Negligence Committed by aProfessional
Even Professionals Can be Negligent
Unfortunately, negligence can even occur in a professional context. Injuries from medical negligence can last a lifetime. A lawyer’s negligence could prevent your claim from being presented. I have experience with both of these types of cases and can help you recover all the damages you’re entitled to. If you’ve been harmed by the negligence of a professional contact me for a free consultation.
Table of Contents: for your convenience, below are quick links that will take you to the corresponding sections lower on this page.
- Types of Malpractice I Can Help You With
- Careful What you Say
- Negligence vs Malpractice
- Elements of Malpractice
- Malpractice Examples
- Malpractice Waiver
- How Do You Know if You Have a Malpractice Lawsuit
- When To Sue for Malpractice
- How To Prove Malpractice
- Statute of Limitations for Malpractice
- Malpractice Case Settlements
- Malpractice FAQs
- What to Expect
If You’ve Been Injured and Need Answers
If you’ve been injured and are seeking an experienced and dedicated personal injury attorney, contact me for a free consultation.
Types of Malpractice I Can Help You With
I can help you pursue claims for the alleged negligence of a professional in the areas of medicine or law.
- Medical Malpractice
- Legal Malpractice
Helping You Navigate the Complexities of the Legal System
Careful What you Say
Once you start talking you’re creating evidence that could be helpful or hurtful. Be mindful when talking to the following that you act in your own best interest.
- Insurance Companies - Insurance companies train their representatives to handle cases like yours every day. You are at a disadvantage from the start. Calls with an insurer typically start off with the statement, “do you consent to this call being recorded.” From the beginning, evidence is being obtained. Before providing a statement to an insurance company, you should talk with a lawyer.
- Law Enforcement - Statements made to law enforcement may be included in their reports and relied upon by insurers and experts.
- Friends and Family - Don’t talk about privileged conversations with your lawyer, or about your case. You should not discuss, text, or post anything about your case with anyone other than your legal team. You should otherwise live your life as if there was no claim or lawsuit.
- Social Media - Just don’t. Whatever you share on social media can be used against you. If you have social medical accounts, consider adjusting your privacy settings, and restricting what is posted publicly.
- Doctors - You should follow medical advice as if there was no claim or lawsuit. Be sure to explain to your medical providers how your injury occurred. Don’t minimize any aspect of your injuries.
If you have been injured by the negligence of others, contact me for a free consultation.
Negligence vs Malpractice
Negligence can be committed by anyone or any entity. Malpractice is negligence committed in a professional capacity.
- Medical malpractice is negligence of a medical provider.
- Legal malpractice is negligence of a lawyer.
If you believe you’ve incurred injuries or damages as a result of malpractice, contact me for a free consultation.
Elements of Malpractice
There must first be a doctor-patient relationship or an attorney-client relationship. Then, generally, it must be established that the professional acted below the standard of care of similarly situated professionals. A professional has a duty to exercise the degree of skill and care expected of a person in that profession. Failure to exercise such skill and care constitutes a breach of the standard of care and is negligence.
The two elements of malpractice are:
- Breach of the standard of care
- Damages caused by the breach of the standard of care
Malpractice Lawyer in Everett WA
If you have questions and are looking for answers regarding an injury incurred by the negligence of a professional, give me a call. I provide free consultations to assess the merits of cases. Contact me for answers and to find out whether I’m the right fit for you and your situation.
A malpractice waiver could be where the professional is asserting that you waived any potential malpractice claim against them. If a professional claims that you’ve signed a malpractice waiver you should contact a lawyer.
A malpractice waiver should not be confused with an Informed Consent Form, which is a form that is signed before a medical procedure explaining the procedure and the risks of the procedure.
How Do You Know if You Have a Malpractice Lawsuit
Ultimately, you won’t know if you have a malpractice lawsuit until an expert concludes that the standard of care was breached and damages resulted from that breach. If your result was not what you expected and you believe you’ve been harmed by a professional, contact me for a free consultation.
