Seattle Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Get Legal Help from Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorneys in Seattle
Navigating a medical malpractice case requires a deep understanding of both medicine and law. At Lehmbecker Law Firm, our Seattle-based attorneys join these two essential components to provide unparalleled service to victims of medical malpractice.
Our team is dedicated to holding healthcare and medical professionals accountable for their actions. We guide you through every step of the legal process, investigating your case meticulously, advocating on your behalf, and striving for the maximum compensation that you deserve. At Lehmbecker Law, we don't just represent clients - we stand with them in their fight for justice.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is a serious problem and it refers to the negligence or misconduct by medical providers or healthcare professionals that lead to harm or injury to a patient. Over 100,000 people are injured unnecessarily in hospitals every year. Common errors that cause serious, unintended injuries include improper medications, failure to diagnose a serious condition, delay of treatment, unnecessary procedures, and failing to follow standard medical procedures.
The gravity of the stakes involved makes medical malpractice so serious. The consequences of a human error for you or someone you care about can be catastrophic physically, emotionally, and financially. If you or a family member has suffered a permanent or life-threatening injury, you should seek help immediately. Your attorney will help you determine what went wrong, and whether you're entitled to compensation.
Common Types of Medical Malpractice Cases
The act of medical malpractice itself can take several forms. Most medical malpractice cases fall into one of the below categories:
- Anesthesiology mistakes (too much can kill, too little can have you waking up in the middle of the surgery);
- Wrong-site surgery;
- Operating on the wrong patient (yes, it happens);
- Leaving items in the patient, like surgical sponges or even clamps;
- Failure to monitor the patient after surgery.
- Misdiagnosing the injury or illness;
- Failure to diagnose the problem, or delays in diagnosis;
- Failure to perform proper diagnostic tests.
- Prescribing the wrong medication (for example, two confusingly similar drug names plus sloppy handwriting can equal being given that doesn't treat what's wrong, or has negative effects, or both);
- Prescribing the wrong dosage.
Treatment and Follow-Up Errors
- Failure to communicate with other treatment specialists;
- Failure to communicate with the patient and family members;
- Patient neglect;
- Improper treatment regimens.
The Standard of Care Explained
The standard of care plays a crucial role in medical malpractice lawsuits. According to Washington statutes, it refers to the level of care, skill, and learning that a reasonably prudent healthcare provider in the same profession and under the same or similar circumstances would provide. When filing a medical malpractice claim, the injured patient must present evidence demonstrating the following:
- Standard of care: The patient must establish what the expected standard of care was in their specific case, considering the prevailing practices and protocols at the time;
- Provider's failure: They must show how the healthcare provider deviated from the standard of care, whether through acts or omissions, indicating a breach of their duty;
- Causation: The patient must demonstrate that the provider's failure to meet the standard of care directly resulted in their injury or harm.
This evidence helps the patient strengthen their case and establishes the basis for holding the healthcare provider accountable for their actions.
Pursuing a Medical Malpractice Claim in Washington
Pursuing a medical malpractice claim in Washington involves specific requirements and procedures. There are three important aspects to consider:
Certificate of Merit Required in Standard of Care Action
In Washington, before filing a medical malpractice lawsuit for medical negligence claims based on the standard of care, the plaintiff must obtain a Certificate of Merit. This certificate is a sworn statement from a qualified medical expert, attesting that there are reasonable grounds to believe the defendant's healthcare provider deviated from the standard of care, resulting in the plaintiff's injury. This serves as an initial validation of the claim's legitimacy.
Before most medical malpractice claims can go to trial, Washington law requires mandatory mediation. Mediation is a process in which a neutral third-party mediator facilitates negotiations between the parties involved. The goal is to reach a mutually agreeable settlement, potentially avoiding the need for a costly and time-consuming trial. Mediation allows the parties to discuss their concerns, explore potential resolutions, and work towards a fair and satisfactory outcome.
