You’d Be Surprised Who You’re Really Battling With In Medical Malpractice Cases
We’ve got tremendous respect for those who serve in the medical field. In so many instances, their knowledge is literally the deciding factor in whether someone lives or dies. Unfortunately, mistakes do happen. In the medical field, though, when mistakes happen, they can often be life-changing and permanent. In many of those cases, medical malpractice lawsuits are among the only recourses available to the victim. It may be surprising, though, that in a typical medical malpractice case, the real battle is between your lawyer and the physician’s insurance provider. Beyond taking part in the discovery phase – the sharing of information before a case goes to trial – the physician is actually relegated to the sidelines as a spectator.
ROLE OF INSURANCE COMPANY IN MEDICAL MALPRACTICE
Most physicians carry some form of medical malpractice insurance. As part of most such policies, the provider agrees to provide defense and indemnity. Let’s identify those two terms.
- In the promise to provide defense, the insurance carrier is agreeing to take on the responsibility of hiring a lawyer to defend the physician in the event legal claims are brought against him or her.
- The promise of indemnity translates to the insurance provider footing the bill for any damages awarded to the injured patient.
So even though any financial settlement or ruling will not come out of the physician’s pocket, their insurance premiums – often in the tens of thousands of dollars annually – will most likely increase significantly.
DEADLINE FOR FILING MALPRACTICE CASES
Here in Arizona, you have two years from when the malpractice occurred to file a medical malpractice case. The deadline can also be two years from when you last received treatment for the same condition that led to the malpractice case. For minor children who’ve been the victims of medical malpractice, the statute of limitations begins ticking after the child’s eighteenth birthday.
HOW MEDICAL MALPRACTICE SETTLEMENTS ARE REACHED
While some states put caps on the number of damages that can be awarded in a medical malpractice case, Arizona is not one of them. In fact, our state legislation has gone out of its way to actually prohibit any caps be put in place. In most medical malpractice cases, damages are categorized into different categories:
- Compensation for lost income and earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Cost of medical treatments (past and future)
- Punitive damages awarded in instances when the court feels the defendant deserves further punishment
OSWALT LAW GROUP CAN FIGHT FOR YOU
As you can tell from reading above, a physician fighting medical malpractice charges will rely upon the legal expertise of a professional litigator. You need to do the same! If you have experience medical malpractice, we urge you to contact us at the Oswalt Law Group by calling (602) 225-2222 for a free consultation.