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Washington Supreme Court throws out medical malpractice law

Posted Thursday, September 17, 2009 by Christopher L. Thayer

alt textThe Washington Supreme Court issued a decision invalidating the requirements of RCW 7.70.150, declaring it unconstitutional. Under RCW 7.70.150, a patient who believed that they might be the victim of medical malpractice as a result of the breach of the standard of care, was required to obtain “Certificate of Merit” from a qualified expert prior to filing suit. Prior to filing a lawsuit it normally impossible to obtain information that is not included in the patient’s medical records, which might help prove a malpractice case. For example, hospital policy and procedure manuals can’t normally be obtained without filing suit. As a result, it is not uncommon to have situations where you suspect that there was medical malpractice but, absent the tools provided by an actual lawsuit to force the production of certain information, patients were kept out of the court room. After this decision, it will be easier for patient who have been the victim of medical malpractice in Washington State to investigate and pursue their claims.

The Seattle Times’ story about this decision can be found here.

And a link to the actual opinion can be found here:

For more information, please contact Christopher Thayer at 206-805-1494.

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