Dedicated Seattle Medical Malpractice Attorneys Ready To Fight For You
Seattle is home to many of the best medical facilities in the state of Washington – indeed, perhaps the best in the entire Pacific Northwest. Institutions such as the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, the University of Washington Medical Center, the Virginia Mason Medical Center, and Evergreen Health Kirkland all provide top-tier medical care to residents and visitors alike.
Unfortunately, however, no hospital is completely malpractice-proof. Even the American Medical Association lists medical malpractice as one of the nation’s leading causes of death. In many cases, however, malpractice related deaths and injuries are not even recognized for what they are, because patients lack the expertise to pinpoint medical malpractice as the cause of a negative medical outcome.
Exactly What Is Medical Malpractice, Anyway?
Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider’s diagnosis or treatment falls short of a professional standard of care. From a strictly legal perspective, you need to prove the following to win:
- A doctor-patient relationship existed between you and the defendant. This is normally obvious, but it might be difficult to prove if, say, the doctor rendered first aid to you as a passerby on the scene of an auto accident.
- Your healthcare provider failed to meet a professional duty standard of care. Expert medical witnesses are generally required to prove this.
- Your healthcare provider’s failure to meet the standard of care caused you verifiable physical harm. This element might not be met if, for example, your doctor failed to diagnose a condition that would have been just as severe no matter when the diagnosis was made.
- You will also have to prove all of the damages you are claiming through admissible evidence.
You May Have Only One Chance to Get It Right
Many medical malpractice injuries result in expenses that continue for decades after a medical malpractice claim is resolved. Once you receive compensation, however, it will be impossible for you to go back and ask for more money if you run out later. That is why you must accurately calculate your future damages. Our legal team enjoy extensive experience doing exactly that – and we can put our expertise to work for you.
Types of Cases We Frequently Handle
A Seattle medical malpractice lawyer at Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner is experienced in resolving all kinds of injury and accident cases, including:
Wrongful Death: What value can you place upon a human life? Although any human life is priceless, all the legal system can do is award money damages. Washington state wrongful death law allows just that, and the amounts can be quite substantial.
Car Accidents: The aftermath of a serious car accident can include pain and suffering, medical bills, lost earnings, and a host of other economic and non-economic losses. All of these losses can be compensated if liability can be proven, but this can be challenging for a non-lawyer in light of Washington’s arcane rules of evidence and civil procedure.
Motorcycle Accidents: The human body is fragile, and a motorcycle accident highlights this inherent fragility the way that almost nothing else can. Most motorcycle accidents result from an inattentive motorist who simply isn’t looking out for motorcycles.
DUI Accidents: When you are injured by an intoxicated driver or your loved one is killed that way, criminal prosecution is a must. Unfortunately, however, a criminal prosecution might not result in you being compensated for your losses. A civil claim can make this happen, however, whether through a courtroom verdict or (more likely) a private settlement.
Truck Accidents: Every 15 minutes someone in the US is killed or seriously injured in a truck accident. With all of the Interstate highways serving the Seattle area, these kind of accidents are inevitable. Winning your truck accident claim is not inevitable, however, which is why you are probably going to need the assistance of a personal injury attorney in Seattle to make it happen.
Bicycle Accidents: Bicyclists enjoy no frame protection whatsoever, and they are not able to accelerate themselves out of trouble the way other vehicles can. Bicycle accidents are frequently the fault of the motorist, and injuries tend to be serious.
Pedestrian Accidents: Pedestrians generally have the right of way, but this right is not always respected. Thousands of pedestrian accidents occur every single day in Seattle, and a significant portion of these result in the death of the pedestrian.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): A traumatic brain injury can drastically affect your lifestyle and your ability to earn a living, and it can be caused by anything from a truck accident to a gunshot wound. In some cases, symptoms might not show up for hours or even days after the accident that produced them.
Just about any type of injury can trigger a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. We also handle product liability, defective drugs, slip and fall accidents, and more.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) and why does it matter?
MMI is the point at which your doctor determines that your condition has already improved as much as it is ever going to. This may mean you have made a full recovery, or it may mean that you retain a lingering disability. It is important, because it is difficult to reliably calculate how much you should ask for in compensation until you reach MMI.
Can I file a wrongful death lawsuit over medical malpractice?
Yes, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit over medical malpractice just as you would over a car accident. Medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuits tend to be more complex than car accident lawsuits, however.
What is the deadline for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit?
The deadline for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is usually three years after the malpractice occurred. Certain exceptions and conditions apply, however:
- If you don’t discover the malpractice until too late to meet the three-year deadline, and if your failure to discover the malpractice was reasonable (the doctor left a sponge in your body after surgery and your symptoms were delayed, for example), you can get another year to file a lawsuit.
- If you were a minor at the time of the malpractice, you have until your 19th birthday to file a lawsuit. Before you turn 18, however, your parents can file a lawsuit on your behalf.
- Under no circumstances will you be allowed to file a lawsuit more than eight years after the malpractice occurred, even if one of the above exceptions does apply.
What is mandatory mediation?
In Washington, you are required to attempt to mediate a medical malpractice claim before you file a lawsuit. You will need concrete evidence of malpractice to prevail, even in mediation. You may even need the assistance of an expert medical witness at this stage.
How are expert medical witnesses used in medical malpractice lawsuits?
At trial, expert medical witness testimony is used primarily to determine the standard of care that should have been observed in your treatment and to determine whether the defendant’s treatment met that standard. The witness might also testify concerning other issues such as your likely future damages or the amount of pain and suffering that you are likely to have endured.
Expert medical witnesses are also useful in settlement negotiations. This is important because the U.S. Bureau of Justice estimates that fewer than 10 percent of all medical malpractice claims are resolved through trial – private settlement is the preferred option.
What is a structured settlement?
A settlement can be paid in two ways. One is a lump sum payment (all at once). Another way is for the court to establish a fund that will pay out at certain times (once a month, for example) or upon certain contingencies (unexpected medical needs arise, for example). The latter type of settlement is known as a structured settlement, and it is used mainly when the victim is expected to require long-term medical care.
What is a Functional Capacity Evaluation?
A Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) is a way of objectively determining how much compensation you will need for lost earnings. If medical malpractice caused you permanent brain damage, for example, you might find yourself unable to return to your former career, yet still able to perform some kind of work. An FCE is designed to precisely measure the extent of your occupational disability so that you can accurately measure your lifetime lost earnings.
How We Can Help
Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner has been serving personal injury victims for nearly half a century now. After handling over 2,500 cases involving over 3,000 injury victims and bringing home over $100,000,000 for our clients, there is not much that can happen in a personal injury case that will surprise us – we have just about seen it all.
Contact Us Today
If you suspect that you may have been victimized by medical malpractice, contact a skilled Seattle medical malpractice attorney at Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner for a free consultation, where we can explore your options and answer your questions. We can be reached by phone or online. We serve clients in Pioneer Square, Queen Anne, Redmond, and elsewhere in Seattle. And remember: If we don’t win your case, you will owe us nothing.