Medical Malpractice Law in Alaska

In the state of Alaska, you have a limited window of time where you may file a lawsuit based on medical malpractice law in Alaska. This time frame is two years from the time of the injury or death of the patient.

Negligence

The state of Alaska has adopted the doctrine of pure comparative negligence. A judge first put this into place before it became a state statute. What this doctrine basically says is that the claimant's fault doesn't bar recovery, but instead, damages are reduced in manner that is determined by the percentage of his or her fault.

Alaska State Malpractice Laws at a Glance:

Alaska State Tort Law
Statute of Limitations Two years from the time the injury is first discovered.
Damage Award Limits Limit of $500,000 or thrice the compensatory amount for punitive damages.  1 million or life expectancy calculation limit for severe injury.  $400,000 or life expectancy calculation limit for noneconomic damages.
Joint Defendant Liability The defendants are proportionally liable.
Expert Witness Must be trained and licensed in same field as defendant.  Must be state certified.
Attorney Fees No limits on attorneys fees

Joint and Several Liability

Medical malpractice law in Alaska has rejected both the common laws of joint and several liability and is using the allocated several liability method. This states that in actions that involve more than one person at fault, that the court will prosecute them for the percentage of fault that they possess. When the joint and several liability law was repealed in the state of Alaska, so too was the contribution among joint tortfeasors act.

Vicarious Liability

Medical malpractice law in Alaska goes by the doctrine of apparent or ostensible agency when it comes to emergency room doctors. There have been some laws passed recently that states that the hospital is not vicariously responsible for actions of an emergency room doctor, that is, as long as the doctor carries medical insurance with limits of $500,000 per claim. In cases such as this, the hospital must also post a statement that claims that the emergency room doctors are independent contractors.

Expert Testimony

In some medical malpractice cases, the parties involved will agree not to arbitrate. When this occurs, the court may appoint a three member panel within a time period of 20 days before the answer is filed. This panel of experts has to responsibility to compel witnesses to attend, interview the parties involved, examine the claimant in the case, and urge the production of any necessary materials in the case.

Damage Caps

Medical malpractice law in Alaska has set some specific caps on the amount of damages that may be rewarded in a trial. For an example, damages for losses that are not in money, such as pain, loss in enjoyment in life, and suffering, are capped at $500,000 per claimant. Alaska also has a cap on punitive damages. These are limited to 3 times the compensatory damage or $500,000.

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