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Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations in Washington State

Medical malpractice is defined as treatment or care that falls below the accepted standard as a result of negligence through act or omission on the part of a healthcare provider. Many times, medical malpractice involves a mistake or error on the part of the healthcare professional and results in injury and/or death to the patient. Patients who fall victim to malpractice are eligible to be financially compensated for the cost(s) of their injuries including medical bills and future medical treatment.

A few things you should know about medical malpractice:

  • A medical malpractice action must be brought within three years of the act or omission alleged to have caused the injury or one year after the discovery of the alleged negligent act or omission, whichever period expires later.
  • In no event may a medical malpractice action be brought later than eight years after the date of the alleged act or omission.
  • The limitations period is tolled upon proof of fraud, intentional concealment, or the presence of a foreign object in the claimant.

NOTE:  Depending on the facts involved in the case there may be exceptions to the Statute of Limitations (SOL)

Examples of Medical Malpractice

There are a number of different scenarios that could potentially be defined as medical malpractice. Examples of medical malpractice include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Foreign medical objects (tools, sponges, rags, instruments, etc.) that are left behind in a patient's body following surgery or other medical procedures. These are also referred to as "Surgical Souvenirs."
  • Medication errors, including clinicians who administer the wrong medication or an unsafe dosage of medication that later results in injury or death.
  • Wrong-site surgery or other medical mistakes related to surgical procedures.
  • People with a DePuy Hip Replacement or other officially recalled medical product.

You should immediately consult with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer to make sure you know when the statute expires in your medical malpractice case. DO NOT WAIT TO CONSULT WITH OR HIRE AN ATTORNEY. Even though your statute of limitations (SOL) may not expire for a long time, you may still want to promptly hire an attorney to protect or maximize the value of your claim and increase the odds of a favorable outcome.

In many cases, an attorney who is hired early in the claims process can help you avoid mistakes that may harm your case and perform work to greatly enhance the value of your claim.