What Is The Shared Fault Rule In Medical Malpractice?

Every day, we trust doctors, nurses, and medical staff to take care of us and our loved ones. When a medical professional violates this trust by acting negligently, the results can be devastating. If you feel you have been a victim of medical malpractice, you should consider speaking to a personal injury attorney about your health problems. It’s important to remember, however, that Arizona laws dictate the idea that both the defendant and the plaintiff can be considered negligent in a personal injury case. This shared fault rule extends to medical malpractice cases as well.

Shared Fault Rule

Shared fault, also known as contributory negligence, states that both parties of a personal injury cases can be held liable if they both contributed to the injury.

For example, say you went to a surgeon to have rotator cuff surgery performed on your shoulder. After the surgery, you’re told not to use your arm for six weeks, and you’re given a sling to wear during the six-week timeframe. You experience a great deal of pain after about four weeks, when you take off your sling and use your arm.

A trip back to the surgeon leads to the discovery that your tendon was damaged during the surgery. The surgeon is faulted for not properly repairing your tendon, but you’re also faulted because you used your arm a month after surgery when you were told not to use it for six weeks.

According to the shared fault rule, your damages would be diminished by the amount the court considers your responsibility. Say the court found you 40% responsible for your rotator cuff injuries, and the surgeon was found 60% at fault for making a mistake and damaging your tendon. If you asked for $100,000 in damages, you would be awarded $60,000, or 60% of the amount requested, because you were 40% negligent.

Wrongful Death Claims

The family members of a patient who dies as a result of a personal injury may bring a wrongful death suit against that healthcare professional who was responsible for the injury. Arizona laws do not place a cap of damages awarded in wrongful death claims.

Speak To a Personal Injury Attorney Today

Whether or not you can be considered responsible for any aspect of your claim, you are still entitled to ask for compensation for an injury resulting from medical malpractice. You should not be made to carry the entire financial burden for something that is not 100% your fault.

The personal injury attorneys at Udall Shumway, PLC can review your case and resulting injuries, and help you get the compensation you deserve.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Shared Fault Rule, or any other personal injury, please feel free to contact Brian T. Allen at  480.461.5335,  log on to udallshumway.com,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.