Doctors have a “duty of care” to their patients. When a doctor fails to live up to this duty, it is called negligence or “medical malpractice.” In order to establish medical malpractice, we have to prove four things:
The doctor owed a legal duty of care to the patient
There was a breach of this legal duty of care
An injury was sustained by the patient due to the breach
The patient suffered damages, anything from suffering and constant pain to a disability and loss of present or future income.
What is Medical Malpractice
Doctors, physicians and medical professionals have a duty to communicate information to their patients in a timely manner. They must advise their patients on dangers of drugs and other risks that are associated with a procedure or course of treatment. This is usually called “informed consent.”
Doctors also have a duty to act like a reasonably careful doctor would under the same or similar circumstances. Some common examples of these kinds of mistakes are:
Leaving medical equipment inside someone during a surgery
Failing to run tests they should have run
Operating on the wrong body part
Failing to diagnose clear problems
Prescribing the wrong medicines or too much medicine
A recent study by Johns Hopkins University determined there are more than 250,000 deaths in the United States due to medical errors each year. This makes medical malpractice the third leading cause of death in the U.S.
Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
If you or a loved one was injured or became ill due to the negligence of a doctor or the hospital, you might be able to file a medical malpractice suit. You should seek legal representation as soon as possible. Most cases have to be filed within 3 years of the negligent action. The exception is only when you the negligent action was hidden. The sooner your attorneys investigate your case the better.
You should obtain all of your medical records and bills. Request everything. Many times hospitals may only give you “discharge summaries.” You need all of the records and bills. Also, ask other doctors and nurses for their opinion on the suspected negligence.
When you file a medical malpractice lawsuit, certain damages can be claimed. These can include medical expenses, costs of in-home care, pain and suffering, loss of ability to continue past activities, and loss of income and economic damages. Past and future losses can be considered in determining the amount of damages.
More people than just the doctor may be responsible for your damages. Joint and several liability rules apply in Washington state. In other words, anyone who is at fault may be held responsible for the entire amount of the verdict.
Other doctors who contributed to the malpractice can be sued, including surgeons, radiologists, and anesthesiologists. Any hospital employee who contributed to the malpractice can also be sued. Further, the hospital can be held responsible for the acts of employees.
Additionally, if medical equipment is part of the problem, the manufacturer could also be sued. If a patient’s injury was caused by a problem with medication, the pharmacist or pharmaceutical corporation might also be sued.
Experienced attorneys need to review the facts of each case.
Washington State Medical Malpractice Attorneys
Medical malpractice lawsuits are challenging and you need experienced attorneys who understand the law and are on your side.
At Herrmann Law Group, our attorneys are on your side, we care about you. We will fight for you. If you or a loved one has been harmed by a possible medical error , contact the Herrmann Law Group as soon as possible for a free legal consultation.
Call (206) 625-9104 to speak to an attorney or complete this form and we will contact you within 24 hours.