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Bellingham Medical Malpractice Lawyer
When we visit a hospital, clinic, or private practice doctor, we trust that we will receive professional care that meets medical standards. We do not expect that a doctor will intentionally or negligently cause harm to us — but in some situations, a medical professional can commit an act of medical malpractice. As a result, we can suffer from lost wages, unexpected medical expenses, and emotional trauma.
Medical Malpractice Resources
- Why Hire Colburn Law
- What is Medical Malpractice?
- Common Types of Medical Malpractice
- What Is the Statute of Limitations?
- What Compensation Can I Recover for a Medical Malpractice Claim?
- Contact a Bellingham Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Why Hire a Medical Malpractice Lawyer?
If you are a Bellingham resident and experienced an act of medical malpractice, you are not alone — and Colburn Law can help. Our Bellingham medical malpractice attorneys have significant trial experience assisting victims of medical malpractice throughout the state of Washington, recovering the compensatory damages necessary for recovery.
- Our medical malpractice attorneys at Colburn Law have significant experience working in numerous areas of personal injury law, including medical malpractice cases. We have the negotiation skills necessary for pre-trial settlements, and we are not afraid to take your case to the courtroom.
- Our firm understands how difficult it can be to seek legal representation following a serious incident of medical malpractice. We are happy to meet with you at our offices in Issaquah, or at an alternative location such as your home or hospital room.
- We understand that communication is key in medical malpractice cases. We maintain an open, honest line of communication so that you remain updated on all important aspects of your case.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Nurses, doctors, obstetricians, and every other medical professional must uphold a standard of care when providing medical treatment to patients. Committing a serious error and causing harm to a patient, either intentionally, recklessly, or negligently, is an act of medical malpractice.
Medical malpractice can involve a number of negligent actions, including the following.
- Surgical errors
- Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose
- Failure to accurately read test results
- Anesthesia errors
- Leaving a foreign object inside of a patient during surgery
- Birth injuries and errors during labor and delivery
- Prescribing the wrong medication or dosage
Common Types of Medical Malpractice
Many different types of medical malpractice can occur to Bellingham patients, many of which can result in lasting consequences. Some of the most common acts of malpractice include the following.
- Misdiagnosis: Doctors must perform a thorough evaluation of existing symptoms and follow a process of elimination to accurately diagnose a patient. A doctor may overlook critical symptom details or fail to follow an accurate procedure when performing a diagnosis, leading to a worsening condition and additional injuries.
- Prescription errors: When a doctor prescribes medication, he or she must take into consideration a patient’s medical history, allergies, and condition. Prescribing the wrong medication, the wrong dosage, or a medication that a patient is allergic to can lead to significant injuries.
- Failure to inform patients of risks: Patients have the right to know about the potential risks and side effects of any treatment they receive, and doctors must disclose this information. If a doctor fails to inform the patient of these risks and an adverse event occurs, he or she could be liable for the patient’s injuries.
- Surgical errors: Surgeries are very delicate procedures, and surgeons must take extra precautions to keep a patient safe. Performing surgery on the wrong location, damaging the tissue around the surgery site, leaving foreign objects in a patient’s body, or slicing a nerve or artery can lead to lasting consequences.
- Anesthesia errors: Anesthesiologists must administer the correct dosage of anesthesia before a surgery. Administering too much or too little anesthesia, or failing to monitor a patient while he or she is unconscious, can lead to serious complications.
What Is the Statute of Limitations?
All personal injury claims in Washington, including medical malpractice claims, are subject to a deadline known as the statute of limitations. If you do not file your claim by this deadline, the court will likely dismiss your case.
You have three years from the date of the malpractice to file your lawsuit. However, identifying the exact date of your injury can be difficult in medical malpractice claims, and you may not know that you were a victim of malpractice until a later date. In these situations, Washington extends the statute of limitations to 3 years from the date you discovered or should have reasonably discovered your injuries.
What Compensation Can I Recover for a Medical Malpractice Claim?
The purpose of a medical malpractice claim is for you to recover compensation for any losses you suffer as a result of the malpractice. You can claim economic and non-economic damages in your lawsuit, all of which must relate to the malpractice. You cannot claim compensation for the condition that made you seek medical attention in the first place, unless the malpractice exacerbated it.
Bellingham medical malpractice victims often claim the following damages in their lawsuits.
- Past and future medical expenses
- Physical therapy
- Prescription medications
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earnings
- Disability accommodations
- Chronic pain
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Loss of quality of life
- Emotional distress
Understanding the value of your claim can be difficult since medical malpractice claims often involve hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation and require a medical expert to validate your claims.
With an attorney from Colburn Law on your side, you can better understand how much you need to treat your injuries and recover from your losses. A medical malpractice lawyer can also help you avoid accepting an insufficient settlement offer, maximizing your compensation.
How Do I Prove a Medical Malpractice Case?
To receive compensation in a medical malpractice lawsuit, you will need to prove a series of elements that establish the negligence of the medical professional you are holding accountable. Your attorney can help you collect the evidence and formulate the arguments necessary to successfully prove the following factors.
- First, you will need to establish that the medical professional owed you a duty of care. You will have to show that the at-fault party provided treatment to you in a professional capacity, such as in a hospital or at a clinic. You cannot hold medical professionals liable if they were not treating you in a professional capacity; for example, you cannot file a claim against a doctor friend if you asked him or her for advice at a party.
- Next, you will need to prove that the medical professional breached his or her duty of care and failed to uphold industry standards of care. The professional must have acted in such a way that a similarly trained and reasonably prudent professional would not have. This can take numerous forms depending on the facts of your case, such as misdiagnosis, surgical errors, prescription errors, and more. Your attorney can work with you to gather the medical evidence and consult the experts necessary to establish this element.
- Third, you will need to prove that the breach of care directly caused the injuries or worsening illness you suffered. Separating your previous condition from the medical malpractice injuries can be difficult, but your attorney can help you gather the evidence you need to distinguish between the two.
- Finally, you will need to establish that you suffered damages that you can collect in your lawsuit. Damages can be economic, including tangible losses such as additional medical expenses and disability accommodations. They can also be non-economic, including the pain and emotional suffering you sustained as a result of the malpractice.
For more information see our guide to filing a medical malpractice claim in WA.
Contact Colburn Law Today
If you are a victim of medical malpractice by a Bellingham-area medical professional, Colburn Law can help. Our Bellingham personal injury attorneys have significant experience assisting clients in their medical malpractice cases, and we can guide you through each step of the lawsuit process to help you tell your story. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation and to begin filing your claim in Washington civil court.
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