We hear horror stories about medical malpractice and how surgeries and operations can go wrong. Still, it’s easy to think that it could never happen to you, until it does. Doctors make an oath at the beginning of their tenure to ‘first, do no harm’. But what if they do?
If you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice in Washington state it can be confusing, devastating, and leaving you reeling. Here are some steps to navigating medical malpractice cases to help you understand the process.
Medical malpractice, like other liability cases, necessitate that you are able to prove fault or negligence. Depending on the type of medical procedure being performed, medicine comes with at least some level of inherent risk. To prove medical malpractice in Washington state you’ll need to prove that your health care provided ‘failed to exercise the “degree of care, skin, and learning expected of a reasonably prudent health care provider’ (per the Revised Code of Washington section 7.70.040). You’ll also need to prove that your provider’s failure was the directly legal cause of the injuries sustained.
For example, if your health care provider was noticeably tired, with bloodshot eyes and alcohol on their breath, you would definitely at least have your foot in the door to proving negligence. Failure to properly operate equipment, such as in this case, is also grounds for proving malpractice.
Often times, ‘expert witnesses’ will be called upon in these sorts of cases to offer opinion and commentary on issues of damage and liability. In many cases, an expert witness’ perspective is required in order to come come to a verdict. These are usually doctors or knowledgable people who will be able to prove that the injuries sustained and errors that took place were a result of negligence and not just routine risk.
If you or a loved one suffers from medical malpractice it’s important to understand the statute of limitations for filing for damages. The Revised Code of Washington states that a person has:
three years after the underlying medical error, or
one year after the injured patient discovers the error, if that happens after the three-year period
That means that you have three years after the date that your provider’s negligent action or inaction occurred to file a claim. However, if you discovered after that three-year period that you or a loved one has been negatively affected by said action or inaction, you have one year to file from that date.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice in Washington State, our team at EPIC Law is here to fight on your behalf. For personal injury representation you can trust, contact us today.