Medical malpractice can ruin the lives of those who are victims of a medical practitioner’s negligence. Medical malpractice is defined as a medical professional—such as a doctor or nurse—engaging in practices that cause harm to patients, either willfully and directly or through ignorance and negligence. People entrust their very lives to medical professionals, and when those who are responsible for helping us stay healthy to do the exact opposite, they can be held liable for the damage they caused in civil court.

The role of negligence in medical malpractice suits

Negligence plays a key role in medical malpractice lawsuits. When doctors or nurses do not adhere to the standards of care they are sworn to uphold and that negligence results in patients being injured or killed, they can be held legally responsible for their negligent actions. Negligence is defined as any action (or lack of taking action) that results in damage that could have been reasonably prevented. In short, if a reasonable professional would have acted differently, then the negligent professional can be held liable for the damages incurred through their negligence.

Medical malpractice can be fatal

Some injuries caused by medical malpractice can result in death. For example, if a patient contracts a septic infection because of a surgery in which non-sterile implements were used and is not able to recover from the infection, the surgeon can be sued for medical malpractice and a wrongful death suit may be filed by the grieving family members. In another example, if a scalpel nicks an organ during the process of surgery and the bleeding is not noticed and addressed and the patient suffers serious consequences, the doctor who performed the surgery can be sued for malpractice because of the result of their negligent error.

Common medical malpractice injuries

Medical malpractice often results in serious injuries. Some common causes include:

  • Birth injury to mother or child
  • Non-sterile surgical implements resulting in infection and injury
  • Improper removal of sutures resulting in injury
  • Contraindicated medications being prescribed causing injury
  • Incorrect dosage of prescription leading to injury or death
  • Improper surgical technique resulting in injury
  • Permanent disfigurement after malpractice injury

If you or someone you care about experienced one of these or any other form of medical malpractice and want to explore your legal options, contact medical malpractice attorney at Russell & Hill, PLLC for a case evaluation.

We can help if you were a victim of malpractice

If you or a family member were injured by a negligent medical professional and you need a medical malpractice attorney in Seattle, contact Russell & Hill, PLLC today for a free consultation. We believe that medical professionals need to be held accountable for their actions, and when their negligence leads to a patient becoming injured, they need to be brought to justice in the civil courtroom. We offer our legal services on a fee-contingency basis, which means that you pay nothing in attorney fees until your case has been settled or won. Call us today for a cost-free case assessment.

How common are medical mistakes in the United States?

Medical mistakes are all too common in this country. Researchers at Johns Hopkins have said that as many as 250,000 people or more lose their lives each year due to medical errors. This makes medical mistakes the third leading cause of death in the US.

Millions more are injured due to medical malpractice each year and are left suffering from the consequences, including medical bills, lost wages, psychological, and emotional damages.

What are some common medical mistakes that occur?

The most common medical mistakes that occur in the US include:

  • Surgical mistakes
  • Missed diagnosis
  • Failure to treat
  • Medication errors
  • Birth injuries
  • Early discharge from the hospital
  • Healthcare-acquired infections

Think about how many medical professionals you see each year:

  • Doctors
  • Surgeons
  • Nurses
  • Physician’s assistants
  • Pharmacists
  • EMTs and paramedics
  • Optometrists
  • Dentists
  • And more

All of these professionals must treat you with an acceptable standard of care, and they could be held liable for medical malpractice if they fail to do so. Healthcare agencies and providers can also be held accountable if their actions contribute to the medical mistake that was made.

What is the statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases in Washington?

In most cases, there is a three-year statute of limitations in place for medical malpractice cases. All claims of injuries and damages must be filed within three years from the date of the injury.

It is important that you must act quickly if you are injured due to a medical mistake. Your attorney will want to have you and your medical records examined by an expert medical witness.

What is the “discovery rule” in medical malpractice cases?

The exception to the statute of limitations is if the injury was discovered outside of the three-year period. In these cases, the claimant has one year from the date of discovery to bring a lawsuit.

What if the injured person was a minor when the mistake occurred?

If a minor is injured due to medical malpractice, there are two options. Parents and guardians can bring a medical malpractice lawsuit on behalf of their child, or a child can file a lawsuit within one year after their 18th birthday.

What kind of compensation can I expect in my case?

The amount of compensation you receive for a medical malpractice case will vary depending on what economic and non-economic damages you have suffered. A qualified Seattle medical malpractice attorney will be able to guide you with these calculations. Compensation can include:

  • Compensation for all medical expenses related to the mistake
  • Coverage of lost wages if you cannot work
  • Loss of enjoyment of life damages
  • Pain and suffering damages
  • Punitive damages against the people responsible

In Washington, there are no caps to how much can be awarded in damages for a medical malpractice case. At Russell & Hill, PLLC, we are ready to get to work on your behalf. You can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or calling 800-529-0842.

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