Seattle Medical Malpractice Lawyer
What would happen if it were no longer legal to sue your doctor or hospital? Some people believe that would be a good idea. If your doctor got distracted and improperly left your baby languishing in the birth canal for too long, your child’s life-long battle with brain damage will merely be a sad, unfortunate event instead of a legal cause of action.
Despite what some people think, medical malpractice lawsuits play an important role in improving the healthcare industry. Medical negligence claims are one of the few ways to hold medical professionals and facilities responsible for their careless or reckless patient care. For example, lawsuits over healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs) led to drastic changes in equipment, disinfectants, and procedures to reduce or eliminate the incidence of infections
When you or a loved one are harmed by a medical professional’s negligence, you can and should speak with a Seattle medical malpractice attorney at Menzer Law Firm. You deserve to learn more about Washington medical malpractice law and how it applies to your situation. You should know whether you have a valid legal claim, and if so, how to pursue that claim to obtain just compensation.
Contact Menzer Law Firm at (206) 903-1818 to schedule a free consultation.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice, also known as medical negligence, is a failure of a healthcare professional to uphold the standard of care or obtain the patient’s informed consent. Side effects and complications are not inherently malpractice. Poor outcomes can occur even when your doctor does everything right.
Upholding the standard of care means that medical professionals are required to exercise the degree of care, skill, and learning expected of a reasonably prudent healthcare provider at the time, in the profession or class to which they belong, in the State of Washington, acting in the same or similar circumstances. For example, your cardiologist should act as a reasonably prudent cardiologist in Washington would under the same types of circumstances.
All medical professionals, except in emergency situations, need to get your informed consent. You must be informed of all the material facts related to your medical care before you can effectively consent to treatment. It is negligent for a doctor to not talk with you about the facts and risks associated with care and obtain your informed permission.
Common Types of Medical Malpractice
Our medical malpractice attorneys at Menzer Law Firm have handled negligence claims in the Seattle area and throughout Washington state for decades. We have worked closely with medical malpractice victims and their families who were injured due to some of the most common types of negligence, including:
- Misdiagnosis/Failure to Diagnose: A physician might fail to properly diagnose an injury or condition despite having the ability to do so. Your doctor might not order the appropriate tests, might read the results wrong, or might ignore some of your symptoms. A failure to diagnose or incorrect diagnosis can cause you to endure harmful, unnecessary treatments while leaving your condition to get worse.
- Medication Errors: A doctor, pharmacist, or nurse might make a dangerous medication mistake. Your doctor might prescribe a drug that is inappropriate for your condition or could interact with other drugs you are taking. A nurse may administer the wrong drug or the correct medication in the wrong dose or form. A pharmacist or tech could incorrectly fill a prescription. Medication errors can be harmful and even fatal.
- Patient Falls: When you are admitted to a hospital or other health care facility, you need to receive proper, round-the-clock care. You should not be left to get up and move around on your own. The risk of falling when you are ill or recovering from surgery is too great. Without adequate assistance and reasonable safety precautions, you could fall and suffer a traumatic head injury or broken bone.
- Surgical Errors: When you go into surgery, whether it is a necessary or elective procedure, you expect the surgical care to take the utmost care with your life. However, a doctor, nurse, anesthesiologist, or other members of the surgical team might be careless and make a mistake. You might go through the wrong procedure or have the surgery performed on the wrong part of the body. You might receive too much or too little anesthesia. You could be exposed to harmful bacteria or viruses that cause an HAI.
- Birth Injury: Pregnant women and infants need to be monitored carefully to ensure pregnancies and births progress safely. When doctors or nurses fail to monitor pregnant women and fetuses or ignore signs of distress, it can cause the mothers and babies harm. Negligent care can lead to miscarriage, early birth, or unnecessary C-Sections. It also can cause the infant to suffer broken bones, nerve damage, brain damage, or cerebral palsy.
Do You Have a Seattle Medical Malpractice Claim?
