Medical Malpractice in Juneau, AK

Medical practice lawsuits have made headline news recently. For example, the Alaska Beacon reported on a historic decision about this type of litigation in 2022. The state supreme court ruled that damage caps are unconstitutional under certain circumstances.

As a result, the most common concern about starting a lawsuit in Juneau may not apply. Many patients worry they will not get as much as they deserve, even if they receive a settlement. Anyone who reads this article today may have more options to protect their future than they believe.

What Evidence Do I Need for Juneau, Alaska Medical Malpractice Claims?

The burden of proof falls on the injured party in filing a medical malpractice claim. An experienced Juneau, AK medical malpractice lawyer can guide you through this entire process.

While there can be some differences in details based on the state in which you file your claim, there are some standard benchmarks to try and hit.

  • There was a working relationship between the doctor and the patient. 
  • There was negligence on behalf of the doctor – You must prove the doctor was negligent in their diagnosis. You cannot sue a doctor for medical malpractice simply because you did not appreciate their treatment or opinion.
  • There needs to be cause and effect – Cases usually involve long-term injuries. You must prove the injuries referenced in the claim are a direct result of the doctor’s care and not because of any pre-existing condition.
  • The injury in the claim led to further complications.
  • There are multiple types of pain that a patient can sue for currently. 

Alaska Statutes contain some notable factors cases from Juneau will want to take into account. The law makes it transparent that you need to prove the points provided above. However, the burden of proof is on you as the plaintiff. The court does not presume the fault is with the defendant during a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Hospital Responsibility

You may wonder if you can also sue the Juneau hospital or facility where the doctor works. In most situations, you cannot sue a hospital for a doctor’s malpractice. Most doctors are independent contractors, which absolves hospitals from liability. Nurses and other hospital staff are direct employees. So, if malpractice occurs through one of them, there are grounds to sue the facility. An exception exists when the doctor has employment with the Juneau, Alaska hospital or facility.

The Varying Types of Medical Malpractice

As long as you meet the conditions to file, you have grounds to file a claim. But you will need to decide in which category your claim falls. The most common are:

  • Wrongful treatment: a doctor gives you treatment other medical professionals would not attempt.
  • Failure to diagnose correct illness: The doctor misdiagnosed you and caused an injury.
  • Failure to disclose risks to patients: The doctor fails to inform you of the medical risks or did not carry out their duty of informed consent. As a result, their inaction prevented you from making an informed decision.

There are additional categories or reasons for filing a lawsuit, such as the following doctor errors:

  • Misreading or ignoring test results from the lab
  • Surgical errors
  • Not following up properly or offering adequate post-care
  • Performing unnecessary procedures

Damages Available in Juneau, AK

There are three types of damages a court will award for medical malpractice.

  • General Damages: compensation for physical or mental suffering due to the negligent actions of the doctor
  • Punitive Damages: damages awarded as punishment for the medical professional or facility at fault
  • Special Damages: expenses from medical bills and lost wages

In 2022, Alaska Public Media reported a historic change to the damage cap for medical malpractice cases. The Alaska Supreme Court has ruled it is unconstitutional to set a ceiling for this type of litigation. Their existence used to allow companies to put patients in worse financial shape than they would be otherwise. But, this ruling does not apply to all situations. Your attorney may identify a limitation based on the facts of your case.

Statute of Limitations

Medical malpractice claims carry a strict statute of limitations, which vary depending on the state. If you do not file the claim within the statute of limitations, the court will dismiss the case with prejudice regardless of the facts.

The Alaska Code of Civil Procedure governs how long a patient has to file a lawsuit. As of 2022, Juneau residents need to file a civil complaint within two years of when they suffered an injury.

Medical Malpractice Review Panels

In some states, you must first submit your claim to a review panel of medical experts. They hear the evidence and decide whether malpractice occurred. Their decision does not equate to a court’s decision, but their approval is necessary to build a lawsuit.

Furthermore, their findings can lend significant credibility to a claim. The review panel findings will make their way to court.

Complaints about medical malpractice in Juneau go to the Division of Healthcare Services. They ask that you complete a Complaint Intake Form for them. Once finished, you should make copies and mail the document to the state government. Alternatively, you can deliver it in person.

Do I Need to Hire an Attorney?

Medical malpractice claims in Juneau, Alaska can be complex and burdensome to prove. It can also be overwhelming, especially while you suffer the consequences of malpractice. We recommend consulting with a personal injury attorney or an attorney in Juneau with experience in medical malpractice.

An Alaska medical malpractice attorney can help you in many ways to put together your case. Working with an attorney means he or she will often do the following:

  • Build your case
  • Collect important evidence
  • Find expert witnesses to testify on your behalf
  • Help you prepare for the malpractice review panel
  • Take your claim to court

Work with an Experienced Local Lawyer in Juneau, Alaska

Since your case is incredibly important to you, it makes sense to seek legal help. You should at minimum consult with a qualified Juneau attorney who is familiar with such cases. We can even help you connect with an attorney across Alaska state lines.

Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!

How It All Works

Call us or answer the questions on this site. Your category, location, and additional information will help us connect you to a legal professional and we’ll send you the results instantly.

Which Areas of Law?

We have attorneys in over 20 legal categories to choose from.

How Much Does This Cost?

We don’t charge you to be connected. Some legal categories require upfront fees while others do not. The legal professional will determine this with you before you commit to anything.