How Does Medical Malpractice Work in Utah?

Posted by Randy Andrus | May 03, 2022

So you've established with the help of a medical malpractice lawyer that you have a viable medical malpractice claim. You may be wondering what happens next. In this article, we'll discuss how a medical malpractice claim works in Utah from the specific deadlines to keep in mind to the various steps within the process of filing your medical malpractice claim.  

If you believe you've suffered an injury due to medical malpractice, contact us today to set up an initial and confidential consultation where we will review the specific facts of your case and advise you on the next best steps. To schedule your consultation, call us at 801-535-4645. You may, alternatively, fill out this confidential contact form to request a consultation. 

Medical Malpractice Claim Timelines in Utah

In Utah, you must file a claim for medical malpractice within two years after the date you sustained injury or the date you discovered, or should have reasonably discovered, the injury. Utah Code § 78B-3-404.  

Further, Utah acknowledges a more expansive deadline with what is called the “statute of repose,” which stipulates that no action shall be taken after four years have elapsed since the medical error happened. It's important to speak with a medical malpractice lawyer to understand the specific deadlines of your case because sometimes these timelines may be different based on certain facts. For example, if a surgical tool is left inside a patient, and, subsequently, concealed by the guilty parties through fraudulent actions, a plaintiff may have additional time to file a lawsuit. A medical malpractice lawyer can help you understand which terms apply to your case. 

Medical Malpractice Pre-Lawsuit Obligations in Utah

In order to commence a medical malpractice lawsuit, Utah code requires plaintiffs to provide 90-day notice to the defendant about an impending lawsuit. Utah Code § 78B-3-412. This is called a Notice of Intent to Commence Action. According to statute, this notice should include the following types of information: 

  1. A general statement of the nature of the claim
  2. The parties involved
  3. The date, time, and place in which the incident occurred 
  4. The specific circumstances surrounding the claim
  5. The specific allegations of misconduct by the prospective defendant
  6. The nature of the injuries and damages sustained

After the “notice of intent” has been sent, within 60 days, a plaintiff must file a request for a “pre-litigation panel review” of the malpractice claim. This must be filed with the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing (DOPL). The DOPL will then provide a “Certificate of Compliance.” This certificate can be issued even if the pre-litigation panel does not agree that a breach of obligation by the prospective defendant occurred. Utah Code § 78B-3-418.

The procedural requirements of medical malpractice claims in Utah are complex, so be sure to consult a Salt Lake City medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible to ensure you don't miss any important deadlines or mandatory steps within the process. 

Potential Damages Available in Medical Malpractice Cases 

Note that Utah, like most states, employs caps on some medical malpractice damages. These caps determine the amount of compensation plaintiffs may recover as a result of the claim. In Utah, there is a $450,000 cap on non-economic damages, however, there is no cap on the economic damages plaintiffs may recover. Non-economic damages refer to the non-monetary losses suffered due to the malpractice injury. These damages may include items such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, anxiety and depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, etc. Economic damages are monetary losses incurred by the plaintiff as a result of the injury, which may include items such as medical bills, lost wages, physical therapy costs, rehabilitation expenses, etc. 

In certain cases, punitive damages may also exist. These damages increase the overall settlement amount owed to the plaintiff and are ordered by the court in an effort to punish the defendant for particularly harmful conduct in hopes that it will dissuade similar future actions. Punitive damages are not capped in Utah. 

Here are some examples of damages that may be recovered in medical malpractice cases:

Economic Damages:

  • Current and future medical bills 
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Rehabilitation expenses
  • Home modification expenses (related to your injury)
  • Home cleaning or maintenance costs (if you are unable to maintain your home because of your injury)
  • Medication costs
  • Physical therapy costs
  • Etc

Non-Economic Damages:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of companionship
  • Severe physical pain
  • Loss of consortium
  • Wrongful death
  • Etc

Note that this is not a comprehensive list of damages that may be available in any specific case. The amount of compensation and types of damages that may be available in certain claims are highly dependent on the facts of that claim. To ensure you have the best chance of receiving the compensation you need and deserve, be sure to speak with a medical malpractice lawyer to understand the various damages and losses that exist in your case. 

Hiring a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Salt Lake City, Utah

Medical errors can result in a host of painful and life-altering injuries that lead to many potential losses. If you or a loved one have been injured due to the negligence of a medical professional or healthcare provider, you may be eligible for compensation to help you get your life back on track. To establish that you have a viable malpractice case, schedule an initial and confidential consultation with our malpractice lawyer at Andrus Law Firm in Salt Lake City, Utah. 

The process can be extremely complex, with varying timelines and procedural requirements, so contacting an attorney as soon as possible can go a long way in helping you get the justice you deserve. To schedule an appointment with our medical malpractice team, call 801-535-4645 or fill out our secure online form on this page

We will work tirelessly to give you a voice in this fight. Don't back down because of the influence or size of the medical professional or establishment that hurt you. Get a lawyer in your corner as soon as possible to help you fight for the financial, physical, and emotional recovery you deserve. 

If you have more questions about medical malpractice, for general information, visit our other blog post on frequently asked questions about Medical Malpractice in Utah here. 

About the Author

Randy Andrus

BIO   Education University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law (LL.M. 1987) Business and Taxation – Transnational Practice Courses and International Bar Association Convention, Salzburg, Austria Southwestern University School of Law (J.D. 1984) Dean's List American Jurisprudence...

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