Arizona Medical Malpractice Awards 101 – What You Need To Know

Arizona Medical Malpractice Awards

Medical malpractice awards are a significant concern in Arizona. In 2017, there were just four $10 million judgments and eleven $1 million to $10 million verdicts. These awards were made by juries, except for two, which were made following bench trials. The biggest award was $15 million in a medical malpractice lawsuit in 2017. Medical malpractice does not occur just in hospitals or surgical centers; it may occur anywhere, including your doctor's office or even your own home!

Medical Malpractice Awards Civil Verdict Study

An annual Arizona civil verdict study* discovered that since 2009, the number of Arizona civil cases tried to verdict has been declining. Medical malpractice awards are not always straightforward!!

Since 2016, the number of trials has dropped each year. The American Bar Association's Task Force on the Vanishing Jury Trial cited numerous causes contributing to the decline in jury trials, including the following:

The rising popularity and success of alternative conflict resolution.
The breadth, length, and expense of discovery are all increasing.
Delay in resolving jury-verified cases and an increase in court dockets.
Jury verdicts' unpredictability and ambiguity, or knowledge of them.
There is an increase in the number of dispositive motions filed and approved.
Inadequate trial experience on the part of attorneys and judges.

medical malpractice

What Other Factors Do I Need To Think About When Considering Filing For Medical Malpractice Awards.

When analyzing and forecasting medical malpractice awards in Arizona, other criteria are the population's size and distribution, racial composition, socioeconomic status, and ethnic diversity.

In 2018, the pattern indicated above remained steady. The number of prestigious medical malpractice awards increased significantly in 2018 compared to 2017. Arizona juries returned only one verdict over $10 million for the second year in a row. They returned 14 judgments ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. Five of the highest verdicts were handed out in Maricopa County. Four are classified as federal, while one is located in Mohave County. Maricopa County received the state's biggest medical malpractice award, totaling $4 million. Additionally, this analysis discovered that counties with fewer inhabitants and those located in more remote geographical parts of Arizona have tended to be more cautious with judgments over the previous several years, producing more defense verdicts or plaintiff verdicts that are quite low.

In 2018, the pattern indicated above remained steady. The number of prestigious medical malpractice awards increased significantly in 2018 compared to 2017. Arizona juries returned only one verdict over $10 million for the second year in a row. They returned 14 judgments ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. Five of the highest verdicts were handed out in Maricopa County. Four are classified as federal, while one is located in Mohave County. Maricopa County received the state's biggest medical malpractice award, totaling $4 million. Additionally, this analysis discovered that counties with fewer inhabitants and those located in more remote geographical parts of Arizona have tended to be more cautious with judgments over the previous several years, producing more defense verdicts or plaintiff verdicts that are quite low.

Additionally, while analyzing and projecting civil jury decisions in Arizona, the following criteria must be considered:

According to others, the shift occurred due to jurors exhibiting less respect to physicians' choices, insurance companies requiring more cases to go to trial, and increasing mistakes as a result of medicine's institutionalization. Others feel physicians are unwilling to consent to settlements, especially when they believe their medical judgments were justified. Occasionally, a physician will request settlement, but the insurance company will reject. Others have noted that restricted by the expense and danger associated with such lawsuits, plaintiffs' lawyers are pursuing them more carefully. Another reason for the increased judgments is that money no longer has the same influence on juries as it used to.”

There Is A Pervasive Myth Regarding Medical Malpractice Awards

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As shown before, a prevalent misperception in Arizona and several other states is that medical malpractice lawsuits are frequent, prolific, and result in fast and significant medical malpractice awards. This is not the case, and one should proceed with caution when confronted with these ideas. Although Arizona has a limited number of medical malpractice insurers, each is smart, well-funded, and often litigates cases all the way to and through trial. They have substantial resources, including a huge network of certified specialists on whom they may rely regardless of contrary evidence. They are always prepared to spend large sums defending and fighting on behalf of their insured medical providers, even when the chances are stacked against them. Due to the fact that Arizona is not a direct-action state, juries are never told of the insurance status of a doctor or health care provider. On the other side, jurors may fear that a favorable decision will bankrupt the physician or other providers. According to statistics, between 80% and 90% of medical negligence lawsuits that get to trial are lost.

As these current data and facts indicate, the likelihood of successfully pursuing medical malpractice claims is exceedingly low. While it is good to see that the situation has improved slightly in recent years, medical malpractice carriers are clearly in business to maximize profits for their individual stockholders. That is precisely why insurers will make every effort to defend their insured. Additionally, because many of the best instances of medical negligence are settled without the need for a trial, the figures above do not include the results of these cases.

The Pandemic of Covid 19 Appears To Have Affect Medical Malpractice Awards

Nobody should be shocked that 2020 will be unlike any other year in recent history. For this article, it was not necessary to compile trends in the legal system, the highest verdicts in the State, or the most successful defense counsel. In 2020, the bulk of jury judgments happened in January and March, shortly before COVID threatened to shut down the courts. The bulk of trials that did occur were “bench trials,” or proceedings before judges alone, without the participation of a jury. Fortunately, it looks as though things are beginning to normalize, with court activities, including jury trials, returning, albeit with properly planned pandemic accommodations.

