If you’ve been injured by an Arkansas medical professional, there are ways to find monetary relief as long as you act fast. Arkansas law provides lawsuits can be filed under a strict statute of limitations of two years from the medical malpractice accident’s occurrence. But, what does medical malpractice consist of to qualify for the statute of limitations? Arkansas medical malpractice lawyer Ken Kieklak explains.
The Farlex Legal Dictionary defines medical malpractice as the “improper, unskilled, or negligent treatment of a patient by a physician, dentist, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care professional.” Medical malpractice can occur in various ways among health care professionals. Examples include misdiagnosis of health issues, medical procedures performed in an unskilled manner, prescribing the wrong medication, leaving instruments inside the body after an operation, negligent at-home care and the list continues indefinitely.
All health care professionals can be subjected to lawsuits for their negligence and malpractice in performing medical procedures. Medical professionals owe a high standard of duty of care to all of their patients. If they do not adhere to the standard of care and cause injury, it may be proven to be negligence. You should have peace of mind knowing that if a medical professional harms you, you do have options to rectify the harm and damage done.
How Long Do I Have to Bring a Medical Malpractice Claim in Arkansas?
The first step in filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is obtaining a competent Springdale, AR medical malpractice attorney to research your rights under Arkansas’s statute of limitations. The two-year medical malpractice statute of limitations starts as soon as the accident occurs. If you wait to file your claim at the outset and the statute of limitations runs out, your case can be dismissed from court despite your attorney’s efforts. But, there are some exceptions to the strict two-year statute of limitations.
First, if you find a medical instrument or sponge left inside you after an operation, you have one year from the time of discovery to file a claim. It seems silly that a medical professional would not know to remove all foreign objects from the body after completion of an operation. But, the rule is in place for a reason. This mistake happens with some frequency causing millions of damages to be collected for many unlucky medical malpractice victims.
Second, if you are a minor under the age of nine, you can file a claim at any time up until the minor reaches the age of 11. Parents and guardians of minors have a longer window of time to file a claim that may be helpful in establishing the health care professional’s fault. There may also be medical complications that develop later in the minor’s life that may cause a lawsuit to be needed.
Speaking of minors, negligence in childbirth is a huge area of medical malpractice law making gynecologists and other pregnancy health care professionals at risk for a lawsuit. The National Practitioner Data Bank reports 8,012 pregnancy or childbirth medical malpractice claims filed in Arkansas between 2004 – 2014. Negligence may occur in the birthing process or injury may occur to the mother during the pregnancy. Bringing a child into the world is one of the most special gifts given to humans. If a medical professional has marred this day by injuring your newborn, seek medical and legal assistance immediately.
Are There Limits on The Damages I Can Obtain from a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
Here too, there are also limitations on the amounts of damages to be awarded in medical malpractice lawsuits in Arkansas. Punitive damages in medical malpractice cases are capped from $250,000 – $1 million in damages in total. Therefore, if you are going to file a lawsuit, your injuries must be specific and documented. Make sure the medical malpractice attorney you hire is competent in your specific injuries field of negligence. An attorney’s lack of skill can cost you a case.
Problems for the plaintiff in medical malpractice lawsuits may occur which limit damage awards as well. Arkansas upholds joint, several and contributory negligence in medical malpractice law suits. This can be applied if the plaintiff has a percentage of fault in the injuries occurring from the accident. For example, if the plaintiff is 10% at fault in a $100,000 lawsuit award of damages, then $10,000 may be withheld by the court for the plaintiff’s personal negligence. Here too, other defendants may incur liability in a single medical malpractice lawsuit causing them to pay the total amount of damages separate from each defendant. For example, 3 medical professionals sued in a single case may be held liable for $100,000 in damages each by themselves by the court to pay the plaintiff’s injuries.
Rely on Our Medical Malpractice Experience
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured by a negligent, careless, or reckless medical professional in Arkansas the Law Practice of Ken Kieklak can help. To schedule a private and free medical malpractice consultation call our firm at (479) 316-0438 today or contact our medical malpractice and defective medical device injury lawyers in Bentonville online.