Law Office of Ralph C. Petty

What Is A Medical Malpractice Claim?


A medical malpractice claim is when a medical provider has treated a patient in a manner that is below the standard of care for that care provider. What that means is that the treatment that is being given isn’t up to the standard of care for the medical industry. If that causes an injury to a patient, then that is the basis for a claim.

What Are The Top Misconceptions About Medical Malpractice Claims?

There are several misconceptions regarding medical malpractice claims. For example, if there is a negative outcome from a treatment provided by a healthcare provider, often people assume it must be due to medical malpractice. That simply isn’t true. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees for a good outcome when it comes to medical treatment. In fact it is quite common for procedures to have known side effects or different effects on different people that are not caused by a breach of the standard of care or any mistake by a healthcare professional.

Are Medical Malpractice Claims Typically Against Doctors Only Or Other Healthcare Professionals As Well?

A medical malpractice action can be against any healthcare provider. If that healthcare provider performs a procedure or undertakes treatment that is below the standard of care, or contrary to the standard of care, then that individual—be it a nurse, CNA, psychiatrist, physical therapist, a medical doctor, or anyone that provides care to you—if they negligently breach the standard of care in the treatment they are providing for you, then they can be the subject of a medical malpractice claim.

Does The Case Have To Be Extremely Serious In Order To Pursue A Medical Malpractice Claim?

The unfortunate reality is, in the state of Utah, the case has to be extremely serious in order to pursue a medical malpractice claim. The reason for that is because the legislature, in its attempt to protect the medical profession, has made medical malpractice so expensive and difficult to get to trial, and to get to a verdict, that the costs are exorbitant for the Medical Malpractice Attorney. Unless the injuries are serious and permanent, then it’s very difficult to risk the upfront investment that has to be made by an attorney in order to get the case through litigation and all the way to a verdict.

It’s important to understand that the same insurance company insures most medical doctors in the state of Utah; UMIA. When the same insurance company insures most of the doctors in the state, it creates a conflict of interest that arises for all related doctors, if they were to testify against one another in a medical malpractice claim. If there is a verdict against the doctor or a medical care provider, that can cause premiums for medical malpractice to increase. This creates a conflict of interest for the expert whom we need to establish what the standard of care is for the healthcare provider in our claim and that fell below the standard of care. The practical result is that we must get out of state experts who are not insured by UMIA to provide expert testimony about what the standard of care is, and how the healthcare provider fell below that standard causing injury to the plaintiff.

It is very expensive to bring medical experts in from out of state. It costs thousands of dollars; often $5,000-10,000 just to have a file reviewed by a doctor in another state to determine whether there is a basis for a claim of medical malpractice. If that particular doctor is then going to be the expert, there will be tens of thousands of more dollars that will be incurred in getting him or her to write a report, to sit for a deposition, to travel to Utah for testimony at a trial, and for the final verdict. Because of this, the unfortunate reality is that the legislature and the medical industry have created a condition where medical malpractice injuries have to be extremely serious in order to justify the risk and the expense.

For more information on Medical Malpractice Claims In Utah, a free initial consultation with Medical Malpractice Attorney is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (801) 783-1111 today.

Ralph C. Petty, ESQ.

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