While the epidemic substantially delayed the Court system, the Arizona Supreme Court and Arizona District Court enacted some administrative actions to keep the system functioning during the jury trial suspension. Additionally, the Courts explored and developed methods to expedite the administration of justice until normalcy was restored. Alternative Dispute Resolution techniques, notably Mediation, have become essential for resolving disputes more efficiently and promptly. This greatly decreased an otherwise insurmountable backlog, further distressing the system and obstructing justice administration.

As a result of the preceding, Arizona's big verdicts were substantially lower in 2020 than in prior years. It is impossible to anticipate the Pandemic's long-term influence on Arizona juries and court awards as events develop and hopefully stabilize. On March 1, the Arizona District Court began jury trials in Phoenix and Tucson, followed a month later by the Maricopa County Superior Court. Only four jury verdicts/awards exceeded $1,000,000.00 in 2020, the largest of which was $4,500,000.00 in a case involving an electrician who sustained serious back injuries in a fall and whose surgery was unreasonably delayed due to the insurance company's unreasonably delayed spinal decompression surgery.

Each year, approximately 250,000 individuals in the United States die due to different types of medical negligence. As a result, medical mistakes rank third in the United States, after cancer and heart disease. Additionally, experts feel this is a conservative estimate due to the absence of carelessness on death certificates.

MALPRACTICES IN MEDICINE

Malpractice takes on a multitude of forms. Certain kinds of medical malpractice are more difficult to identify, especially when the patient becomes aware of the injury months, if not years afterward. Medical doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses, anesthesiologists, CRNA technicians, and surgeons, among others, may perform irresponsible actions that have significant repercussions for patients. If this occurs to you or a loved one, you may be entitled to pursue compensation for medical negligence.

The Following Are The Ten Most Common Types Of Medical Malpractice:

1) Negligence In Diagnosing A Potentially Life-Threatening Condition

Misdiagnosis or the inability to diagnose a potentially life-threatening illness is the most prevalent kind of malpractice. Consider the following scenario: a physician or technician fails to detect a broken vertebra following a vehicle accident. As a result, the patient may experience chronic pain for the remainder of their life or possibly suffer spinal cord injury. Furthermore, misdiagnosis of a major condition might result in life-threatening sickness or death.

2) Surgical Errors

Surgical mistakes can result in a variety of different forms of medical misconduct. These mistakes might range from operating on the wrong patient or body area to not providing appropriate postoperative care. Furthermore, unclean conditions can result in sickness and perhaps fatal illnesses.

3) Inadequate Medical Treatment

When a physician administers improper therapy for a life-threatening sickness or injury, the patient may die. Additionally, this is true for physicians who fail to treat a patient's illness.

4) Birth-Related Injuries

A birth injury can occur due to a doctor or technician making a mistake during pregnancy, labor, or delivery. Cerebral palsy is the most often occurring kind of birth damage. It happens as a result of a baby being depleted of oxygen during the birthing process. Additionally, poor monitoring or failure to perform an emergency C-section may result in delivery damage.

5) Cancer Misdiagnosis

When a clinician detects cancer wrongly, the following consequences might be fatal. Early detection and treatment of cancer improve a patient's probability of survival. As a result, if a patient is not detected during the condition's early stages, the disease will likely proceed to an intractable level.

6) Medication Errors

Numerous malpractice cases include prescription and administration mistakes of medications. One such instance is when a physician gives the incorrect medicine or dose. Additionally, a pharmacist may deliver the incorrect medicine accidentally. Additionally, if a physician fails to check for drug allergies or combinations with previously prescribed drugs, a patient may have a potentially fatal response.

7) Bedsores

When a patient is kept in the same position for a lengthy period of time, bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers, form. In hospitals and nursing homes, bedsores are a typical occurrence due to neglect or inadequate treatment. If left untreated, bedsores can get infected, resulting in more significant health complications.

8) Anesthesia Errors

An anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist making a mistake may result in lifelong harm, brain damage, or death. Common mistakes include neglecting to evaluate the patient's medical history or inadequately monitoring vital signs during operation.

9) Errors During Dental Medical Procedures

As with medical physicians, dentists and oral surgeons are susceptible to making dangerous mistakes. A patient might suffer significant damage if a dentist makes an incorrect oral cancer diagnosis or makes anesthetic delivery mistakes.

10) Inadequate Prevention And Treatment Of Infections

Infections occur more frequently than we anticipate in hospitalized patients. Furthermore, any illness can be fatal in the elderly or those with weaker immune systems. Furthermore, many modern diseases, nicknamed “superbugs,” are resistant to traditional treatments. Certain diseases are caused by carelessness, for example, unclean conditions or instruments. Additionally, patients may become unwell when staff workers fail to follow infection control procedures like hand washing and mask-wearing.

A serious personal injury may completely alter the direction of your life. At the Tucker & Miller law office in Phoenix, we are familiar with the tactics used by insurance carriers and their defense team in every medical malpractice case. How are we aware of this? Because we previously worked for malpractice insurance companies, we anticipate what they will do in a malpractice case. We are completely committed to obtaining the maximum medical malpractice compensation permitted by law.

If you or a loved one has been a victim of medical negligence, contact our office to begin your case.

Brought To You By Tucker Miller Law

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