Tag Archives: Arizona

AZ Lawmaker Wants to Amend Constitution to Impose Damage Cap

side note: Conservative Arizona lawmakers are trying to remove obstacles that forbid the General Assembly from imposing caps on the amount of money recoverable for non-economic and punitive damages. Those obstacles are Article 2 sec. 31 and Article 18 sec. 6 of Arizona’s constitution, which specifically prohibit limiting recoverable damages. In short, the two articles read: “No law shall be enacted in this state limiting the amount of damages to be recovered for causing the death or injury of any person,” and “The right of action to recover damages for injuries shall never be abrogated, and the amount recovered shall not be subject to any statutory limitation.”

What Rep. Jack Harper, R-Surprise, is recommending is a constitutional amendment that would grant lawmakers the ability to set arbitrary caps on non-economic and punitive damages, which would require a ballot initiative for ratification. Similar attempts to repeal the provision prohibiting damage caps were made in 1986 and 1994. Both times, the ballot initiatives failed.

Making the chance of Harper’s plan to repeal Article 2 sec. 31 and Article 18 sec. 6 of Arizona’s constitution even less likely is his proposal itself. Harper doesn’t want to tell voters where the Assembly would set limits; instead, he wants the Assembly to be given power to set the cap wherever it sees fit. Basically, he wants a blank check. In a state already suspicious of government influence, I’d say Harper’s proposal has about the same chance of passing as the proverbial snowball in hell.

Two state legislators want changes to sections of the Arizona Constitution that govern how much businesses and others have to pay when a jury finds they’re liable for killing or injuring someone.

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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.

ClinicalAdvisor.com

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.

At long last, Allen’s E.R. malpractice bill signed

side note: IT’S NOW HARDER TO SUE AN ER DOCTOR IN ARIZONA: The Arizona Governor signed a bill into law this week that raises the burden of proof for medical malpractice lawsuits against emergency room physicians. The bill raises the burden of proof for plaintiffs in malpractice suits against emergency room doctors from “preponderance of evidence” that the physician is guilty of malpractice, meaning the charge is more likely true than not, to “clear and convincing evidence,” the highest burden of proof in civil cases. This will likely have a positive impact on ER healthcare workers malpractice insurance premiums.

by Jeremy Duda
AZ Capitol Times

A four-year battle for Sen. Carolyn Allen came to end with a stroke of the governor’s pen.

Gov. Jan Brewer on July 13 signed S1018, which raises the burden of proof for medical malpractice lawsuits against emergency room physicians. Allen, a Scottsdale Republican, had tried unsuccessfully for years to get the measure passed, only to see it fail to reach the governor’s desk.

The bill raises the burden of proof for plaintiffs in malpractice suits against emergency room doctors from “preponderance of evidence” that the physician is guilty of malpractice, meaning the charge is more likely true than not, to “clear and convincing evidence,” the highest burden of proof in civil cases.

Allen said legislation will encourage more doctors to practice emergency medicine in the state.

“What this is more about than anything for me is that we need to have more doctors that are willing to work in the emergency rooms, and this would give them, I think, more comfort that indeed the standards for a lawsuit would now be clear and convincing versus preponderance of evidence,” she said. “This is not to prevent anybody from having redress when they have been harmed.”

Elizabeth Baskett, of the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association, said emergency room physicians generally do not have a patient’s medical history, and as a result are more likely to err in their treatment. Those factors make them more susceptible to lawsuits, she said, which is a deterrent keeping many doctors out of emergency medicine. Continue reading