Do You Understand Medical Malpractice in Washington State?

In Personal Injury Law by Jeremy Friedland

When a person is injured as a result of a medical procedure or treatment provided by a medical professional, it may be necessary to have a personal injury lawyer file a malpractice claim or lawsuit to recover their losses. Every state has different laws pertaining to medical malpractice and the ability to sue for damages, so it is important for residents of the state of Washington to understand the laws that pertain in that state. Following is an overview of medical malpractice law as it pertains to filing claims with the assistance of an injury attorney, and what must be considered if a person suspects medical malpractice.

Defining Medical Malpractice

Personal injury attorneys state that according to Washington state law RCW 7.70, plaintiffs may file malpractice claims against a recorded, licensed medical provider defined by that law, if an injury occurs under one or more of the following three circumstances:

  1. The provider did not follow the accepted standard of care for medical treatment.

  2. The provider specifically promised that an injury would not occur.

  3. The provider did not obtain informed consent from the patient.

These are the only three circumstances under which anyone can file a suit for damages sustained from a medical injury against a provider in the state of Washington.

Statute of Limitation

Injury attorneys say the statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice claim in the state of Washington is three years from the date of the original injury. In situations where the injury is not discovered until later, the statute is one year from the time the injury is realized. Also, no claim may be filed against a provider more than eight years from the alleged act of negligence, unless there is proof of intentional concealment, fraud, or the presence of a foreign object inside the plaintiff. Any actions relating to wrongful death, alleged to be caused by malpractice, must be filed within three years of the death of the patient.

Comparative Negligence and Proportionate Liability

Personal injury lawyers advise that when determining negligence and liability in medical malpractice cases, Washington state law provides courts with the ability to determine the amount of negligence shown by both providers and plaintiffs, and assign a level of negligence on which to base an award. This means that any settlement a plaintiff is granted will be proportionate to the level of negligence the provider is found to have displayed, and whether the plaintiff is found to be partially responsible for their injury.

Based on the information referenced above, it is essential that any resident of the State of Washington, who feels that they are a victim of medical malpractice, contact an injury attorney to discuss their circumstances as quickly as possible. Proving medical malpractice can be challenging and time-consuming; it may require the assistance of an experienced personal injury lawyer. Through discussion with clients, personal injury lawyers experienced in medical malpractice can determine if it is possible to build a viable case of medical malpractice from which a settlement to recover damages can be obtained.


505 West Riverside Suite 400
Spokane, Washington 99201

(509) 319-2209

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