Arizona toughens burden of proof in medical malpractice cases

side note: According to this article, the new Arizona law that makes it more difficult to sue for medical malpractice has been quite effective. Will it pass constitutional appeals? This has been a problem for States such as Illinois, Missouri and many others.

An Arizona medical malpractice reform bill, which was signed into law last summer and went into effect recently, makes it harder for patients to sue hospitals, emergency room physicians, on-call specialists, and other hospital personnel involved in providing emergency treatment.

Senate Bill 1018 raised the burden of proof required by plaintiffs to sue health care practitioners. Under the new law, plaintiffs will have to prove by “clear and convincing” evidence that the health care provider committed negligence. “Clear and convincing” evidence is the highest legal standard of proof required in a civil case, and is not easy to prove. Previously, plaintiffs only had to prove by a “preponderance of evidence” that negligence had been committed. “Preponderance of evidence” means that the evidence shows that it was more likely than not that the medical professional’s acts or omissions violated the accepted standard of medical care and caused the patient’s injury. This standard is considerably easier to prove than clear and convincing evidence.

Read the rest about the Arizona law over at Clinical Advisor. Sign-in may be necessary.

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