Medical Malpractice

We all want to believe in our doctors and place our faith and trust in them. Medical providers are professionals who save lives and help people live healthier lives. Nevertheless, medical professionals are human and make mistakes. Those mistakes can unfairly lead to consequences for those harmed by medical malpractice.

For example, in a landmark study an interdisciplinary team from Harvard reviewed the medical records of more than 30,000 hospitalizations. Adverse events occurred in 3.7 percent of the hospitalizations, and 28 percent of these were deemed to be due to medical negligence. The authors of the study estimated that 14 percent of the medical negligence occurrences led to death.

Professional negligence claims involve many of the same legal principals as other injury claims, but are often heavily modified by statute.

Medical malpractice is a common law negligence claim but in Washington medical malpractice claims are modified by statute. A statutory provision that required certification of merit before bringing a medical malpractice claim was declared unconstitutional by the Washington Supreme Court in September 2009.

In Washington a medical malpractice claim must be brought under one of three theories.

1. Failure to follow the standard of care

2. Breach of warranty, or

3. Failure to provide informed consent

There is another Washington statute that affects the procedures for bringing a medical malpractice claim. The statute requires giving 90 days notice prior to filing a medical malpractice claim in court. Also, prior to filing the case in court medical malpractice claims must be certified as meritorious by a qualified expert and a certificate of good faith by the attorney filing it. Expert testimony is generally required to prove a medical malpractice claim in court.

Medial malpractice clams include claims such as

If you believe you may be the victim of medical malpractice consult with an attorney for a no commitment evaluation of your case.

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[1] See Frequency of Medical Negligence in the Hospital at (Published by the New England Journal of Medicine. Last accessed 04-14-09).

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