Utah Medical Malpractice Lawyer

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Because of the highly technical and complex aspects of medical malpractice law, if you have been injured due to the negligent acts of a health care provider, you will need to seek the advice of an attorney who specializes in medical malpractice. Medical malpractice cases occur when a health care provider such as a doctor, dentist, nurse, pharmacist, hospital or nursing home, provides less than the accepted standard of care to their patient, and the substandard care causes an injury. It is a form of tort law, and provides a way for those who have suffered from medical malpractice, either through injury or through the death of a family member, to claim and receive compensation.

Medical malpractice lawsuits may be complicated and expensive to pursue. It is essential that you seek the advice of an experienced medical malpractice attorney. If your case can be substantiated, you will be working with this attorney and his or her office for years through the trial and potential appeal process. Many reputable malpractice attorneys have nurses or other medical professionals on staff that can help to evaluate your case. For this reason, it's important that you feel comfortable and confident working closely with your attorney and her or his staff.

Attorneys will generally provide a free consultation to discuss your case. The State of Utah has limited the contingency fee that attorneys in medical malpractice cases can charge, to no more than one-third of the amount recovered. This means that upon the successful completion of your case, your attorney may be entitled to one-third of your total settlement amount or less. Pursuing a medical malpractice case can be very expensive. Therefore, you will want to discuss with your attorney the payment of any costs, including expert witness fees, involved in preparing your case.

While Utah does not require that expert witnesses testify on your behalf, it would be likely that a doctor or other medical professional will be retained as an expert witness. If the medical errors in your case are easily understandable by jurors, however, this may not be necessary.

There are specific elements in a medical malpractice case that have to be brought forth in order to have a case work. They have to show that a duty was owed, because there is a legal duty that exists whenever a health care provider or hospital engages in the care or treatment of a person. Showing that the duty was breached is also important; breach of duty simply means that the provider did not conform to the accepted standard of care. This may be proven by an expert testimony or by obvious errors. One has to show that the breach caused an injury, and what the specific damages are. If there are no damages, then there is no basis for a claim, even if the medical provider was negligent.

The time frame in which you have to file a claim for medical malpractice is called the statue of limitations. In Utah, the statue of limitations for medical malpractice claims is generally two years from the date the injury was discovered, or should have been discovered. However, in some circumstances you may have up to four years to file your claim. These rules do not apply to minor children. It is always best to contact an attorney upon your first inclination that there is a problem with your medical care to avoid missing the window of opportunity to file a claim before the statute of limitations expires.

There are two general types of damages that your attorney will seek on your behalf in medical malpractice cases, economic and non-economic.

Economic damages include the actual medical costs due to the injury and any lost wages or earning potential. Non-economic losses are for pain, suffering and inconvenience. The State of Utah has set limits on the amount of non-economic damages for medical malpractice cases to $400,000. These caps help to keep malpractice insurance premiums at affordable levels.

Nearly three-quarters of settled medical malpractice cases involve a medical error, and according to some estimates, most of these are potentially preventable medical errors. If you have suffered because of a possibly preventable medical error, it's important to contact a qualified medical malpractice lawyer today, in order to begin the process of pursuing the compensation you deserve.


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