Imagine trusting a professional with the most intimate and delicate parts of your being – your health. You expect the best care, but what happens when things go awry, not due to an unforeseeable complication, but due to negligence?

The term “medical malpractice” might have crossed your mind. This post seeks to clarify the intricacies surrounding medical malpractice in Spokane and inform you of the avenues available should you ever find yourself in such a situation.

Understanding Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice is essentially when a healthcare provider deviates from the recognized standard of care in the treatment of a patient. It’s not simply a matter of a dissatisfactory result, but rather, it’s about a breach of standard practices that directly results in harm.

The Washington State law, much like laws elsewhere, ensures that there are strong legal parameters in place when it comes to medical malpractice to safeguard both patients and medical professionals. Some common examples of medical malpractice in Spokane include:

  • Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose a patient’s condition
  • Surgical errors
  • Medication errors
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Failure to monitor a patient’s condition
  • Improper treatment

In Washington State, the general rule for the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims is that they must be filed within three years of the act causing the injury or one year from the date the injury was or reasonably should have been discovered, whichever is later. However, some nuances and exceptions might apply, making it all the more essential to be informed and act promptly.

The Grounds for a Medical Malpractice Claim

To establish a valid Spokane Medical Malpractice Claim, the following crucial elements must be presented and verified:

Duty of Care: This pertains to the implicit responsibility that a doctor or healthcare professional has when attending to a patient’s medical needs. This duty is typically established once a patient seeks a medical professional’s services.

For example, if an individual consults a physician regarding severe abdominal pain and undergoes an examination, a doctor-patient relationship is created, confirming the duty of care.

Breach of Duty: This is the heart of the claim. Here, it is required to demonstrate that the medical professional deviated from established medical practices. This deviation can be in the form of misdiagnoses, incorrect treatments, improper aftercare, or poor health management.

Consider a scenario where a patient with clear symptoms of a particular ailment is mistakenly diagnosed with a different condition and is prescribed unrelated treatments. This misdiagnosis and consequent mistreatment can be viewed as a breach of duty.

Injury Resulting from the Breach: It is not enough to highlight the medical professional’s error. One must prove that this oversight or negligence directly led to harm or injury.

For instance, if due to the aforementioned misdiagnosis, the patient’s actual condition deteriorated or resulted in new health complications, it signifies that the injury was directly tied to the breach of duty.

Quantifiable Damages: This component demands tangible evidence of the damage caused by the injury. This evidence can manifest in several forms: monetary costs from additional treatments, physical repercussions, or psychological distress.

Building on the previous example, the patient might incur added medical expenses due to extended hospital stays, require therapy for physical pain, or even seek counseling for the emotional trauma experienced. Each of these consequences is quantifiable and critical for substantiating the claim.

Each of these components, when meticulously substantiated, forms the backbone of a comprehensive medical malpractice claim, ensuring that any injustices faced receive the appropriate redress.

If you believe that you have been a victim of medical malpractice, the first step is to consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. A good medical malpractice attorney will be able to review your case and assess your chances of success.

If your attorney believes that you have a viable medical malpractice case, they will file a lawsuit on your behalf in the Spokane County Superior Court. The lawsuit will name the healthcare provider or other healthcare entity as the defendant.

The lawsuit will typically allege that the defendant breached their duty of care to you and that this breach of duty caused your injury or harm. The lawsuit will also ask for damages to compensate you for your losses, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Understanding Damages in Medical Malpractice Cases

If you win a medical malpractice case, the damages you can recover are designed to make you “whole” again, at least financially. Here’s a detailed breakdown:

Medical Expenses: Not only can you claim for treatments you’ve already undergone, but if the medical malpractice in Spokane has led to an ongoing medical condition, future anticipated medical costs can also be included. This covers hospital stays, surgeries, medications, therapy sessions, and any other related healthcare costs.

Lost Wages: If your injury has forced you to take time off work or has impaired your ability to perform your job, you’re entitled to compensation for the wages you’ve lost. Additionally, if the malpractice results in a long-term or permanent disability, future lost earnings can be substantial.

Pain and Suffering: Beyond the tangible costs are the intangible ones. The physical pain, emotional trauma, and overall reduced quality of life resulting from the malpractice can be factored into the compensation. This is often a significant portion of the damages, given the profound impact such experiences can have on one’s life.

Loss of Consortium: This refers to the negative impact the injury has on your relationship with your spouse or partner. It can encompass everything from loss of companionship, and affection, and other intangible losses that can result from serious injuries.

Punitive Damages: These are less common and aren’t designed to compensate the victim, but rather to penalize the defendant for particularly reckless or malicious conduct. It serves as a deterrent for such conduct in the future.

In addition, you might also claim:

Rehabilitation Costs: If the injury requires physical or occupational therapy, these costs can be claimed.

Costs of Home Modifications: In cases where the injury results in a disability, modifications might be needed at home (like ramps for wheelchairs), and these costs can be factored in.

It’s crucial to work closely with a legal professional to ensure all potential damages are considered and appropriately calculated.

Seeking Justice for Medical Malpractice: Your Next Steps with Craig Swapp & Associates

While the scars of medical negligence might remain, it’s essential to remember that the law offers avenues for redress. The journey might seem daunting, but with the right allies, justice is within reach.

Believe you’ve been a victim of medical malpractice? It’s time to act. Connect with Craig Swapp & Associates and ensure your voice is heard and your rights upheld.

Written By: Ryan Swapp     Legal Review By: Craig Swapp