Aggressive Bellingham Medical Malpractice Attorneys Ready To Fight For You
Bellingham and Whatcom County are home to some of the region’s finest medical institutions, such as Peacehealth, St. Joseph’s Medical Center, and Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, among others. No place is immune to the dangers of medical malpractice, however. In fact, the American Medical Association itself lists medical malpractice as the nation’s third leading cause of death.
A medical malpractice claim arises when you are injured because your doctor or other health care provider harmed you in some way by failing to meet the professional standard of care in your diagnosis and treatment. Typically, to qualify as a medical malpractice claim under the law, the claim must meet each of the following characteristics:
- Violation of the standard of care: There are certain medical standards that are universally recognized by the medical profession as constituting “acceptable” medical treatment. The law acknowledges these standards. And under the law, these acceptable methods of treatment are generally called the “standard of care.” As a patient, you have the right to expect that the health care professionals who are treating you will provide care that is consistent with those acceptable medical standards. While not all accidents are the result of a violation of the standard of care, many are. Proving that the standard of care has not been met and that the medical professional providing treatment was negligent, is a key element of a medical malpractice claim.
- The negligence caused an injury: In order to legally make an argument that medical malpractice occurred, in addition to establishing negligence and a violation of the standard of care, the patient must also be able to prove that he or she sustained an injury that would not have occurred but for the negligence. The patient must, in essence, prove that that negligence caused the injury at issue.
- Significant damages resulted from the injury: In order for the expense and time invested in a case to be worth it, the patient must ultimately be able to show that significant damages were incurred as a result of the injury. These damages can include extensive medical bills, pain and suffering, loss of wages, loss of future earning capacity, and more. But in order to justify the cost and expense of a suit, damages must be connected to and caused by the injury itself.
Medical malpractice claims can take many forms, and there are many ways in which the standard of care can be violated by medical providers. Some of the more common examples of medical negligence that might lead to a medical malpractice lawsuit include, but are certainly not limited to:
- Failure to diagnose or making a misdiagnosis;
- Failing to order proper and necessary tests;
- Performing a surgery that is ultimately unnecessary;
- Surgical errors or surgery performed on the wrong site;
- Discharging a patient from the hospital too early, leading to further health complications;
- Prescribing improper medication or prescribing an incorrect dosage;
- Negligence in medical follow-up or aftercare;
- Disregarding or not taking an appropriate patient history;
- Either misreading, failing to notice, or ignoring important lab results;
- Failure to recognize key symptoms;
- And more.
If you have had one of these experiences, or another medical experience that you believe may constitute medical malpractice, you should consult a skilled lawyer immediately. Certainly, not every negative medical outcome constitutes malpractice, and not every medical mistake amounts to malpractice. On the other hand, many experiences do. An attorney who understands the law will be able to listen to your circumstances and help you understand what compensation you may potentially be entitled to. The standard of care is determined by medical experts who may testify on your behalf if your case goes to trial. A Bellingham medical malpractice lawyer from Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner will fight for you, and will passionately pursue your right to compensation if you have suffered an injury at the hands of a medical provider you trusted. Pursuing justice on your behalf is not only our profession – it’s our passion.
You Don’t Need Any Money to Retain Us
At Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner, we win 97 percent of our clients’ accident and injury cases. As such, we’re sure you’ll understand why we maintain a “no win, no pay” policy – we either win your case or you pay us nothing. Your bill will not come due until your compensation actually arrives. Even then, it will be calculated as a percentage of whatever amount you recover. We’re interested in the quality of your claim, not the contents of your wallet.
We Will Take Care of Everything So You Can Concentrate on Recovery
We know you are suffering, and this has got to be one of the worst times in your life for you to have to rise up and fight for your rights. That’s OK, because we will take care of everything for you with the exception of major decisions in your case, such as whether to accept a settlement offer, which are yours alone to make. Among other services, we will:
- Make sure you get the best medical care
- Help you get your medical bills paid
- Negotiate on your behalf with insurance companies or other defendants
- Make sure you are compensated for all of your loses, both tangible and intangible
Our Practice Areas
Our legal team are experienced in handling a wide variety of personal injury cases, including but not limited to:
- Wrongful Death
- Car Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- DUI Accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Bicycle Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Sexual Abuse
- Products Liability
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How will a court calculate “pain and suffering” damages?
Pain and suffering damages are awarded to compensate you for your physical pain and suffering (other types of damages may be available if you suffered emotional trauma as well). Pain and suffering damages often far exceed the amount awarded for medical expenses. When determining the amount, a court will consider:
- Your own testimony
- The testimony of expert witnesses (your doctor, for example)
- Any tangible physical evidence (X-rays, for example)
Is a nursing home abuse claim considered a medical malpractice claim?
Not in most cases. In most cases, the perpetrator of nursing home abuse is an employee of the nursing home and not a doctor or other licensed medical professional. If your injury or illness was caused by nursing home abuse, however, you can still pursue an ordinary personal injury claim.
Is my case likely to be resolved in court?
According to U.S. Bureau of Justice statistics, fewer than one in ten medical malpractice claims are resolved through trial. Instead, your claim will likely be resolved through private settlement. The best way to avoid a trial, however, is to prepare well for one – since a defendant is more likely to offer a fair settlement if he fears losing at trial.
How are lost earnings determined?
One of the most common ways is by submitting to a Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE). An FCE measures the extent of any occupational disability that may have resulted from your condition. This can be important evidence if you are claiming lost future earnings.
Louise undergoes surgery to repair a damaged colon – part of her colon is removed and the remainder is stitched back together. Late that night, she experiences excruciating pain. Since the doctor is not present, the nurse wakes a sleeping intern who, without examining Louise, assures the nurse that Louise’s pain is “normal.” The doctor is not informed of the incident, and it isn’t until three days later that he discovers that her colon had ruptured.
Consequently, Louise contracts sepsis, a life-threatening condition, and her stay in the hospital is extended for two months. Later Louise files a medical malpractice lawsuit against the intern, the doctor, and the hospital, alleging that the intern’s failure to examine her allowed her sepsis to proceed unchecked for three days – allowing the sepsis to take hold and thereby greatly worsening her condition.
The court agrees with Louise’s claim. The intern is held liable for the malpractice, and both the doctor and the hospital are also held liable on a theory of vicarious liability. Since the intern’s negligence did not actually cause the sepsis in the first place, the measure of the defendants’ liability is the extent to which Louise’s condition worsened during the three days that the diagnosis was inappropriately delayed.
Contact Us Today
Medical malpractice is a lot more common than most people realize, if for no other reason than the fact that most people fail to attribute their symptoms to malpractice on the part of their doctor. Medical malpractice cases can get complex – in fact, most cases require the use of expert medical witnesses to establish liability.
If you have a malady that you suspect may have been caused or worsened by medical malpractice, contact Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner today and speak with an experienced Bellingham medical malpractice attorney. Call, or fill out our online contact form, so that we can contact you to schedule a free consultation and evaluate your options. We take cases from South Hill, Sunnyland, Roosevelt, and elsewhere in Bellingham.