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Medical Malpractice Information Center

Medical Malpractice Information Center

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Frequently Asked Questions about Medical Malpractice

Q: What is medical malpractice?

A: Medical malpractice is negligence committed by a professional health care provider, such as a doctor, nurse, dentist, technician, hospital worker or hospital, whose treatment of a patient departs from a standard of care met by those with similar training and experience, resulting in harm to a patient.

Q: Does someone who is not satisfied with the results of his or her surgery have a malpractice case?

A: In general, there are no guarantees of medical results, and unexpected or unsuccessful results do not necessarily mean negligence occurred. To succeed in a medical malpractice case, a plaintiff has to show an injury or damages that resulted from the doctor's deviation from the standard of care applicable to the procedure.

Q: What should I do if I think I have a medical malpractice claim?

A: You should talk to a lawyer who specializes in such cases as soon as possible. Tell the attorney exactly what happened, from your first visit to the doctor or other health care provider, through your last contact with him or her. If possible, obtain your medical records and bring them to your first meeting with the attorney. There are time limits governing how long someone may bring a medical malpractice claim, so time is of the essence.

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Every year thousands of hospital deaths in the United States are due to potentially preventable medical errors. Your choice of attorney to represent your interests during a medical malpractice case could mean the difference between successful negotiations or expensive, ongoing litigation. Please contact our firm today to schedule a consultation with a personal injury attorney who can provide a clear explanation of your legal rights and options.

Seattle, Washington, Medical Malpractice Lawyers

Our lawyers at Law Offices of James Newton PLLC have many years of experience helping people who have suffered injury, illness or death because of medical negligence or malpractice. If you have been injured because of the errors or misconduct of a physician, nurse or hospital employee, you may be able to obtain compensation. Our attorneys are dedicated to recovering maximum payment for clients injured because of medical malpractice. We build strong cases for damages such as lost wages, medical expenses and pain and suffering. Contact our Seattle-area office to learn more. Call 1-800-4-INJURY.

For more information about medical malpractice, review the information below.

Medical Malpractice - An Overview

Medical malpractice occurs when a negligent act or omission by a doctor or other medical professional results in damage or harm to a patient. Negligence by a medical professional could include an error in a diagnosis, treatment or illness management. If such negligence results in injury to a patient, a case could arise against the doctor if his or her actions deviated from generally accepted standards of practice; against the hospital for improper care, such as problems with medications, sanitation or nursing care; or against local, state or federal agencies that operate hospital facilities.

Medical malpractice laws are designed to protect patients' rights to pursue compensation if they are injured as the result of negligence. However, malpractice suits are often complex and costly to win. While theoretically, you can seek compensation for any injury caused by negligence, regardless of its seriousness, time and money make it unrealistic to sue for an injury that is minor or heals quickly. Therefore, if you believe you have a medical malpractice claim, it is important to consult with an attorney at James Newton Law Office in Kent, Washington, who can help you determine whether your claim is worth pursuing.

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Understanding Informed Consent

In many situations where medical care or treatment is provided to an individual, medical professionals are required to obtain the patient's "informed consent." Although the specific definition of informed consent may vary from state to state, it means essentially that the patient has made a knowing decision about a medical treatment or procedure after a doctor or other health care professional discloses all the information a reasonably prudent medical provider would give to a patient regarding the risks involved in the proposed treatment or procedure. If the health care provider fails to obtain informed consent, the patient may have a legal claim for damages. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can help you determine whether you have a claim and represent your interests throughout the legal process.

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Responsible Parties in Medical Malpractice Actions

Medical malpractice is not limited to medical doctors. It applies also to nurses, dentists, osteopaths, health care facilities and others providing health care services, such as nursing homes. If you believe that you have been the victim of malpractice by any health care provider, do not delay in contacting an experienced medical malpractice attorney.

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Proving Your Case - Causation

To establish a case for medical malpractice, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant had a duty to the plaintiff, that the defendant failed to meet the standard of care owed to the plaintiff, that the mistake actually caused the plaintiff's injury and that the doctor or other medical professional's negligence damaged the plaintiff. Proof of causation can be a difficult issue in a medical malpractice case. For one thing, the injuries generally involved in medical malpractice cases require specific medical training to understand, and the normal plaintiff may not know the cause of such injuries. It is important to contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney who can evaluate your situation and work with experts to prove causation.

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Damages in Medical Malpractice Cases

To establish a case for medical malpractice, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant had a duty to the plaintiff, the defendant failed to meet the appropriate standard of care, that the defendant's actions actually caused the plaintiff's injury and that the doctor or other medical professional's negligence damaged the plaintiff. Damages are a critical element of a medical malpractice case, and the plaintiff cannot recover damages for injuries that did not result from the doctor's conduct, and so the plaintiff must establish a causal connection or link between the plaintiff's injury and the doctor's negligence. Generally, there are two types of damages available to a plaintiff in a medical malpractice case: compensatory damages and punitive damages. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can evaluate your situation, determine whether you have a claim, and put together a case for damages.

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Medical Malpractice Resource Links

Division of Quality Assurance
US Department of Health and Human Services. Links to National Practitioner Data Bank and the Healthcare Integrity and Protection Data Bank.

National Patient Safety Foundation
This Web site Features information about patient safety.

US Agency for Health Care Research & Quality
Provides information and links about patient safety, tips for patients and other general health information.

Joint Commission for International Patient Safety
The Joint Commission promotes and provides for the delivery of safe, high-quality care through its standards, event database, programs and its National Patient Safety Goals.

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The Law Offices of James Newton, PLLC

LocationPhone Number
South King County: 253-852-6600
Seattle: 206-262-0774
Tacoma: 253-627-6600
Eastside: 425-646-2736
Toll-free: 866-LAW-2345
Fax: 253-852-6800