Emergency physicians are the ones who treat you in the emergency department. Unfortunately, if an emergency physician commits malpractice, the results can be catastrophic. To successfully bring a medical malpractice case, you must establish that the healthcare provider fell below the standard of care. The standard of care is what a reasonable, prudent healthcare provider would do in the same or similar circumstances. In most medical malpractice actions, you must prove that the healthcare provider fell below the standard of care by a preponderance of the evidence. In other words, you are required to prove that the healthcare provider was more likely than not negligent and caused your injuries. That standard, however, is different in emergency medicine cases.
A.R.S. § 12-572 requires victims of medical malpractice that occurred in an emergency department to prove their case by clear and convincing evidence. That statute increases the burden on medical malpractice victims suing emergency rooms and their healthcare providers. To prove something by clear and convincing evidence means that the evidence is substantially more probably true. To put this burden of proof in context, the clear and convincing evidence standard is somewhere between the preponderance of the evidence standard, discussed above, and the criminal burden of proof which is beyond a reasonable doubt.
It is important to have an experienced medical malpractice attorney navigate this legal issue. It does not mean the case is not winnable or that the defendant did not commit malpractice. The case just must be presented to the jury in the correct manner. Snyder & Wenner had a similar case go to trial against Banner UMC Tucson, which resulted in a $15 million verdict. This was the largest verdict of any kind in the state of Arizona that year, and it was the largest medical malpractice verdict in Arizona in decades. The jury understood that the higher burden was clearly met, and they found in plaintiff’s favor.
If you or a loved one was injured at an emergency department, contact the experienced emergency room medical malpractice lawyers at Snyder & Wenner now via email or call us at 602-224-0005.