How to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

Categories: Medical Malpractice

file medical malpractice claim

If you suffered injuries due to medical negligence, you have legal rights. You might be wondering how to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. If you plan to pursue a claim against the negligent medical provider, it’s crucial to understand the procedural requirements. Otherwise, you might not be allowed to proceed with your claim. When you have been wronged by a medical professional, it’s time to contact the Washington medical malpractice lawyers at Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner to hold them accountable.

How to File a Medical Malpractice Claim?

Start by treating your injuries. Seek medical assistance from another doctor and medical facility. You must establish proof of your injuries and what caused them. Seeking medical treatment from another provider will create documentation you can use as evidence.  

You should hire a skilled medical malpractice lawyer. Because Washington malpractice claims are complicated, we recommend not pursuing a claim independently. Your attorney will review the records from your recent medical visits to determine whether there’s strong enough evidence to proceed with a medical malpractice claim.

When you hire Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner, we will notify the medical professional and their workplace that you are preparing to file a lawsuit for medical malpractice. Sometimes, the insurance company might want to discuss a potential settlement before you file a lawsuit. If both sides can reach an agreeable settlement figure, there’s no need to file a lawsuit. If a settlement cannot be reached, your Washington medical malpractice lawyer can file a lawsuit on your behalf.

Determining Whether Medical Malpractice Exists

To collect compensation in litigation, you must demonstrate malpractice exists. Some examples of malpractice include:

  • Failure to diagnose,
  • Misdiagnosis,
  • Improper technique,
  • Delay in diagnosis, and
  • Improper management.

Successful malpractice claims demonstrate one of the following:

  • The healthcare provider did not adhere to the accepted standard of care, which led to your injuries;
  • You suffered an injury that your medical provider assured you would never happen; or
  • You sustained injuries from a medical treatment or procedure that you did not consent to having.

A malpractice lawyer can determine all causes of action and identify all potentially responsible parties.  

Potential Compensation in a Washington Medical Malpractice Case

Compensation in a medical malpractice case includes economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages are financial losses, such as medical expenses and lost earnings. Noneconomic damages compensate you for the emotional and mental harm you suffered because of your injury. Noneconomic damages are harder to calculate because there are no corresponding financial losses. These damages are subjective and can make up a significant amount of your settlement. Examples of noneconomic damages include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and disability. Your lawsuit will list these damages and how much compensation you’re demanding.

Medical Malpractice Litigation

If you are searching for information about how to file a medical malpractice suit, you likely ran across the rule that you need to mediate your case. Washington law requires mandatory mediation for claims involving health care. This rule provides another chance for the parties to reach a settlement before setting the case for trial.

Don’t assume that mediation is a more accessible or easier alternative to litigation and that you don’t need to be as prepared as you would be for trial. For a mediation to be successful, you need strong evidence showing that you’re a victim of malpractice. Your mediator is a neutral third party who tries to help both sides settle without going to trial. Without solid evidence, the mediator will not encourage the defendant to consider offering more compensation.

Medical malpractice plaintiffs often benefit from hiring experts. These expert witnesses review cases and weigh in on whether they believe malpractice occurred. Their testimony can carry a lot of weight regarding whether a medical professional deviated from the standard of care.

Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice in Washington

One of the most crucial aspects of how to file a medical malpractice complaint involves the statute of limitations. All personal injury cases have a specific deadline that dictates when you must file a lawsuit. Should you inadvertently miss the filing date and submit your complaint after, the judge will very likely dismiss your case. It won’t matter that you have solid evidence and your case is worth millions of dollars. Missing the deadline is equivalent to not having a case at all.

Washington has a specific statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims. In Washington, a lawsuit must be filed within three years of the act or omission that allegedly caused your injury or condition. Should the victim pass away, the deadline for wrongful death lawsuits is the same.  

However, there are exceptions to the statute of limitations. Some exceptions, such as the discovery rule, could extend your filing time. This rule can extend the filing deadline if your medical malpractice injury was not immediately discovered when it occurred. Sometimes, victims find out about their injuries months or even years later. In Washington, medical malpractice claims must be filed either three years from the date of the alleged malpractice or one year from the date on which the plaintiff discovered their injury, whichever is later.

However, you cannot commence an action more than eight years after the alleged malpractice because of the statute of repose. That means the law prohibits you from filing a lawsuit if you don’t discover your malpractice injury until nine years later.  

Factors such as fraud and intentional concealment or the presence of a foreign body not intended to have a diagnostic or therapeutic purpose can also extend the filing deadline and not subject a claim to the eight-year statute of repose. Medical malpractice claims involving minors are also different. That’s why it’s crucial to speak with a lawyer to determine the appropriate filing deadline.

Contact a Washington Medical Malpractice Lawyer

If you have questions about how to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Washington, Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner is here to help. We understand the nuances of Washington malpractice laws and how best to build a strong case. We have five decades of combined experience assisting injured Washington residents and have recovered over $100 million for our clients.

When you visit a medical provider, you expect they will treat you to the best of their ability. Finding out you’re the victim of malpractice is terrifying. However, you aren’t alone. We will protect your rights and stand by you every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation. Let us help you file a medical malpractice lawsuit and fight for the compensation you deserve.

Author Photo

Matt Conner

Matt Conner, a distinguished attorney at Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner, brings a unique blend of financial and legal expertise to his practice. Graduating with a double major in mathematics and economics from Willamette University, he initially honed his analytical skills as an economist for the State of Oregon. Specializing in personal injury law, Matt is adept at handling a wide array of cases, including multiparty litigation against large entities, and claims involving gun violence, sexual and police misconduct, car accidents, traumatic brain injuries, and wrongful death. Admitted to the Washington State Bar in 2014, he is known for his tenacious advocacy and deep compassion for clients facing life-altering challenges. His approach is not just about legal representation; it’s about restoring lives.