medical malpractice

Arizona Medical Malpractice Awards

Medical malpractice awards involved with medical malpractice lawsuits are an important issue in Arizona. There were only four $10 million verdicts and 11 $1 million to $10 million verdicts given out in 2017. All of these awards were handed down by juries, with two coming from bench trials. The largest award was a medical malpractice lawsuit the largest Arizona civil award of $15 million in 2017. Medical negligence is not limited to hospitals or surgical centers; it can occur anywhere, including at your doctor's office or even your own home!

 

Medical Malpractice Awards Civil Verdict Study

An annual Arizona civil verdict study* found that starting in 2009, the number of Arizona civil cases that are tried all the way to verdict has been and continues to decline. Medical malpractice awards are not so easy peasy!!

The number of trials has decreased each year since 2016. The ABA Task Force on the Vanishing Jury Trial identified several factors that contribute to fewer jury trials, including the following:

  1. Alternative dispute resolution's growing popularity and success.
  2. The expanding breadth, duration, and cost of discovery.
  3. Delay in resolving cases decided by a jury and increased court dockets.
  4. The unpredictability and ambiguity of jury verdicts, or the awareness of them.
  5. A greater number of dispositive motions are being filed and granted.
  6. Lawyers and judges with insufficient trial experience.

medical malpractice

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

Other factors which must be considered in evaluating and predicting Medical malpractice awards results in Arizona are the size and location of the population, racial makeup, socio-economic levels, ethnic diversity.

The trend outlined above remained stable in 2018. The number of top Medical malpractice awards in 2018 was slightly higher than in 2017. For the second year in a row, Arizona juries returned only one verdict exceeding $10 million. They rendered 14 verdicts ranging from $1 million to $10 million. Maricopa County accounted for five of the highest verdicts. Four are federal in nature, while one is from Mohave County. The largest medical malpractice verdict in the state occurred in Maricopa County at $4 million. Additionally, this study revealed that over the last several years, counties with fewer residents and those located in more remote geographical areas of Arizona have tended to be more conservative with verdicts, returning more defense verdicts or plaintiff verdicts that are relatively low.

The trend outlined above remained stable in 2018. The number of top Medical malpractice awards in 2018 was slightly higher than in 2017. For the second year in a row, Arizona juries returned only one verdict exceeding $10 million. They rendered 14 verdicts ranging from $1 million to $10 million. Maricopa County accounted for five of the highest verdicts. Four are federal in nature, while one is from Mohave County. The largest medical malpractice verdict in the state occurred in Maricopa County at $4 million. Additionally, this study revealed that over the last several years, counties with fewer residents and those located in more remote geographical areas of Arizona have tended to be more conservative with verdicts, returning more defense verdicts or plaintiff verdicts that are relatively low.

Additionally, the following factors must be considered when evaluating and forecasting civil jury verdicts in Arizona:

According to some, the change is the result of juries showing less deference to doctors' decisions, insurance carriers forcing more cases to trial, and increased errors as a result of medicine's institutionalization. Others believe that physicians may be hesitant to consent to settlements, even more so when they believe their medical decisions were correct. In other instances, a physician may desire settlement, but the insurance company may decline. Others have observed that plaintiffs' counsel, constrained by the expense and risk associated with such cases, are pursuing them more selectively. Another explanation for higher verdicts is that money no longer has the same effect on juries as it once did.”

There Is A Widespread Misconception Concerning Medical Malpractice Awards

otoplasty ear surgeryAs the preceding information indicates, a widespread misconception in Arizona and some other states is that medical malpractice cases are frequent, numerous, and result in swift and substantial medical malpractice awards. This is not the case, and one must approach these beliefs with caution. Arizona has a small number of medical malpractice insurers, but they are all sophisticated, well-funded, and frequently litigate their cases all the way to and through trial. They have considerable resources, including a sizable network of qualified experts on whom they can rely regardless of the facts that contradict them. They are always willing to spend substantial sums defending their insured medical providers and litigating on their behalf, even when the odds are stacked against them. Due to the fact that Arizona is not a direct-action state, juries are never informed of a doctor's or health care provider's insurance status. On the other hand, jurors may believe that any verdict will bankrupt the physician or other providers involved. According to statistics, victims lose between 80 and 90 percent of medical malpractice cases that go to trial.

As these recent statistics and information demonstrate, the odds of winning medical malpractice cases make pursuing these types of claims extremely difficult. While it is encouraging to see that the situation has improved somewhat in recent years, it is clear that medical malpractice carriers are in the business of making money for their respective shareholders. That is precisely why insurance companies will do everything possible to defend their insured. Additionally, because many of the best cases of medical malpractice are resolved without the need for a trial, the outcomes of these cases are excluded from the statistics above.

The Covid 19 Pandemic Did Seem To Affect Medical Malpractice Awards

Nobody should be surprised that the year 2020 was unlike any other in recent history. It was not a matter of compiling trends in the legal system, the highest verdicts in the State, or the best defense counsel successes for this article. The majority of jury verdicts in 2020 occurred between January and March, just before COVID nearly shut down the Courts entirely. The majority of trials that did occur were “bench trials,” or trials conducted solely before judges without the presence of a jury. Fortunately, it appears as though things are beginning to normalize, with court operations, including jury trials, resuming, but with pandemic accommodations carefully implemented.

