A physician’s decisions can sometimes mean life or death.
Patients think well of their doctors and expect them to exercise a high level of professional competence. When things go wrong, many are reluctant to blame their doctor even when there is obvious evidence of professional negligence. Arkansas law requires that physicians possess and reasonably apply the same degree of skill and learning used by physicians in the same type of practice within the community in which the doctor practices or a similar community . Most doctors live up to this standard and their professional creed of “do no harm.” Now and then, however, physicians make mistakes which result in injury.
While not all bad outcomes are caused by negligence that subjects the physician to liability, it is important that you have your situation reviewed by an attorney if you believe malpractice has occurred.
The statute of limitations for medical malpractice in Arkansas is typically two (2) years from the date of the negligence. This means that even if the injury does not manifest itself until later, your claim may be barred unless the case is filed within two years of the date of the act or omission that caused the injury. There are a number of exceptions to this rule, and for this reason you should immediately contact an attorney to discuss your situation if you have suffered injury as the result of medical malpractice.
Medical malpractice can take many forms, including:
- Failure to diagnose a disease or illness
- Misdiagnosing a disease or illness
- Failure to properly monitor patients
- Failure to properly treat the diagnosed disease
- Surgical errors, including wrong-site surgery and anesthesia errors
- Birth injury, including errors during delivery and anesthesia errors
- Failure to fully inform the patient of the risks of the surgery or procedure
- Misuse of prescription drugs
- Improper use of medical equipment or implants
- Hospital borne infections
- Other breaches of the standard of care owed to the patient
In 2003, the Arkansas General Assembly stripped away important rights from victims of medical negligence succumbing to pressure from the insurance industry, big business, hospitals, and physicians. Physicians backed the measure after being convinced that their medical malpractice insurance premiums would be lowered if “tort reform” was passed. Not surprisingly, that has not come to pass.
As a result of these “reforms,” it is more difficult than ever for medical malpractice victims to find justice. For years, malpractice plaintiffs have had difficulty obtaining complete medical records, overcoming juror bias that favors physicians, breaking the “conspiracy of silence” which exists among medical professionals (physicians are hesitant to testify against one another, even in the most egregious cases), and explaining complex medical issues to jurors.
The inaptly and deceitfully named “Civil Justice Reform Act” adds to these difficulties in a number of ways by abolishing joint and several liability (which would require multiple culpable parties to be responsible for the entire harm), and requiring that future damages exceeding $100,000 be paid periodically, instead of in a lump sum.
If you need a medical malpractice lawyer, please call us immediately so that we can determine whether we can assist you.