Attorney Certification of Reasonable Inquiry
In medical malpractice lawsuits in Washington, the plaintiff's attorney must provide an Attorney Certification of Reasonable Inquiry. This certification affirms that the attorney conducted a reasonable investigation into the claim's merits, including obtaining a written opinion from a qualified healthcare expert. The certification demonstrates that the attorney has done their due diligence in assessing the viability of the case and ensures that frivolous lawsuits are avoided.
Compensation Available for Medical Malpractice Claims
How much your claim is worth depends on your specific circumstances. Successful medical malpractice settlements and damages awards often amount to hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars for injured patients, but there are no promises on what you might recover without carefully assessing your case first.
Damages in personal injury actions, including medical malpractice claims, are broken down into two types:
- Direct damages can be proven and calculated, like additional medical costs incurred as a result of the act of malpractice, lost wages, and the economic effects of permanent or temporary physical disabilities;
- Indirect damages are less tangible but still real: pain and suffering, loss of consortium or companionship, loss of parental guidance, or exemplary or “punitive” damages. These are more subjective to evaluate, and many states place dollar limits on how much you can receive for them. However, they can still amount to substantial sums, and shouldn't be overlooked.
The Washington State Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases in Washington state is generally three years from the date the injury occurred or the date the patient discovered or reasonably should have discovered the injury. However, there are certain exceptions and variations depending on the case.
For instance, if the malpractice involved a foreign object left inside the patient's body, the statute of limitations is extended to one year from the date the object was discovered or reasonably should have been discovered. Consult with a qualified attorney to understand the current and accurate statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases in Washington.
Who May Be Responsible for Medical Malpractice Injuries in Seattle, WA?
In Washington State, three primary parties may be held responsible for medical malpractice injuries:
- Healthcare practitioners: Include doctors, surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists, and other medical professionals, can be held accountable for medical malpractice if they deviate from the accepted standard of care that results in patient harm. This includes misdiagnosis, surgical errors, medication mistakes, failure to provide appropriate treatment, or lack of informed consent;
- Healthcare facilities: Hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and medical centers, can also be held liable for medical malpractice. If the negligence or misconduct of the facility's employees, including doctors, nurses, and support staff, leads to patient harm, the facility may be considered responsible. This may include issues such as inadequate staffing, improper training, or failure to maintain a safe environment;
- In some cases, the manufacturer of a medical product or device may be held responsible. If a defective product, such as a pharmaceutical drug, medical implant, or medical equipment, causes harm, the manufacturer may be held liable. This can include issues such as design defects, manufacturing defects, or failure to provide adequate warnings or instructions for the product's use.
Determining liability in medical malpractice cases can be complex, and multiple parties may share responsibility depending on the circumstances. Consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney who can investigate the case, gather evidence, and determine the appropriate parties to hold accountable for the serious injuries you sustained.
Why Choose Our Seattle Medical Malpractice Lawyers?
When choosing our Seattle medical malpractice lawyers at Lembecker Law, you can expect exceptional legal representation and numerous benefits. Here are three key advantages of working with our team:
Contact Our Medical Malpractice Experts for Your Case
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Schedule a Consultation with a Seattle Medical Malpractice Attorney in WA
At Lehmbecker Law, we offer free initial consultations. Please fill out our contact form online or call our law office directly.
Experience: Our medical malpractice attorneys understand medical malpractice cases, bringing years of experience and in-depth knowledge of this complex area of law. We understand the intricacies involved in proving negligence and securing fair compensation for our clients.
Comprehensive approach: Our comprehensive approach includes conducting thorough investigations, gathering evidence, consulting medical experts, and building a strong legal strategy tailored to you. Our attention to detail and dedication to your medical malpractice case ensures that no stone is left unturned in seeking justice.
Personalized attention: At Lembecker Law, we prioritize personalized attention and open client communication. We understand the emotional and physical toll of medical malpractice, and we're committed to supporting you throughout the legal process. Trust that we will listen to your concerns, answer your questions, and provide compassionate guidance every step of the way.
Contact an Experienced Seattle Medical Negligence Attorney
Contact our medical malpractice lawyer in Seattle today to discuss your medical malpractice case and seek the justice and compensation you deserve.