Medical malpractice can cause serious harm, injury, or death to a patient. The victim and their family might also suffer because of the change in lifestyle and financial losses caused by the injury.
When a Seattle area doctor or other medical professional harms you or a loved one because they failed to perform their job competently, you might be entitled to compensation. A Seattle medical malpractice lawyer can help you build your case and fight for the justice and compensation you deserve.
If you or someone you know needs a medical malpractice lawyer in King or Snohomish counties, get in touch with Ben Crump Law, PLLC, at (800) 641-8998, and a member of our team will assess the case and outline the legal options.
Signs You Have a Case of Medical Malpractice
In general, medical malpractice occurs in one of two ways:
- When you consent to medical care based on inadequate information from a doctor or healthcare facility.
- When the doctor or medical provider deviates from the standard of care required by law.
Lack of Informed Consent
Medical procedures usually come with some risk. The medical provider’s job is to explain these risks and possible complications to the patient and their family. Before any treatment starts, the doctor must ensure that the patient gives informed consent, as described in Revised Code of Washington (RCW) § 7.70.050. Otherwise, you might have a malpractice case if the procedure causes harm to the patient.
Here are three signs of lack of informed consent:
- The patient did not agree to the treatment or procedure that the doctor performed.
- The patient does not fully understand the treatment’s risks and benefits because the doctor failed to explain it sufficiently.
- The patient would have chosen a different treatment or declined the procedure altogether if the doctor thoroughly explained the treatment risks.
Falling Below the Acceptable Standard of Care
RCW § 7.70.040 establishes the standard of proof required to prove a failure to provide the accepted standard of care, which the Western Journal of Emergency Medicine explains continually evolves based on changes to clinical practice guidelines and new procedures.
The insurance companies and the courts would determine whether the medical professional deviated from the standard of care in your case. A Seattle medical malpractice lawyer must establish the acceptable standard of care for your condition and prove that medical professionals failed to provide it.
An attorney can take several approaches to do so. They could show a failure to diagnose an illness, which could be a good legal strategy, especially if a correct diagnosis would have led to a better outcome.
The lawyer could also claim that the medical staff improperly treated the illness, providing incorrect prescription drugs or wrong dosages. They also can show a mistake during treatment, such as performing surgery on the wrong body part or leaving an instrument inside the body.
For a free legal consultation with a medical malpractice lawyer serving Seattle, call (800) 641-8998
Necessary Proof in a Medical Malpractice Case
Medical professionals must follow through with the proper standard of care. If they don’t provide a patient with the accepted standard of practice, and the patient suffered an injury or died, you likely have a medical malpractice case. While the doctor or nurse might not have had malicious intent to harm the patient, they could have prevented it if they had followed the acceptable standard of care.
Here are the four elements of medical negligence which you must prove to establish malpractice.
Duty of Care
Medical professionals must follow a standard of care while discharging their duties, including informing the patient of a treatment’s benefits and risks. They must also abide by the acceptable standard of practice when providing treatment to patients.
Dereliction of Duty
Whether deliberate or accidental, dereliction of duty is a failure to follow proper procedures as part of your job. In medical situations, this happens when a medical professional violates a patient’s trust or fails to deliver on what they agreed to do. An example would be delaying a surgical procedure because the surgeon or anesthesiologist was late or unprepared. Other acts of dereliction include prescribing the wrong medication, misdiagnosis, or patient neglect.
In a successful medical malpractice lawsuit, the plaintiff must show that the physician’s actions directly resulted in the patient’s injury. An example would be if a plastic surgeon added or removed an implant during surgery without a patient’s consent. The unauthorized act could leave the patient with disfigurement or physical appearance they did not want.
You must prove that you sustained actual damages such as additional medical bills, lost income from missing time at work, loss of earning capacity, and physical and emotional pain and suffering. Even if the doctor performed below the standard of care, you could not sue for malpractice if you cannot prove that you suffered any harm. A medical malpractice attorney can help you compile evidence of your damages, such as medical bills and pay stubs, and calculate the value of your pain and suffering.
If you believe you suffered harm due to medical negligence, you can work with a Seattle medical malpractice lawyer at Ben Crump Law, PLLC. Call us today for a free consultation with a team member. We can determine if you have a valid case and discuss how you could recover compensation.
Seattle Medical Malpractice Lawyer Near Me (800) 641-8998
State Laws That Impact Your Case
A medical malpractice lawyer can review your case and inform you of the impact of several Washington laws:
- Contributory negligence: RCW § 4.22.005 establishes that Washington follows the doctrine of contributory fault, meaning that if you share any of the blame for your injuries, the court will reduce any award you receive proportionately to your percentage of fault.
- Statute of limitations: Per RCW § 4.16.350, you can file a medical malpractice lawsuit up to three years after the plaintiff received the procedure or treatment, or one year after discovering the injury caused by the malpractice, whichever expires later, with an eight-year overall deadline.
- Statutory caps: There is no cap on the damages that you could receive for the injury. Therefore, if you suffered substantial injuries, a medical malpractice lawyer can fight for as much compensation as it takes to make you whole.
We Are Here to Represent You
A Seattle medical malpractice lawyer understands what victims of medical malpractice go through. Your injuries could have made it difficult to live your life as you did before seeing this health care provider. You could also deal with the burden of mounting medical bills and a feeling of hopelessness. At Ben Crump Law, PLLC, we have helped countless medical malpractice victims get the justice and compensation they deserve from negligent medical professionals. Call us today at (800) 641-8998 for a free case evaluation with a team member.