While the plague slowed the Court system significantly, the Arizona Supreme Court and Arizona District Court issued certain administrative orders to keep the system running during the suspension of jury trials. Additionally, the Courts sought and identified solutions to promote the efficient administration of justice until normalcy could be restored. Alternative Dispute Resolution procedures, particularly Mediation, became critical for narrowing and clarifying issues and attempting to resolve cases more effectively and expeditiously. This significantly reduced what would have otherwise been an insurmountable backlog, further traumatizing the system and administering justice.

As a result of the foregoing, the number of large verdicts in Arizona in 2020 was significantly lower than in previous years. As events progress and hopefully normalize, it is difficult to predict the Pandemic's long-term impact on Arizona juries and judicial awards. On March 1, the Arizona District Court resumed jury trials in Phoenix and Tucson, and the Maricopa County Superior Court did the same a month later. In 2020, only four jury verdicts/awards exceeded $1,000,000.00, the largest being $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, the United States loses over 250,000 people to various forms of medical malpractice. As a result, medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States, trailing only cancer and heart disease. Additionally, experts believe that this is a conservative estimate because negligence is not typically documented on death certificates.

MEDICAL MALPRACTICE

Malpractice manifests itself in a variety of ways. Certain types of medical negligence are more difficult to detect, particularly when the patient discovers the harm months, even years later. Medical physicians, Doctors of Chiropractic, Registered nurses, Anesthesiologists, CRNA technicians, surgeons, and other health care professionals may commit negligent acts that result in serious consequences for patients. If in fact, this happens to you or a loved one you may be able to bring a legal suit for medical malpractice awards.

The Ten Most Frequent Types Of Medical Malpractice Are As Follows:

1)            Failure To Diagnose A Potentially Life-Threatening Condition

The most common type of malpractice is a misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose a potentially life-threatening condition. Consider the scenario in which a physician or technician fails to diagnose a fractured vertebra during an emergency room visit following a car accident. As a result, the patient may suffer permanent chronic pain or even spinal cord damage. Additionally, misdiagnosis of a serious disease can result in severe illness or death.

2)            Surgical Blunders

Numerous types of medical malpractice occur as a result of surgical errors. These errors can range from performing surgery on the incorrect patient or body part to failing to provide adequate post-operative care. Additionally, unsanitary conditions can result in illness and life-threatening infections.

3)            Inappropriate Medical Treatment

When a physician provides the incorrect treatment for a critical illness or injury, the patient may suffer fatal consequences. This also applies to physicians who neglect to treat a patient's condition.

4)            Birth-Related Injuries

A birth injury can occur as a result of an error made by a doctor or technician during pregnancy, labor, and/or delivery. Cerebral palsy is the most common type of birth injury. It occurs when a newborn is deprived of oxygen during the birth process. Additionally, improper monitoring or failure to perform a C-section, when necessary, may result in birth injuries.

5)            Misdiagnosis Of Cancer

When a medical physician incorrectly diagnoses cancer, the resulting complications can be deadly. Patients whose cancer is detected and treated early have a better chance of survival. As a result, if a patient is not diagnosed when symptoms are in their early stages, the disease is likely to progress to an intractable stage.

6)            Mistakes In Medication

Numerous malpractice claims involve medication prescribing and administration errors. One example is a medical physician prescribes the wrong medication or dosage. Additionally, a pharmacist may mistakenly dispense the incorrect medication. Additionally, if a doctor fails to check for drug allergies or interactions with existing medications, a patient may experience a life-threatening reaction.

7)            Bedsores

Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers, develop when a patient is left in the same position for an extended period of time. Bedsores are a common occurrence in hospitals and nursing homes as a result of neglect or insufficient care. Bedsores, if left untreated, can become infected, resulting in more serious health problems.

8)            Errors In Anesthesia

A mistake made by an anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist can result in permanent injury, brain damage, or even death. Frequently occurring errors include failing to review the patient's medical history or monitoring vital signs improperly during surgery.

9)            Errors In Dental Medical Procedures

As with medical physicians, Doctor of Dental Medicine and dental oral surgeons are capable of making harmful errors. A patient can sustain serious harm if a dentist does not diagnose oral cancer correctly or errors in the administration of anesthesia.

10)         Inadequate Infection Prevention And Treatment

Infections occur more frequently in hospital patients than we imagine. Additionally, any infection can become life-threatening in the elderly or those with weakened immune systems. Additionally, a large proportion of today's infections, dubbed “superbugs,” are resistant to conventional antibiotics. Certain infections are the result of negligence, such as unsanitary conditions or tools. Additionally, patients can become ill when staff members disregard infection control protocols such as hand washing and mask use.

A debilitating personal injury can alter the course of your life in an instant. At the Phoenix law firm of Tucker & Miller, we understand what insurance carriers and their defense team will throw at each and every medical malpractice case. How do we know this? Because we used to work for malpractice insurance companies, so we know what they are going to do in a malpractice case even before they do. We are 100% dedicated to getting you the highest Medical malpractice awards allowed by law.

If you or a loved one have been subjected to a medical malpractice situation, call our firm, and let’s, get your case underway.

Brought To You By Tucker Miller Law

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