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Washington medical malpractice laws protect citizens

Suffering an injury or illness due to medical malpractice is terrible. The state of Washington takes the well-being of its citizens very seriously. As a matter of fact, Washington Statutes address this extensively. RCW 7.70 governs any action for damages based on an injury resulting from health care.

There can be no award given or any arbitration allowed if the injury due to medical negligence occurred after June 25, 1976 unless the injury came about because a health care worker failed to provide the accepted and standard level of care. Also, if the health care provider made a statement that the injury that occurred would not happen in any case or that the injury occurred due to an action that the patient or his representative did not give approval for -- these can be reasons for a medical malpractice lawsuit.

The burden of proof lies with the one who was injured, so it may be a good idea to seek the advice of an attorney early in the process. That way, guidance can be given in a timely manner.

Medical malpractice can mean many things. Having improper care, being neglected, not getting the prescribed drugs or getting the wrong drugs are all considered worthy of a medical malpractice suit. Even having a foreign object left inside your body after an operation can be considered as a reason to file suit.

The filing date is three years after the operation or neglect occurred. Even if you don't feel bad until a year or more later, the date is set as the time of the omission or commission of a neglectful act by a medical professional. The only way to lengthen the time to file is by asking for mediation. If you do this, the time frame is elongated by another year.

If you feel that you have been harmed by a medical professional, you may want to contact a legal professional who knows the laws of the state of Washington and can help you get the compensation you deserve.

Source: Washington Health Law Manual, "Chapter 8: medical malpractice liability" Dec. 10, 2014

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