Proven Mt. Vernon Medical Malpractice Attorneys Ready To Serve You
Mt. Vernon residents enjoy the comfort of knowing that when injury or illness strike, local medical facilities are among the best in the state of Washington. Skagit Valley Hospital and Hospital De Mt. Vernon are just a couple of examples of the top-tier medical institutions that are available to residents. No medical institution anywhere, however, is completely immune to the risk of medical malpractice.
Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or other health care professional’s diagnosis or treatment of a patient falls below a professional standard of care, and this failure harms the patient in some way. The standard of care is variable – a general practitioner will probably be held to a lower standard of care than a specialist (although a general practitioner might commit malpractice by failing to refer a patient to a specialist when called for).
Generally, however, the term “standard of care” refers to the type and level of care that an ordinary, prudent health care professional, with the same training and experience as the health care provider involved in the case, would provide under similar circumstances in the same community. Essentially, this means that, in a medical malpractice case, the question at issue is: “Would another health care professional with similar training and skills have provided me with the same treatment under these circumstances?” If the answer is “no” and you suffered harm as a result of the failure to provide adequate care, you may have a valid medical malpractice case.
What Circumstances Qualify for a Medical Malpractice Claim?
Any number of circumstances can ultimately lead to a medical malpractice claim. Certainly, we all have our own unique medical conditions, and our medical treatment experiences will therefore be slightly different as well. Nevertheless, the following examples are some of the most common examples of medical malpractice, though there are certainly many other scenarios in which medical malpractice could occur:
- A mistake in monitoring the amount of anesthesia a patient needs – either providing too much, or too little, leading to complications
- Failing to account for all sponges, materials, and other instruments used during surgery
- Failing to check a patient’s medical history and administering medications to which the patient has an allergic or otherwise adverse reaction
- Amputating the incorrect body part
- Failure to monitor an infant’s condition properly during labor and delivery
- Dropping a patient due to improper lifting or transporting techniques
- Ignoring lab reports or other pertinent test results
- Providing sub-standard trauma care immediately following a severe accident
Regardless of the particular incident that occurred, a successful medical malpractice claim will require proof of the following elements:
- The existence of a doctor-patient relationship: A doctor-patient relationship is typically found to exist when a doctor agrees to examine you, receive your medical history, and provide you with some type of diagnosis or treatment. Once a doctor-patient relationship exists, the doctor has an obligation to the patient to provide competent care.
- Proving negligent care that caused an injury: Sometimes, even when all precautions are taken and a medical procedure is performed in the safest manner possible, accidents do occur. In some situations, accidents are truly without fault. In other circumstances, however, injuries that occur during the course of medical treatment are a result of negligence on the part of the medical provider – a failure to perform to the standard of care. In these circumstances, proving that negligence occurred, and that the negligence caused the injury, is key to successfully establishing a claim for medical malpractice.
- Present Proof of Damages: In addition to establishing that negligent care caused an injury, a successful medical malpractice claimant must also prove that the injury at issue caused damages. These damages may include past and anticipated future medical bills, lost wages, lost future earning capacity, pain and suffering, and more.
Proving these elements is essential to a successful medical malpractice claim. To do so, it is very important to retain a knowledgeable and experienced attorney who understands medical malpractice law and how to put that knowledge to use on your behalf.
Anyone fresh from passing the bar exam can hang out a shingle and seek medical malpractice clients. Likewise, a trusts and estates expert can take a break from drafting trust agreements to deal with a medical malpractice case. For best results, however, you are going to need a law firm that handles personal injury cases, and especially medical malpractice cases, on a frequent basis. That would be us.
At Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner, we have been winning settlements and verdicts for our clients since 1972. During that time, we have handled over 2,500 cases and we have secured a cumulative total of over $100,000,000 in damages for our clients. There isn’t much that can happen in a medical malpractice case that we haven’t seen before.
Types of Cases We Handle
In addition to medical malpractice cases, we also frequently handle the following types of cases:
- Wrongful Death
- Car Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- DUI Accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Bicycle Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Sexual Abuse
All of these types of cases can be exacerbated by medical malpractice.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How will I prove my case?
To win, you will need to retain expert medical witnesses to analyze your case and testify on your behalf. The use of professional expert witnesses is common in medical malpractice cases. Medical experts are also useful in settlement negotiations to encourage the defendant to settle in the face of your strong case.
What is the statute of limitations deadline?
The statute of limitations sets a deadline for you to file a lawsuit. If you miss it, your case will be dismissed. The Washington medical malpractice statute of limitations deadline is three years from the date that the malpractice occurred, with the following exceptions:
- If you don’t discover the malpractice right away (if you can’t trace your injury to medical malpractice until later, for example), you have one year from the date of the discovery to file a lawsuit – as long as your failure to discover it earlier was reasonable.
- If you were under 18 at the time the malpractice occurred, you have until your 19th birthday to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. Before you turn 18, only your parent or guardian can file the lawsuit since minors cannot file lawsuits in their own name in Washington.
Under no circumstances can you bring a medical malpractice claim later than 8 years after the malpractice occurred.
What is mandatory mediation?
Under Washington law, you must first attempt to mediate your medical malpractice claim before you file a lawsuit. If you do, the statute of limitations period is suspended for a year.
How does the comparative negligence defense work?
If your injuries were partially your fault, a proportionate amount can be subtracted from your damages. A medical malpractice defendant might raise this defense if, for example, you failed to follow doctor’s orders and this failure contributed to your injury or illness.
Let’s Make It Happen Together
Medical malpractice claims tend to be complex undertakings requiring technical expertise, negotiating skills, and an intimate knowledge of both medical malpractice law and the rules of evidence and civil procedure. Our Mt. Vernon medical malpractice attorney is well versed in all of these areas of practice, and we know how to tailor our strategy to the individual concerns of each client.
If you believe that you may have been victimized by medical malpractice (it’s not always obvious), then contact a skilled Mt. Vernon medical malpractice lawyer at Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner as soon as possible by calling or by filling out our online contact form for a free initial consultation. Our lawyers serve clients from Twin Brooks, Skagit Highlands, Pine Creek Estates, and elsewhere in Mt. Vernon. Remember: If we don’t win, you don’t pay us a dime.