Medical Malpractice vs. Negligence Claims

Medical Malpractice vs. Negligence Claims

Learn how to identify a medical malpractice claim.


Medical malpractice is a serious issue that hospitals and health care facilities throughout the country suffer from. The difference between medical malpractice and a negligence lawsuit can be a difficult one to make. Arizona law defines medical malpractice as a health care provider's failure to provide the proper degree of medical care to a patient and this failure results in preventable injuries to the patient. 

The statute of limitations to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Arizona is two years from the date of the incident. If this deadline is missed the right to file a claim is lost. Another factor that needs attention in this type of claim is the discovery rule. If medical malpractice is not discovered until months or years after the patient received the medical treatment, for example, if a foreign object was discovered to be left inside the body during surgery, then the two-year statute of limitations will begin when this foreign object was discovered and not when the actual surgery was performed. This provides patients enough time to file a claim after they've discovered this negligent action. 

Medical malpractice can cover different errors committed by a healthcare provider such as:

  • Surgical errors
  • Medication mistakes
  • Failure to diagnose
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Childbirth injuries

A medical malpractice claim must prove the four elements of negligence (duty of care, breach of duty, causation and damages were caused by the negligent action). However, if you lost a loved one due to a healthcare provider's negligence, you should contact a wrongful death attorney to determine what the best course of action should be. A lawyer will be able to guide you through the claims process and work for the best possible outcome depending on your specific situation.