When To Sue for Malpractice
In Washington state, a case does not become a lawsuit until it’s filed with the court or a process server serves the defendant.
It’s possible that a claim can be settled before it becomes a lawsuit. If you believe you’ve been injured due to an error by a professional you should contact an attorney as soon as it’s convenient. If you wait too long, evidence may not be available, witnesses may be difficult to locate, or the statute of limitations may run out.
How To Prove Malpractice
In most cases, expert testimony is necessary to establish that the professional failed to follow the applicable standard of care which resulted in damages. Cases will involve the testimony of fact witnesses ( non-expert witnesses), and expert witnesses who are qualified by education, experience, and background. If the jury believes that the plaintiff proved their case on a more likely than not that basis, the plaintiff prevails.
Statute of Limitations for Malpractice
In Washington, the statute of limitations for a personal injury case is three years for most situations (RCW 4.16.080(2)). The statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims is also three years for most situations (RCW 4.16.350). It’s best to pursue the case as soon as possible. There are always exceptions and special circumstances that may apply.
For claims against the Federal Government, The Federal Tort Claims Act requires a notice of claim to be submitted no later than 2 years after the incident, and then a lawsuit must be filed within 6 months of the claim denial. If you decide to pursue a claim you should do so as soon as possible.
The following are common questions that people have about personal injury. If you have other questions, give me a call or text at 425-374-4907. I’d be happy to give you a free consultation.
What Is Malpractice?
Malpractice is when a professional operates below the standard of care of similarly situated professionals causing injury and/or damages.
Is Malpractice Civil or Criminal?
Malpractice is pursued as a civil claim. If the actions of the professional could be considered a crime, the professional could be pursued by a prosecuting attorney as a crime.
Who Do You Report Malpractice To?
Who you report to depends on your desired outcome and who the governing entity is.
If you’ve sustained damages and want to know whether or not you should pursue a malpractice case seeking a monetary recovery, you should contact a lawyer for a free consultation.
Or you can report to the governing entity directly, with regard to licensing.
- Medical complaint – Washington Medical Commission
- A complaint regarding a lawyer – Washington State Bar Association
You can pursue a malpractice claim, file a complaint, or both.
When Can You Sue for Malpractice?
You can sue for malpractice if you’ve sustained injury and damages by a professional acting below the standard of care.
What Is a Malpractice Waiver?
A malpractice waiver is where the professional claims that you’ve waived the right to pursue a malpractice claim. If this is the case, you should contact an attorney to review the situation.
How Do You Know if You Have a Malpractice Lawsuit?
If you believe you have incurred injuries or damages as a result of malpractice, contact an attorney for a free consultation.
What Is the Statute of Limitations on Malpractice?
The statute of limitations varies depending on the case. To find out how the statute of limitations applies to your situation contact an attorney for a free consultation.
Who Can Be Named in a Malpractice Case
All individuals or entities that may have played a role in the malpractice occurrence can be named in the case.
How Does a Malpractice Lawsuit Work?
Malpractice lawsuits progress like other civil cases except that malpractice cases require the expert opinion of a similarly situated professional to testify regarding the breach of the standard of care. The breach must also be linked to the damages sustained.
In general, the following is a good example of how a malpractice case works.
- Obtain a complete copy of your records
- Find and hire an attorney
- Attorney notifies all involved of representation
- Case investigation
- The client follows all medical advice
- Treatment is completed by full recovery or maximum medical improvement
- Settlement negotiations start
- If the case is not settled, a lawsuit is filed.
- Discovery and depositions are done on both sides
- Mediation if applicable
- The case is over or the appeal process begins
How Hard Is It To Win a Malpractice Lawsuit?
It can be very difficult to win a malpractice lawsuit. Though the standard of proof is the same in a malpractice case as it is in a general civil case, jurors tend to trust those that are in positions of trust and in a profession that requires an extended education. This is mostly because they don’t want to believe that someone with that much education could have been negligent. Also, the caliber of defense lawyers retained by professionals in these cases are very good and very experienced.
