Washington Medical Malpractice Lawyer

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Washington State provides victims of medical negligence with a way to seek compensation for their injuries through a medical malpractice claim. If you have been injured due to medical errors that were committed by a doctor, nurse, dentist, pharmacist, hospital or other medical provider, you may have a medical malpractice case. Discussions with an experienced medical malpractice attorney will help you to determine if your case should be pursued through the courts.

Medical malpractice is defined as an act or an omission by a health care provider who is professionally negligent. A medical malpractice case must prove that the care that was provided did not conform to accepted standards in the medical community, and that it caused death or injury to a patient. Medical malpractice, which falls under tort law, gives remedy to a patient who has suffered from medical malpractice.

At your first inclination of a problem with your medical care, you should contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney. You can contact the Washington Bar Association for a listing of attorneys in your area. Because there is a time limit in which you can file a claim, it is important to talk to an attorney right away. Washington State has a statute of limitations that ranges from one to eight years after the injury. Your attorney can help to determine the appropriate statute of limitations in your case.

Many malpractice attorneys will offer a free initial consultation, during which they will try to determine if you have a case to pursue. It is best to bring your medical records to this appointment. Because Washington State has not set limits on attorney's fees, you will also want to discuss the fee structure with your attorney. Medical malpractice attorneys establish contingency fees, that are paid out at the resolution of your case.

Almost three-quarters of settled medical malpractice cases involved a medical error, and a recent study showed that an average of 195,000 deaths in a hospital from 2000 to 2002 in the U.S. were because of potentially preventable medical errors. Medical errors harm about 1.5 million people every year. Specifically, 400,000 preventable drug-related injuries occur in hospitals every year, 800,000 in long-term care settings, and 530,000 in outpatient clinics.

In most cases, you will need the services of an expert witness. An expert witness may be a doctor or other medical professional who will testify on the appropriate standard of care for your situation. Costs for expert witnesses are generally paid out of the settlement for your case, but you should discuss this with your attorney. Only in rare cases are experts not necessary, such as a case where a foreign object is left in the patient after a surgery, where any reasonable person can recognize the error.

In Washington, you may seek compensation for both economic and non-economic damages in a malpractice case. Economic damages are for lost wages or earning capacity, as well as your medical costs. Non-economic damages are for pain and suffering due to your injuries. Washington does not limit the amount of damages you may seek.

Medical malpractice cases are time-consuming and complicated. It may take years for a case to come to a conclusion. When choosing an attorney to represent you, keep in mind that this relationship will last for quite a while. You will also have contact with other staff at your attorney's office, such as paralegals and possibly a nurse legal consultant. Staff members will help to prepare your case and keep you informed throughout the process.

Washington requires that health care claims pursue mediation before a jury trial. Your attorney will help you through that process as well, and it is possible that your case may be satisfactorily settled by this means. Mediation does not preclude you from pursuing a trial by jury as allowed under state law.


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