Arizona Medical Malpractice Defense
Our Defense Lawyers Bring Centuries of Combined Experience to Representing Arizona Doctors in Medical Malpractice Litigation
It’s been said that there are two types of doctors: Those who have been accused of medical malpractice, and those who will be accused of medical malpractice. In today’s highly litigious environment, malpractice allegations have become commonplace, and even top specialists at the most prestigious hospitals in Arizona and around the country are not immune from being accused of causing their patients harm.
At Oberheiden P.C., we bring centuries of combined experience to representing Arizona doctors in medical malpractice litigation. Our medical malpractice defense lawyers are highly experienced in all aspects of malpractice litigation, and they have significant experience representing doctors in other matters as well. In fact, many of our defense lawyers previously served as healthcare fraud prosecutors for the federal government. As a result, we are intimately familiar with the types of allegations that lead to claims against doctors—and we are equally familiar with the defenses doctors can use to overcome them.
Full-Service and Strategic Medical Malpractice Defense
We provide full-service defense representation for doctors accused of medical malpractice in Arizona. As a client of Oberheiden P.C., you will work directly with our senior attorneys throughout your case. You will have direct access 24/7, and our attorneys will work with your insurance company’s Arizona medical malpractice attorneys while fighting to overcome the plaintiff’s allegations on your behalf.
We also provide strategic defense representation. As medical malpractice litigation has proliferated, the arguments and strategies plaintiffs’ lawyers use to pursue their clients’ claims have become increasingly sophisticated. For example, today many plaintiffs’ lawyers rely on “hired gun” experts who they pay to help establish their clients’ claims for damages. We rely on experts of our own, and we work diligently to thwart plaintiffs’ allegations as quickly as possible. By strategically targeting pre-trial resolutions, we are able to protect our clients against the reputational harm that can attend publicized allegations of medical malpractice.
Defenses to Allegations of Medical Malpractice in Arizona
There are many potential defenses to medical malpractice allegations under Arizona law. Once you engage Oberheiden P.C. to represent you, our senior medical malpractice defense lawyers will thoroughly examine the facts of your case in order to determine which of these defenses we can assert on your behalf. Some examples of possible defenses to allegations of medical malpractice in Arizona include:
1. You Met the Standard of Care
The basis of any medical malpractice claim is an alleged failure to meet the requisite standard of care. When seeking damages, it is incumbent upon the patient to prove this failure. Of course, not every failure to meet a patient’s expectations constitutes a dereliction of duty, and not every mistake rises to the level of professional negligence. If we can use expert testimony to show that you met your standard of care, then this should allow for a favorable resolution.
2. The “Substantial Minority” or “Respectable Minority” Defense
One of the ways that plaintiffs’ lawyers will attempt to prove that a doctor failed to meet the requisite standard of care is by arguing that the majority of doctors would have made a different decision. However, deviating from the generally-accepted medical consensus is not itself evidence of malpractice. If a “substantial minority” or “respectable minority” of doctors would have made the same decision based on the circumstances presented, then a claim for medical malpractice is unwarranted.
3. Lack of Causation
In addition to proving that you failed to meet the requisite standard of care, the plaintiff must also prove that this failure caused his or her injury or illness. If the plaintiff’s evidence of causation is lacking, then any evidence of failure to meet the standard of care is irrelevant. For example, if the plaintiff is alleging failure to diagnose but he or she would have experienced the same outcome with a timely diagnosis, then there is no causation—and there is no claim for medical malpractice.
4. Assumption of the Risk (Informed Consent)
In many cases, Arizona doctors can successfully defend against medical malpractice claims by asserting the defense of “assumption of the risk.” This is also known as informed consent. If the plaintiff was aware of the risks of a particular procedure and chose to move forward, he or she cannot now seek compensation as a result of the risks coming to fruition.
