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Recoverable Damages in a Phoenix Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

Published on April 6, 2022

Arizona allows patients who suffer injury or illness at the hands of medical practitioners to recover monetary damages for their losses.  Before collecting these damages, the patient or their medical malpractice attorney must prove the medical provider or care facility acted negligently.

Proving Negligence in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit 

Proving negligence in a medical malpractice lawsuit requires a patient to satisfy four separate elements.  

These are as follows: 

  • An official doctor-patient relationship existed.  The doctor agreed to treat the patient, and the patient agreed to receive the doctor’s treatment;
  • The doctor or health care professional was negligent.  The doctor or other health care professional acted in a way that another reasonable, similarly skilled individual would not in the same situation;
  • The doctor or health care professional’s negligence caused the patient’s injuries; and
  • The patient suffered actual harm or measurable loss.  Patients can only sue for medical bills, lost income, physical pain, and mental anguish that directly results from negligence.

Once negligence is established, the type and amount of damages will depend on the injury itself, its severity, and the prognosis for recovery.

Categories of Damages 

There are two categories of damages awardable in medical malpractice lawsuits: economic damages and non-economic damages.

Economic damages are tangible losses that have a calculable monetary value.  Non-economic damages have no definitive monetary value.

Economic Damages 

Economic damages may be present or future costs associated with a patient’s injury.  Future amounts may be approximated through expert witness testimony or physician recommendations for ongoing treatment.

Economic damages can include, but are not limited to:

  • All medical bills;
  • Emergency room and physician visits;
  • Lab work and other testing;
  • Surgery;
  • Specialist visits;
  • Rehabilitation and occupational therapy;
  • Medical equipment and adaptive devices;
  • Prescription drugs and co-pays; 
  • Lost wages; and
  • Loss of earning capacity.

Non-Economic Damages

Juries award non-economic damages according to what is fair, just, and reasonable on a case-by-case basis.  Non-economic damages are quantified by expert and witness testimony as well as victim testimony as to the severity of the injury and the impact of the injury on the victim’s life.

Non-economic damages can include any of the following:

  • Mental and emotional anguish;
  • Loss of enjoyment of life;
  • Permanent loss or use of a body part;
  • Disfigurement; and
  • Loss of consortium.

Other Potential Damages

There are other potential damages available in medical malpractice lawsuits.  These are punitive damages and wrongful death damages.

Punitive damages are damages meant to punish a bad actor and deter future negligence by other similarly situated medical providers in the future.  These damages are reserved for cases where a medical professional or facility was grossly negligent or reckless when providing patient care.

When medical malpractice leads to a patient’s death, wrongful death damages may be awarded to the victim’s family and estate.  Wrongful death damages can cover expenses and losses such as:

  • Funeral and burial costs;
  • Lost earnings of the deceased;
  • The survivors’ pain and suffering; and
  • Lost benefits of the deceased.

Arizona’s Statute of Limitations 

Regardless of the type of damages sought in a medical malpractice lawsuit, Arizona limits the time in which a patient or their family may seek relief.  Most medical malpractice claims must be filed within two years of the date when the malpractice occurred.  There are few exceptions to this rule.  

If you are unsure whether your injury qualifies for a medical malpractice claim or if you are within the timeframe to file a case, contact an experienced Phoenix medical malpractice attorney.

Contact an Experienced Phoenix Medical Malpractice Attorney

No one expects to be injured by their medical provider.  However, medical mistakes happen more often than patients might realize.  If you suspect you were the victim of a preventable medical error, contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney at Knapp & Roberts.

At Knapp & Roberts, one of our skilled attorneys will carefully evaluate your case and provide you with the legal answers you need to take your next steps towards recovery.  Reach out to our Phoenix office today to schedule your confidential consultation.

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The personal injury attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona, at Knapp & Roberts have the compassion and trial lawyer skills to tell your story to a jury. We will get to know you and your family so that we can help the jury understand what has happened to you and your family and how it has changed your lives. Obtain the compensation necessary for the injuries and losses you have suffered.