If you believe that you were a victim of medical malpractice, then a lawsuit might be a good idea. However, lawsuits can be both expensive and lengthy, which means that you want to be completely sure of your options before you make a commitment. The laws in your state will play a huge role in determining whether you get the money you want, so here are some of the laws that you will be dealing with when it comes to medical malpractice lawsuits in Washington:
Standard of Care
When it comes to proving medical malpractice, you usually need to prove that your healthcare provider failed to act in accordance to the standard of care. In simple terms, the defendant should have treated you like they would have treated a patient similar to you, with similar circumstances and similar health problems.
As you might guess, this can get pretty murky and will likely involve expert opinions on whether or not the healthcare provider acted in such a fashion. A medical malpractice attorney can help you figure out exactly how you can prove that your provider violated the standard of care, which is why it's pretty important to at least get a consultation when preparing a medical malpractice lawsuit.
The Statute of Limitations
In Washington, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice is generally the same as the statute of limitations for personal injuries and wrongful deaths: 3 years.
However, medical malpractice can get a bit tricky when it comes to discovery, which is a situation that arises when the extent of your injuries were not discovered until long after the negligence occurred.
There are a number of reasons that this might happen, since the provider might have misled you about your health situation or you might have developed a chronic condition that takes years to appear and cause damage.
For cases where foreign objects were left in your body or you were misled about your health situation, you have 1 year to file from the date of discovery.
For all other cases, you have 1 year to file from the date of discovery, but the total statute of limitations may not exceed 8 years.
This means that you may not file a lawsuit for medical malpractice if you discover negligence 9 years after the care was provided unless you were fraudulently misled about your health or a healthcare provider left a foreign object inside your body through negligence.