
While a whole host of states employs statutes that mandate some semblance of pre-trial resolution between a plaintiff and liable parties named in a medical malpractice lawsuit, whether by way of arbitration or screening panels under certain state jurisdictions, Arizona requires no such pre-claims filing measures.
Arizona Does Require a Preliminary Written Medical Expert Affidavit
Under Arizona’s Revised Statutes on medical malpractice tort claims, claimants must provide a credible, defined by statute, a medical expert who will provide a preliminary professional opinion on the probability of the existence of a deviation from the normal standard of care in a given medical specialty in a given patient’s case. In short, this preliminary certification ultimately lays the groundwork for substantiating claims of negligence against medical professionals and other potentially liable parties, such as insurers and hospitals.
Wrongful Death Statutes of Limitations in Medical Negligence Cases Falling Under Arizona’s Jurisdiction
A decedent’s estate or immediate family members have legal rights to file wrongful death claims under Arizona laws in the event of a medical malpractice case resulting the death of the patient. However, claims cases relating to wrongful death and medical malpractice actions under Arizona law must be filed within two (2) years of the date of the death.
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