Oklahoma Medical Malpractice: Laws, Claims and Damages
UPDATED: March 7, 2012
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OKLAHOMA MEDICAL MALPRACTICE
An Oklahoma medical malpractice action can be initiated if an Oklahoma health care provider has acted with medical negligence towards a patient. A health care provider is medically negligent when they provide the patient with medical treatment that falls below the usual standard of care, leading to injury of the patient. This standard of care is determined by how other reasonable professionals in the industry would treat their patients. When a health care provider has negligently injured a patient, Oklahoma medical malpractice law allows the patient financial recourse for their injuries. Common acts or omissions that can lead to a medical malpractice lawsuit in Oklahoma are:
- Failure to treat a condition or errors in treatment of a condition;
- Mistakes in filling prescriptions;
- Mistaken or unreasonable diagnosis of a condition, or a failure to diagnose;
- Birth and delivery injuries.
An Oklahoma medical malpractice attorney is a great resource if you suspect that you have been injured by the medical negligence of an Oklahoma health care professional.
Who Can Be Sued in an Oklahoma Medical Malpractice Case?
In Oklahoma, any health care provider can be deemed to have acted in a medically negligent manner and therefore be sued for medical malpractice. This includes any individuals that are licensed to perform medical services on patients, such as doctors, dentists, surgeons, physical therapists, nurses, and psychiatrists.
A health care professional can also include any organization that is licensed to provide medical services, such as clinics, medical daycare centers, hospitals, and medical groups. If you believe that an Oklahoma health care provider negligently injured you, but are not sure, contact an experienced Oklahoma medical malpractice attorney. An attorney can use his or her expertise to assist in this inquiry, and can answer any other questions about your potential claim.
Oklahoma Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims in Oklahoma varies depending on whether the injured party is a minor or an adult. An adult who has been injured by the medical negligence of a health care provider has two years from the date of the negligent act to file a medical malpractice claim. However, a minor under twelve has seven years from the date of the negligent act to file a claim. If the minor is over the age of twelve, the parents must file a claim for medical malpractice by his or her nineteenth birthday.
Because of the time-sensitive nature of the statute of limitations, it’s important to contact an Oklahoma medical malpractice attorney right away if you believe that you have been injured by the negligent acts of a health care provider. Failure to file a claim within the statute of limitations means that you will lose the chance to file your claim, and thus possibly your only means of recovery.
Caps on Medical Malpractice Claims in Oklahoma
Like most other states, Oklahoma allows for the recovery of economic, noneconomic, and punitive damages in a medical malpractice claim. However, Oklahoma law places limits on noneconomic and punitive damages:
- Noneconomic damages are sometimes, but not always, limited to $300,000;
- Punitive damages are generally limited to $100,000, but in cases of especially malicious conduct by the health care provider, the limit is raised to $500,000.
Noneconomic damages account for injuries like loss of consortium and pain and suffering, while punitive damages are awarded when a health care provider injures a patient intentionally. The facts of every case will present different amounts of recoverable damages, so an injured patient should consult an Oklahoma medical malpractice attorney to determine what their own case is worth.
Filing an Oklahoma Medical Malpractice Claim
While a medical malpractice suit is the best way to recover monies for injuries sustained at the hands of a negligent health care provider, filing, negotiating, and litigating an Oklahoma medical malpractice claim is not an easy process. The health care provider generally will have an experienced medical malpractice insurance attorney on their side. These defense attorneys have expert knowledge in this area of law, and will do everything they can to win or get the case dismissed.
In addition, since negligence can only be proven if the health care provider acted below the profession’s standard of care, expert witnesses must be hired and depositions must be taken to support your claim. There also may be more defendants than just the one who directly caused the injury – think of the hospital or clinic where the individual works as well. Failure to identify all of the potential defendants can mean a lower recovery. An experienced Oklahoma medical malpractice attorney will build a strong case from the ground up and keep you from making any procedural mistakes along the way that would cause your case to be dismissed.
Oklahoma Medical Malpractice Laws
- Insurance: Definitions: Title 36, §6810.
- Torts: Limitation of Action: Title 76, §18.
- Damages: Punitive Damages Award by Jury: Title 23, §9.1.