Medical Malpractice Attorney in Seattle
Medical Malpractice & Negligence
When we go to the hospital or our doctor's office for an ailment, we expect to receive a proper diagnosis and a plan for treatment - as we should. We trust our doctors and nurses to be focused and professional in providing healthcare to us and our families. However, there are some times when doctors make mistakes during diagnosis, treatment, or surgery. In some cases, these errors are so serious that patients suffer harm and require additional medical treatment.
Being misdiagnosed or improperly treated can have long-lasting, negative consequences for a patient and take a severe emotional and financial toll. Some medical mistakes may even result in death. If you or a loved one has been the victim of medical negligence, the dedicated Seattle medical malpractice attorneys at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. can help you better understand your legal rights and options. Call our offices at (888) 228-3860 for a free consultation.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs whenever a medical professional (physician, nurse, phlebotomist, etc.) or medical institution (hospital, clinic, urgent care, etc.) acts improperly, or fails to act properly, resulting in harm to a patient. Law requires that all medical professionals provide a certain "standard of care" to the patients they treat. This means that they must deliver a quality of care that is equal to the generally accepted quality that other medical professionals would provide in similar circumstances. When medical professionals fail to provide this "standard of care," they are guilty of medical malpractice and can be held accountable for the harm they cause a patient.
If you are the victim of a mistake made by a doctor or other healthcare professional, you may be able to pursue compensation for your losses by filing a claim. However, since plaintiffs in personal injury cases have the burden of proof, you must be able to show that the medical professional made a mistake and that you suffered harm as a direct consequence of that mistake.
Types of Medical Malpractice
There are a vast number of situations that can lead to a medical malpractice claim. Here are some of the most common cases:
- Failure to Diagnose - The patient may have a viable medical malpractice claim if a doctor failed to diagnose his or her condition, misdiagnosed the condition, or diagnosed it too late. Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose may prevent patients from getting the treatment and care they need in a timely manner, therefore causing further harm.
- Failure to Monitor - Medicine has evolved to include the use of technology in providing healthcare. Doctors and nurses are trusted to review, understand, and communicate the information obtained about a patient through imaging, heart monitoring, and other technologies.
- Improper Treatment - If a doctor fails to treat the patient in a manner in which another competent doctor would, the patient could have a claim. The patient may also sue for medical malpractice if the doctor diagnoses the condition properly and selects the proper course of treatment, but executes it improperly.
- Failure to Warn - Doctors have a duty and an obligation to warn patients about the known risks of a procedure or treatment. This is called the duty of informed consent.
How to Prove Medical Malpractice in Washington
Most patients will not be able to determine if a mistake was made without a medical negligence attorney reviewing their records. Healthcare providers chart data in specific ways which can be difficult to decipher.
- In order to prove that medical negligence or malpractice occurred, a plaintiff must first show that a doctor–patient relationship existed. This means that you retained the doctor and the doctor agreed to directly treat you.
- The plaintiff must then prove that the doctor or medical professional was negligent. For example, a patient cannot sue because he is unhappy with the results; the patient must be able to show that the doctor's actions or lack of actions caused him harm.
- The plaintiff must then prove that the injury led to specific damages. The patient cannot sue if no harm was suffered, even if the doctor committed an error or was negligent. The patient must show that the medical error caused him some physical, financial, or psychological harm.
Frequently Asked Questions
A: If you or a family member has suffered injury from a healthcare provider, the best thing to do is to consult with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. At Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., we offer a free consultation with no obligation.
Not every poor medical result is caused by malpractice. A healthcare provider is only negligent when he or she failed to perform within a reasonable standard of care for that area of practice and level of expertise. Our legal team can help you determine if malpractice has occurred.
A: Any medical professional can be held liable for injuries caused by his/her negligence. Examples of healthcare professionals who can be held accountable in medical malpractice lawsuits include:
- Urgent care facilities
- Nursing homes
- EMTs or paramedics
- Naturopathic physicians
A: If you have been seriously injured through medical malpractice, you may be able to recover compensation for economic losses, such as medical expenses and lost wages, and for non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.
A: As reported in a recent medical journal, medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the country, surpassed only by heart disease and cancer. According to the Diederich Healthcare 2015 Medical Malpractice Payout Analysis, $3,891,743,050 was paid out in medical malpractice claims in 2014 alone. Sadly, 30% of that amount was for medical malpractice injuries that resulted in death.
Claims for medical malpractice were paid out in 2014 for the following types of medical errors:
- Diagnosis – 33%
- Surgery – 24%
- Treatment – 19%
- Obstetrics – 11%
- Medication – 5%
- Monitoring – 3%
- Other – 5%
A: Serious injuries and death result much too frequently from preventable medical errors. Of the medical errors for which compensation was paid out in 2014, the following outcomes were reported:
- 30% resulted in death;
- 18% caused significant permanent injury;
- 17% caused major permanent injury;
- 13% resulted in quadriplegia, brain damage, or lifelong care;
- 9% caused minor permanent injury; and
- 8% caused major temporary injury.
Q: What will it cost me to hire your firm to represent me in a Washington medical malpractice claim?
A: At Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., our legal work is provided on a contingency fee basis. This means you pay us no fees until we recover compensation for you. We offer an initial case consultation free of charge. Contact us to find out what damages could be pursued in your case. We can be reached at (888) 228-3860.
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