When Medical Care Becomes Injury By Malpractice
Medical malpractice causes more than 250,000 deaths each year in the United States, yet fewer than 10% of medical errors are reported.
While some healthcare providers claim that “accidents happen” or that medicine is “an art not a science,” their victims in malpractice cases are often left with very real injuries and painful suffering. When medical errors cause serious injury or wrongful death, the victims are entitled to answers and to accountability from those responsible.
Medical claims require experienced legal counsel with access to medical experts to understand the complex nature of medical malpractice cases. PCVA attorneys collaborate with a national team of medical experts, allowing us to quickly evaluate your case to determine whether you should take legal action—and against whom. We have successfully obtained verdicts against healthcare providers and other medical professionals who have caused clients pain and suffering from:
- Birth injuries, including cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy and other maladies caused by medical mistakes during prenatal care, labor, delivery and postnatal care
- Infections acquired during hospitalizations
- Diagnostic malpractice, including missed diagnoses and the repercussions of living with undiagnosed conditions that doctors could have identified but did not do so in time to make a difference
- Surgical errors, including wrong-side surgeries, foreign objects left in the body, injuries to internal organs and other bad outcomes of surgery that should have been prevented
- Emergency room errors, including medication errors and failure to diagnose dangerous conditions in a timely manner
Below, we have provided answers to frequently asked questions about medical malpractice and the law.
What is medical malpractice?
In Washington State, medical malpractice is legally defined as, “an actual or alleged negligent act, error, or omission in providing or failing to provide health care services.”
How do I know if a doctor is guilty of malpractice?
It’s up to the legal justice system to determine a medical provider’s guilt or innocence. However, if you believe that you are a victim of medical malpractice, contact PCVA’s medical malpractice lawyers.
What should I do if I believe I am a victim of medical malpractice?
The clock is ticking on your chance to file a medical malpractice claim. Here are the steps you need to take if you believe you are a victim of medical malpractice:
- Get a second opinion on your condition
- Ask for additional information to fully document your case, including your full medical records related to the medical procedure(s), physical therapy, medications and other treatments
- Document your condition via photos and video
- Keep all documents sent to/from the healthcare provider(s), your insurance company and others involved in the case
- Talk with an experienced medical malpractice attorney to discuss the details of your case and possible recoverable damages
Is it ever too late to sue for medical malpractice? What is the statute of limitations on medical malpractice?
In Washington State, you must file medical malpractice claims within three years after the malpractice was committed or within one year after you discovered you were injured as a result of medical malpractice.
If you do not know you were injured because of medical malpractice, Washington gives you a total of eight years to file a malpractice suit. After that, you lose the right to file.
These strict deadlines emphasize the importance of reaching out to an experienced Washington State medical malpractice attorney as soon as you suspect medical malpractice has occurred.
What must be shown to prevail in a medical malpractice case?
In a medical malpractice case in Washington State, the burden is on you (the plaintiff) to prove one or more of the following:
- That injury resulted from the failure of a healthcare provider to follow the accepted standard of care
- That a healthcare provider promised the patient or his or her representative that the injury suffered would not occur
- That injury resulted from healthcare to which the patient or his or her representative did not consent
The definition of “healthcare provider” is broad, and medical malpractice laws are complex. PCVA’s medical malpractice attorneys have the background, understanding and resources to tackle challenging cases like yours.
What is involved in a medical malpractice lawsuit?
Washington State law requires you and the healthcare provider(s) involved to participate in mandatory mediation before a lawsuit can be filed. This means a qualified independent third-party mediator will try to get everyone to agree on a settlement before the case goes to trial. If mediation is unsuccessful, the case can proceed to trial.
How PCVA can help
PCVA’s experienced attorneys can help you understand your options for pursuing compensation and damages from those found medically negligent. If you would like to speak with a PCVA lawyer, complete our online form or call us at (253) 948-3199 or (206) 536-2850.
How much does PCVA charge?
Our work is done on a contingency basis. This means that you do not pay us on an hourly basis, and we advance the costs of litigation. If we help you resolve your case, we receive a percentage of the amount you receive, and you reimburse us for the costs we advanced on your behalf.