If I suffered a complication from a simple procedure and my doctor did not inform me of the risks associated with this procedure, can I sue for the cost of treatment?

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If I suffered a complication from a simple procedure and my doctor did not inform me of the risks associated with this procedure, can I sue for the cost of treatment?

Also, how do I know whether a complication is common or rare for the purposes of a medical malpractice suit?

Asked on July 15, 2013 under Malpractice Law, Washington

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Medical malpractice is negligence.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable medical practitoner in the community would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).

It would be advisable to be examined by a second doctor, who can also review your medical records.  That doctor can answer your medical question about whether or not the complication is common or rare.  The issue in your potential medical malpractice is whether the first doctor exercised due care as stated above.  The fact that you were not informed of the risks of the procedure and therefore were not able to give informed consent is a medical malpractice issue regardless of whether the complication was common or rare.

If the second doctor writes a report supporting your malpractice claim, proceed with your case.  Your medical malpractice claim should be filed with the first doctor's malpractice insurance carrier.  Obtain your medical bills, medical reports (especially the report from the second doctor), and documentation of any wage loss.  Your medical malpractice claim filed with the first doctor's malpractice insurance carrier should include these items.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your condition and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering, which is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.  If the case is settled with the malpractice insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.  If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the the malpractice insurance carrier, reject the settlement offers and file your lawsuit for negligence against the first doctor.  If the case is NOT settled with the malpractice insurance carrier, you must file your lawsuit for negligence against the first doctor prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.


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