For many people, suing their doctor seems like a last resort. Even if they made a serious mistake, you may give them the benefit of the doubt due to their medical expertise. But doctors must face accountability, even if their actions did not cause serious harm.
If you experienced malpractice at the hands of your doctor, you may wonder if it’s worth suing them. These tips will help you understand if your claim meets the threshold.
When it’s worth suing your doctor
The threshold for proving medical malpractice is high and making your case may feel like an uphill battle. Doctors may refuse to settle. Medical witnesses may have difficulty testifying against a member of their profession, and it is usually impossible to get local doctors to do so. Washington’s statute of limitations gives patients only three years to make malpractice claims. Yet if your doctor was negligent or incompetent, you have the right to damages.
Pursuing a claim is worthwhile if your doctor:
- Acted in a manner which injured you
- Harmed you in a manner that exacerbated your injuries or condition
- Failed to follow proper procedures when treating you
- Failed to warn you of certain procedures’ risks
- Gave you an inaccurate diagnosis that prevented needed treatment
When it’s not worth suing your doctor
In some circumstances, filing a lawsuit against your doctor may prove fruitless. You may feel dissatisfied with their practice. But a poor result is not enough to prove liability. If your doctor chose a treatment that failed, it may not be due to their negligence. In these cases, you will have to show that your doctor harmed you by failing to meet accepted medical standards of care. In other words, you must show not only that she is wrong, but that she was negligent.
You should also remember that medical malpractice cases are risky and expensive to pursue. Unless you have a serious and often permanent injury, it may not be worth it financially to bring suit.
Consulting early with an experienced attorney is the best way to work through these considerations and decide whether to pursue a claim.