Seattle Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals strive to provide high-quality care to Seattle-area residents. Unfortunately, even the best professional can make mistakes. And if you are the patient who has suffered harm as the result of a mistake, you have the legal right to demand compensation and accountability.
Suing a health care provider is often a more complicated process than people realize. That is why it is crucial to work with an experienced Seattle medical malpractice lawyer. At the Emerald Law Group, we can represent you when dealing with a negligent physician, hospital, or other health care defendant in seeking appropriate damages for your injuries.
Washington Has Special Rules for Medical Malpractice Claims
Medical malpractice claims are subject to special rules under Washington law. The first and perhaps most critical of these rules is the statute of limitations. Basically, there is a legal deadline to sue a health care provider for alleged acts of malpractice. In Washington, this deadline is either 3 years after the alleged medical error that caused your injury or 1 year after you discovered–or should have reasonably discovered–the medical error, whichever occurs later. In medical malpractice cases involving minors (i.e., people under the age of 18), the “discovery” date is based on what the child’s parent or legal guardian learned or should have learned about the malpractice.
The discovery rule is important because in many cases, medical malpractice is not immediately obvious. For example, if a doctor makes an error during surgery, the patient may not realize that something is wrong for several weeks, months, or even years. At the same time, Washington does impose a hard deadline–called the statute of repose–that bars any medical malpractice claim brought more than 8 years after the alleged error occurred, regardless of when it was discovered.
Another special rule applicable to medical malpractice claims in Washington is the need to engage in mediation. Essentially, before you can go to trial against a healthcare provider, you must first participate in mediation and attempt to reach a negotiated settlement. The mediator is a lawyer or retired judge who has prior experience in medical malpractice cases. A mediator cannot force you to accept a settlement, however, and you are entitled to be represented by your own medical malpractice attorney throughout the process.
Contact Emerald Law Today
In a successful medical malpractice case, you can recover a wide range of financial damages against a negligent health care provider. This includes your measurable out-of-pocket losses such as medical bills incurred to correct the health care provider’s mistakes, as well as your own lost wages and future earning potential. You can also seek non-economic damages as compensation for your pain and suffering. Unlike many states, Washington does not cap these types of damages in medical malpractice cases.
So if you have reason to believe that a health care provider made a critical error that caused you further injury, you should not delay in seeking competent legal advice from a Seattle medical malpractice attorney. Contact the Emerald Law Group today to schedule an initial consultation.