Medical Malpractice and the High Threshold in Arizona

Under title 12 of the Arizona Revised Statutes for a plaintiff to be successful in a medical malpractice claim they must demonstrate that the health care provider failed to exercise the care of a prudent individual of his or her specialty.

Expert witnesses are typically retained to support the plaintiff’s argument.  But,  many cases concluded with a decision by the jury.

The Arizona Supreme court upheld a state law what would require plaintiffs to produce testifying witnesses from the same specialty.  Such a law would make it harder for a plaintiff to support their case.

Finding a specialist willing to testify against a fellow practitioner can be extremely difficult.  Many medical professionals are apprehensive to testify in such cases as it might harm their reputation.  No doctor wants to be known for “selling out” their fellow practitioners.

Plaintiffs could search for experts in other states.  But, the cost of retaining such an expert would increase exponentially.

The plaintiff faces higher fees and a higher burden  to even bring the case.  Before every civil case, a plaintiff has to objectively look at his or her chances of success.  This sort of law puts a big dent in the probability of success.

Such a restriction might seem unreasonable.  On some level it seems like it would reduce the plaintiff’s ability to bring suit.  However, the Supreme Court unanimously held that it wouldn’t be unconstitutional as it does not flatly forbid a plaintiff from having their day in court.

It will be interesting to see how the law develops.  But, if you’re looking at a possible civil claim of any type please don’t hesitate to contact our office.  Our experienced Tucson car accident lawyers are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to discuss your personal injury or auto accident claim.

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