Seeking treatment from a doctor, dentist, nurse, or hospital should place peoples’ minds at ease. The sophisticated training and advanced equipment that these professionals possess should limit the chances of mistakes or errors. Even so, due to fatigue, distraction, or simple loss of skill, medical malpractice remains a common source of personal injuries.
A Federal Way medical malpractice lawyer may be able to help people who have suffered at the hands of negligent medical professionals. A seasoned personal injury attorney can help with situations involving misdiagnosis, the worsening of a present condition, or an inability to properly interpret test results.
All medical professionals carry a duty under the law. This duty requires them to treat patients with an appropriate level of skill and care. However, this does not automatically mean that a poor outcome is malpractice. Typical outcomes such as a misdiagnosis, a botched surgery, or an improper prescription may appear to be malpractice. Even so, it falls to an injured patient to demonstrate the legal definition of malpractice.
The Revised Code of Washington § 7.70.040 states that medical malpractice occurs when a health care provider fails to provide treatment with a degree of skill, learning, and care of a reasonably prudent provider acting in the same or similar situation. For example, an emergency room doctor setting a broken arm is acting in a stable environment with ample support. There is no excuse here for an error. By contrast, the same doctor attempting to set a similar fracture on the side of a mountain carries far more lenient expectations. A medical malpractice attorney in Federal Way could help to determine if a poor medical outcome rises to the level of an actionable medical error.
In some ways, medical malpractice cases are similar to other personal injury claims. A person suffers an injury because of an avoidable mistake, and the doctor, nurse, or dentist is liable to provide compensation. However, key differences make these cases more complex.
RCW § 7.70.100 says that before a medical malpractice case can make it to trial, the parties must participate in a mandatory mediation session. The legislature demands this process as a potential way to bring a case to a settlement without burdening the judicial system. While participation in this process is a requirement, a failure to reach a settlement still allows an injured person to demand a trial by jury.
Another way in which medical malpractice claims differ from typical personal injury cases is the statute of limitations. While most injured people have no more than three years from the date of injury to bring a case to court, the law recognizes that medical malpractice cases are more complex since it could be months or years until a person recognizes that a mistake has occurred. As a result, people can bring a lawsuit to court within eight years of the treatment in question.
Suffering an injury because of the mistake of a medical professional can place people in a difficult position. There is no doubt that a botched procedure or failure to make an accurate diagnosis can have a devastating impact on one’s health. It can also affect a person’s emotional wellbeing and ability to earn a living. Still, a poor outcome after visiting a doctor, dentist, or hospital is not proof that malpractice has occurred.
A Federal Way medical malpractice lawyer could help people to pursue their cases for full compensation. This includes explaining the concept of medical malpractice, working with qualified experts, and measuring the impact of the incident on an individual’s life. Reach out to a professional attorney today to discuss your case.