In Utah, clearly defined medical malpractice law falls under the state statutes, and judges base their decisions on statutory law. Attorneys cannot easily overturn the rulings of judges that base rulings on statutory law.
The strict definition in Utah is to prevent straying from the original intent of the framers of the law. Without a clear definition new precedents may be established. The new precedents make it difficult to grasp the original intent of those who wrote the law. Utah intends that the medical malpractice law be defined, clear and meaningful. Judges are encouraged to follow the original intent.
Statute of Limitations
The statue of limitations allows claims to be filed up to two years after the injury is discovered and cannot extend beyond four years after the initial act of malpractice or negligence. If a foreign object or fraud is involved, the statue of limitations is one year from the time that the injury was discovered, despite federally protected status.
There is a limit of $400,000 for non-economic damages, if the actions occurred after July 1, 2002. This limit is adjusted every year since by the Administrative Office of Courts.
Joint Defendant Liability
In the state of Utah defendants have proportionate, joint liability. Joint liability refers to one or more defendants named who share the burden of liability.
Utah state malpractice laws do not have provisions for witnesses that are experts, whereas most states require a witness be involved in the same profession as the defendant, and are required to spend a majority of their time teaching at the university level or be otherwise involved in the medical community through their own practice.
Deviation of the Law
In the United States, many states allow slight changes to the original meaning of the law; although, the accumulation of these changes can sometimes supersede the intent of the original lawmakers. Utah remains an exception to this line of thinking. Judges must base decisions on the Utah original statutory law, not precedent, and the deviations from original intent have been kept to a minimum.
Precedent has a place, and knowing the rights of others in the past helps plaintiffs understand the unpredictable turns in a case. Knowing the past leads to understanding what has been successful in a court of law in Utah.
Utah - News Articles
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