Has a botched surgery caused injuries leaving you with physical pain and mental anguish? Victims of medical malpractice may be entitled to monetary damages from their health care provider. If you have suffered unforeseen injuries beyond the known risks of a medical procedure, a personal injury attorney may be able to help you. Malpractice lawsuits are complex cases that usually require testimony from expert witnesses for both the plaintiff and defendant. In addition, Washington has many requirements that must be met to properly file and litigate malpractice claims.
Types of Medical Malpractice Cases
In a medical malpractice case, the plaintiff must prove one of three specific types of medical negligence:
- The injury resulted from the health care provider’s failure to follow the accepted standard of care.
- The health care provider promised that the injury suffered would not occur.
- The patient did not consent to the health care that caused the injury.
The Health Care Provider Failed to Follow the Accepted Standard of Care
This is a common type of medical malpractice claim. To be successful in your case, your lawyer must prove that the health care provider failed to use the care, skill, and learning that a reasonable health care provider would utilize in a similar situation. Expert witness testimony may be necessary to establish what would be reasonable in the context of your injury. You must also prove that the health care provider’s actions were the proximate, or actual, cause of your injury.
A Promise that the Injury Would Not Occur
In this type of malpractice case, a health care provider would promise that the health care would provide a specific result or cure. This is uncommon because most health care providers discuss the possible outcomes of medical treatments with their patients. Patients also regularly sign consent forms that address possible negative consequences before the health care is provided.
In a malpractice case involving the patient’s informed consent to a medical procedure, the plaintiff must prove four legal elements. First, the plaintiff must show that the “health care provider failed to inform the patient of a material fact or facts relating to the treatment.” The second element is that the patient consented to the treatment without the material facts. Next, you must show that a reasonably prudent patient under similar circumstances would not have consented to the health care if they been adequately informed. The fourth and final element of such a case is establishing that the medical treatment was the proximate, or actual, cause of the plaintiff’s injury.
Additional Factors in Medical Malpractice Cases
You must consider a few additional details when contemplating a medical malpractice case. First, in all medical malpractice cases in Washington, the parties must attend mediation before trial. Mediation does not affect your right to a jury trial.
Another essential consideration is the statute of limitations. In Washington, you must file your case within three years of the incident that caused the injury OR one year after you discovered (or should have reasonably discovered) the error that caused your injury- whichever is later. This is limited to an eight year maximum unless the statute of limitations is tolled, or extended, for specific statutory reasons.
Covid-19 and Medical Malpractice
Due to the evolving nature of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Washington Legislature enacted Senate Bill 5271 in May 2021. This bill requires the court to consider additional factors in a medical malpractice case involving Covid-19.
Call us at (206) 202-5137 or [email protected] today for a free consultation about your medical malpractice case.