5. Arizona’s Good Samaritan Law
Arizona’s Good Samaritan law provides protection for doctors in certain situations as well. Under this law, doctors cannot be held liable for medical malpractice in relevant circumstances unless the malpractice rises to the level of willful misconduct or gross negligence. As a result, when Arizona’s Good Samaritan law applies, plaintiffs will have a much more difficult time proving their right to damages, and asserting the Good Samaritan defense will allow doctors to avoid liability in many cases.
6. Statute of Limitations
Even in situations involving legitimate claims of medical malpractice, plaintiffs cannot pursue claims if the statute of limitations has expired. Arizona’s statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims is two years in most cases. However, the statute of limitations runs from age 18 for patients who are minors, and the filing deadline can be extended (although not indefinitely) for adult patients who are unable to discover the effects of their doctors’ mistakes immediately.
7. Comparative Negligence
The law of comparative negligence can provide a partial defense to a plaintiff’s medical malpractice allegations in some cases. Arizona follows the law of “pure comparative negligence,” which allows patients to recover a percentage of their losses when they are partially at fault for their own injuries or illnesses. Theoretically, even if a patient was 99% at fault, the patient could still recover 1% of his or her losses in medical malpractice litigation. As a practical matter, however, asserting comparative negligence can be an effective defense, as the prospect of only recovering a fraction of a plaintiff’s total damages may make proceeding with the litigation untenable.
FAQs: Defending Against Medical Malpractice Claims in Arizona
Do I Need to Engage My Own Legal Counsel for Medical Malpractice Defense?
If you are facing a medical malpractice claim, engaging your own legal counsel is strongly recommended. While your malpractice insurance company may appoint counsel to represent you, you are entitled to independent legal counsel, and it is in your best interests to choose a law firm with senior attorneys who have experience directly representing doctors in medical malpractice litigation.
What Should I Do about Dealing with My Insurance Company’s Arizona Medical Malpractice Lawyers?
At Oberheiden P.C., our senior attorneys can deal with your insurance company’s lawyers for you. We have significant experience in this capacity, and we can help maintain good relations with your insurer while also working to ensure that your claim gets resolved with your best interests in mind.
What if I Know I Made a Mistake?
Not every medical mistake rises to the level of medical malpractice. Additionally, even if you made a mistake, there may be other factors (i.e. the patient’s own negligence) that are relevant to your case as well. As a result, under no circumstances should you make assumptions or simply accept liability. Instead, you need to discuss your situation with an experienced attorney who can advise you effectively.
Can a Medical Malpractice Claim Lead to Professional Licensing Action?
Yes, in fact, medical malpractice claims will often lead to professional licensing action. As a licensed doctor, you may have an obligation to report your medical malpractice claim to the Arizona Medical Board. Additionally, since the standards for civil liability and professional licensing action differ, you could face discipline even if you are able to avoid liability for damages. At Oberheiden P.C., our senior attorneys are well aware of the significant risks doctors face in medical malpractice litigation, and we can do everything necessary to protect you to the fullest extent possible.
Will Settling a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Affect My Professional License Defense?
Not necessarily. Typically, settlement agreements do not involve an admission of liability. So, if you ultimately decide to settle a claim, this should not affect any related professional disciplinary proceedings. However, before simply settling so that you can move on, you need to consider all pertinent considerations, and you need to ensure that you are making an informed decision based on the advice of experienced legal counsel.
What Factors Should I Consider when Choosing a Medical Malpractice Defense Lawyer in Arizona?
When choosing a medical malpractice defense lawyer in Arizona, there are several important factors to consider. But, perhaps the single most-important factor is relevant experience. You need a senior attorney who has significant experience representing doctors—and who has a proven record of achieving favorable results for his or her clients.
Speak with a Medical Malpractice Defense Lawyer at Oberheiden P.C.
If you need defense counsel for a medical malpractice case in Arizona, we encourage you to speak with one of our senior attorneys. Let us show you how our experience makes a difference when it comes to defending against allegations of malpractice. To get started with a complimentary case assessment, call 888-680-1745, or tell us how we can reach you and we will be in touch shortly.