Medical Malpractice Law

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Every state has enacted medical malpractice laws which spell out the rights and limitations of each party involved in a medical malpractice case. The plaintiff in a medical malpractice case is the party who suffered damages as a result of the intentional, careless, or negligent acts of a doctor, hospital, or other medical professional. The latter is the defendant in a medical malpractice case.

While every state has a unique set of medical malpractice statutes, there are a number of medical malpractice laws that have been adopted by virtually every state, in one form or another. The following document will help familiarize you with medical malpractice law and will get you familiar with your possible legal rights and options in a medical malpractice law case.

Statute of Limitations 

All states have adopted a medical malpractice law about the time a medical malpractice victim has to file a legal claim. This medical malpractice law is referred to as a statute of limitations and can differ by state and case specifics. A state's medical malpractice law may determine the period of time in which a person can file a lawsuit based on when the malpractice occurred and/or when it was discovered. A statute of limitations may also be different for minors.

Contributory and Comparative Negligence 

Many states have a medical malpractice law regarding contributory and/or comparative negligence. These laws spell out a victim's right to recover medical malpractice damages if they were partly at fault for the accident. A pure comparative negligence medical malpractice law will reduce a claimant's recovery based on their percentage of fault but will not eliminate their eligibility for compensation. States with a contributory negligence law may prohibit a medical malpractice victim from recovery if they were responsible for the damages in any way.

Vicarious Liability 

Many states also have a medical malpractice law regarding vicarious liability. In states with this type of medical malpractice law, a hospital can also be held liable in a case if the responsible medical professional was an actual or ostensible agent of that hospital. Many states, though not all, have a medical malpractice law that requires the testimony of a medical expert who can verify the medical malpractice claims. Some states have medical malpractice laws which limit the amount of non-economic damages a plaintiff can receive and the amount of money an attorney can charge a client for representation in a medical malpractice case.


There are a number of other medical malpractice laws that most states have adopted.

  • periodic payment options
  • immunities
  • arbitration rights
  • collateral sources

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Contact an Attorney Near You 

The area of medical malpractice law is extremely complex. If you believe that you have a medical malpractice case, you may wish to speak with an attorney who has experienced protecting the rights of medical malpractice victims and their families. If you would like to learn more about medical malpractice law, please contact us to speak with a qualified and experienced medical malpractice attorney who can evaluate your case and determine the best way to protect your legal interests.

Related Medical Malpractice Law News

April 7, 2008 - Medical Malpractice Legislation Passed in TN

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