A doctor has a “duty of care” to provide for the well-being and health of their patients. When the physician fails to honor this duty of care, it can be considered professional negligence. In order to prove medical malpractice in a court of law, four elements must be present:
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 considerable damages, which could be 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, or other reasonable risks that are associated with a procedure or course of treatment. This medical standard of care is sometimes referred to as the “first element” of a medical malpractice lawsuit. It must be present for a legal action to proceed.
A recent study by Johns Hopkins University stated that there are more than 250,000 deaths in the United States due to medical errors each year—making it the third leading cause of death. The study notes that the primary cause of medical malpractice isn’t from inherently bad doctors, but rather systemic problems, such as poorly coordinated care, fragmented insurance networks, the absence or underuse of safety nets and other protocols.
Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
If you or a loved one was injured or became ill due to the negligence of a doctor, you might be able to file a medical malpractice suit. We highly recommend obtaining a paperwork trail, along with any other evidence you might have to prove your case. Second opinions from other qualified doctors, hospital and insurance records can all be helpful.
There are many reasons a medical malpractice suit can be filed, including:
Emergency room errors
There are two types of damages that could be awarded to to you if the lawsuit is successful, compensatory and punitive.
Compensatory damages can include medical expenses, lost income and economic damages. Past and future losses can be considered in determining the amount of damages.
Punitive damages can also be awarded, but only if the doctor is found guilty of willful or malicious medical misconduct. Punitive damages are intended by the law to be a form of punishment and can be awarded in conjunction with compensatory damages.
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.