How Long Does a Malpractice Settlement Take?
There are no set guidelines on how long a malpractice settlement can take. The more contested the case is, the longer it takes. Every case is different, and there are so many variables and moving parts there’s just no way to predict when a case will end.
How Much Can You Get for a Malpractice Suit?
In Washington, there is no limitation on the monetary amount of damages that can be awarded by a jury. To find out what your malpractice claim may be worth, contact an attorney for a free consultation.
How Much Do Malpractice Lawyers Make?
Most malpractice lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, as I do. This means that the fee charged is based on a percentage of the settlement, award, or verdict. The fee is collected at the conclusion of the case. There is no requirement for a retainer or advanced deposit for costs.
Typically malpractice lawyers earn a percentage-based contingency fee on the amount recovered at the conclusion of the case. The percentage amount charged should be in writing at the beginning of the case.
Does a Malpractice Lawyer Get More Than the Client?
It depends on the fee agreement that you sign when you hire the lawyer and the amount of the recovery.
Are Malpractice Settlements Taxable?
Generally, the Internal Revenue Code, § 104(a)(2) excludes from your gross income, the damages (other than punitive damages) received on account of personal injury or sickness. You should talk with your tax advisor regarding the taxability of any settlement.
How To Find a Malpractice Lawyer?
One way to find a malpractice lawyer is from a personal recommendation from someone you know who has had a good experience with a lawyer. Another would be to do internet research. Virtually all malpractice attorneys offer free consultations. Get several consultations and work with the attorney that’s a good fit for you and your case.
Is Malpractice and Negligence the Same Thing?
Malpractice is negligence committed in a professional capacity. Medical malpractice is negligence of a medical provider. Legal malpractice is negligence of a lawyer.
Malpractice cases require the expert opinion of a similarly situated professional to testify regarding the breach of the standard of care. The breach must also be linked to the damages sustained.
Is Medical Malpractice Personal Injury?
Yes, medical malpractice is a personal injury—if the malpractice causes physical or mental injury.
Are Malpractice Cases Public Record?
Malpractice cases filed in court are public record unless filed under seal or made confidential by the court.
What to Expect
When you’re hurt, you probably don’t know what to do. You have competing insurance companies calling you and you’re unclear of their roles and agendas. You may not be fully aware of the benefits you qualify for from your own insurance company — when was the last time you read your policy? — or even who all of the potential at-fault parties are regarding your injury.
The sooner you call the sooner your situation can be evaluated and explained to you — and the sooner I can start working to get you taken care of.
Example of what your experience might be like — from intake to completion
- Free Consultation (typically done in person)
- If hired, an agreement is signed by both parties. No retainer or advanced cost is required
- Notice of representation. I will contact and work with all of the involved Insurance companies.
- Ensure medical treatment is given and the proper insurer is paying for it
- Assist with damaged vehicle if applicable
- Acquire medical records when needed
- Once treatment is done, the value of the case can be assessed based on all information available
- Settlement negotiations occur
- If no settlement is reached a lawsuit is filed
- After a lawsuit is filed, a trial date is set
- Discovery begins. Discovery will include interrogatories which are written questions answered under oath, and depositions where you’ll be asked questions under oath. In some cases, you may be asked to be examined by a medical expert hired by the defendant.
- Many cases settle after the discovery process concludes either informally or through mediation.
- If not settled, then trial prep continues.
- Trial proceeds.
- The verdict is rendered and judgment obtained
Every case is unique and the above is just a general outline of what you may experience. Because both sides are continually weighing the strengths and weaknesses of the case, a case can settle at any time — even during jury deliberations.
Don’t Let Someone Else’s Mistake Ruin Your Life
Regardless of where you’re at in the process, if someone else's mistake or negligence caused you an injury, please submit my free consultation form or give me a call at (425) 374-4907. I can help get things sorted out and make sure you’re getting the medical treatment and benefits you’re entitled to.
I look forward to discussing your case with you,
Derek P. Radtke