When you are the victim of medical malpractice, you might be facing serious consequences for the rest of your life. A lawsuit cannot relieve you of all your pain and suffering, disfigurement, or loss of function brought on by the negligence of the hospital or doctor. The legal system, however, does provide financial remedies for the physical, psychological, and financial injuries associated with malpractice.
You should talk with a Seattle medical malpractice attorney about whether you have a valid and strong legal claim against a medical provider. In order to have a successful malpractice claim, you need to be able to prove that the medical provider breached the applicable standards of care; that you suffered serious injuries, and that those breaches of the standard of care were the primary cause of your significant injuries.
Fight for Compensation
When you suffer a serious injury because of medical negligence or recklessness, the law might entitle you to compensation for your:
- Past and Future Medical Bills
- Past and Future Lost Wages
- Physical Limitations or Disabilities
- Pain and Suffering
- Emotional Distress
Insurance companies representing doctors and hospitals typically are reluctant to pay you fair compensation for your injuries. Their lawyers argue that no liability exists at all, leaving you to deal with the injuries, pain, and financial burdens on your own but our malpractice lawyers may fight for your rights.
The Washington Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations
There is a time limit on how long you have to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. The Washington statute of limitations for medical negligence is generally three years from the dates of the alleged negligence or one year from when you discovered or reasonably could have discovered the medical provider’s negligence. There is a second time limit in Washington law — the “statute of repose” — which states that all claims, even if there is a reasonably late discovery of the negligence, must be brought within eight years of the alleged negligence.
How do I know if my doctor committed malpractice?
One of the hard parts of medical malpractice is figuring out whether your doctor did something wrong that amounts to negligence. Not all doctor errors are considered malpractice Doctors make judgment calls based on the information at hand. Sometimes it isn’t the right diagnosis, or the treatment doesn’t work. That doesn’t make it negligence, which is why it’s essential to get help from malpractice attorney so they can to review the relevant medical records and often retain a medical expert to tell us if there was malpractice.
Can I see if someone sued my doctor for medical malpractice before?
You can look into your doctor’s background in a few ways. Look for any disciplinary actions with the Washington Medical Commission. Next, you can check the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB), which shows medical malpractice settlements and verdicts for practitioners in the U.S. Another option, though it’s not exhaustive, is to search state court records.
Where should I file a medical malpractice lawsuit?
You can only file a lawsuit where a court has jurisdiction over the parties involved and the subject matter. You can file the suit in the state where the malpractice happened. For example, if the malpractice took place in a Seattle hospital, you could sue here even if you live outside of Washington.
Will my medical malpractice case go to trial?
Maybe, but most medical malpractice cases settle. In Washington, the law requires you to go through mediation before trial. That means, even after your lawyer files your medical malpractice lawsuit, you’ll have an opportunity to settle the case out of court. Menzer Law Firm’s medical malpractice lawyers always prepare his cases for trial, which increases the likelihood of settlement.
What happens if I learned about malpractice after the statute of limitations?
In Washington, you generally have three years from the date the medical malpractice happened to file a lawsuit. But in some cases, you don’t find out you were the victim of negligence until much later. That’s why Washington has the “discovery rule.” Once you discover or reasonably should have discovered your injury was because of malpractice, you have one year to file a lawsuit. This discovery rule has limits, however. In Washington, you have a total of eight years from the date of malpractice to file your lawsuit.
Call Menzer Law Firm to talk to a Seattle Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Matt Menzer and his team aren’t intimidated by insurance companies and their lawyers that try to deny compensation to victims of medical malpractice. Matt has over 30 years of experience and is well-prepared to deal with the tactics that malpractice defendants and their lawyers use to try to prevent you from receiving fair compensation.
If you are the victim of medical malpractice, contact Menzer Law Firm malpractice attorneys or call (206) 903-1818 today to schedule your free consultation. We accept medical malpractice cases on a contingency fee basis. There are no fees right away. You only pay us if we win you compensation.