Some mistakes made in a hospital or clinic rise to the level of medical malpractice when a health care provider fails to meet a basic standard of competent care. You can recover compensation for these errors by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. However, there are numerous rules that need to be followed when bringing a medical malpractice lawsuit against a health care provider. If you are considering pursuing this type of legal action, you should consult the medical malpractice lawyers at Owen | Vanderbrug. We can help you bring a personal injury or wrongful death claim against a doctor, a hospital, or another medical provider in Seattle, Spokane, or elsewhere in Washington.Medical Malpractice Claims in Washington
If you have been injured by your doctor or another health care provider, you may be able to recover damages by bringing a medical malpractice lawsuit. Under Revised Code of Washington section 7.70.040, you will need to prove that your health care provider did not use the learning, skill, or care that a reasonably prudent health care provider in the same profession would have used under similar circumstances, and this failure proximately (legally) caused your injuries.
In most cases, it is necessary to retain an expert to provide opinions about what the professional standard of care was and precisely how it was breached. Under Washington Court Rule ER 702, a qualified expert witness can provide expert opinions on liability and damages when the expert's scientific or specialized knowledge can help the jury determine whether a defendant's error constituted medical negligence.
Often, there are many medical experts on both sides, and a medical malpractice trial can turn into a battle of the experts. However, there are certain medical malpractice cases that will not require expert testimony. When a “never event” occurs, such as the wrong limb being amputated, a medical malpractice attorney likely could convince a jury that there was a medical error without expert testimony. However, unless the malpractice is an obvious, gross deviation from the professional standard of care, expert testimony will be required.
Generally speaking, Washington's statute of limitations is three years from the date of the underlying malpractice. However, it may be one year from the date when you discovered or should have discovered that you were injured because of medical malpractice. There are some events that can keep the statute of limitations from running, such as a foreign object being left inside you or a health care provider who intentionally concealed medical malpractice by means of fraud, in which case you have a year from the date that you actually knew about the malpractice to file a lawsuit with the assistance of a medical malpractice attorney. Our attorneys will litigate medical malpractice cases in Seattle, Spokane and in all cities and counties in the state of Washington.
Unlike with some states, there are no damages caps on medical malpractice lawsuits. They have been found unconstitutional by the state supreme court, which removed a law that imposed caps on noneconomic “emotional distress” damages.
In Washington, courts follow joint and several liability rules. As long as you were not at fault for the medical malpractice, which would be extremely unusual, you can collect compensation from any party who was at fault, no matter the percentage of fault that this party bears. For example, if a primary care physician as well as an oncologist committed medical negligence and were each 50% responsible for not diagnosing your cancer, you may be able to obtain 100% of the damages from either of them.Consult a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Seattle, Spokane or Elsewhere in Washington
If you believe that you may need to pursue legal action for medical malpractice, you should consult the injury lawyers at Owen | Vanderbrug. We have offices in Seattle and Spokane, from which we represent people injured by medical malpractice, slip and falls, and car accidents in Redmond, Bellevue, Kent, Longview, Vancouver, Port Orchard, Tacoma, Everett, Spokane, Olympia, and other areas of King, Clark, Cowlitz, Kitsap, Pierce, Snohomish, Spokane, and Thurston Counties. Call us at (800) 805-5028 or use our online form to set up a free appointment.