Ariz. law gives liability relief for emergency care
NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Aug. 24, 2009
Arizona physicians won added liability protections in claims involving emergency care under a new law approved by Gov. Jan Brewer in August.
The measure, backed by the Arizona Medical Assn. and Arizona chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians, elevated the burden of proof in emergency cases from "beyond a reasonable doubt" to requiring "clear and convincing evidence" of any alleged negligence.
Doctors said the change was necessary because emergency situations often require quick decision-making without the benefit of knowing a patient's medical history. They hope the law will help reduce frivolous lawsuits and attract specialists back to struggling hospital emergency departments.
The measure passed despite opposition from trial lawyers, who argued it would preclude legitimate claims.
Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2009/08/24/prbf0824.htm.