If you believe that you or a loved one was harmed because of medical negligence, you might be wondering if you can sue the doctor or other medical provider who caused the injury. You will benefit from a consultation with a local medical malpractice attorney who can discuss your legal rights and can handle all the details of your case. One thing to know is that compared to many other states, the medical malpractice laws in Washington state are relatively friendly to injured victims (plaintiffs).
As medical malpractice lawyers, one of the most common questions we get is about the value of their claim. In general, we are careful about using average settlement amounts for a baseline about what an individual medical malpractice claim may be worth because there are so many variables that affect a claim’s value but it can also be useful to look at some average data from our state.
The Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC) of Washington State reports in their 2021 Medical Malpractice Annual Report that malpractice insurers paid claimants a total of $151 million in compensation for 120 settlements, averaging $1.3 million per settlement for medical malpractice claims settled between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2020.
The five-year average is in line with 2020 numbers: the average payment or settlement amount for a claim in 2020 was $1,296,667 with a median payment of $650,000.
Jury awards and malpractice settlements vary greatly depending on many factors, including the type, severity, and permanency of the victim’s injuries as well as their life expectancy, wage history, relationships, and lifestyle before and after their injuries. With these things in mind, let’s take a look at the average payout to claimants by injury type based on the OIC report from the period January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2020:
Emotional injury only: $98,372
“Insignificant” injury: $12,458
Minor temporary injury: $52,164
Major temporary injury: $201,293
Minor permanent injury: $260,865
Significant permanent injury: $619,010
Major permanent injury: $1,217,126
Grave permanent injury: $2,428,366
Altogether, the average settlement/award was $437,040 during this five-year period.
Keep in mind that when negotiating your case, your medical malpractice lawyer will not rely too heavily on average settlements for medical malpractice lawsuits in Washington State because each case is unique.
Medical malpractice claims are complex and require the knowledge and expertise of a local personal injury lawyer. The reason it is important to choose a lawyer in your state is because malpractice laws vary by state and you will want a lawyer who is familiar with these laws, the local court system, and has access to a network of local medical experts and other expert witnesses who can help support your claim.
Another reason that it is very important to hire a medical malpractice lawyer is because they understand how to fight back against ruthless defense attorneys who will try to dismantle your case piece by piece. Medical malpractice attorneys are familiar with every trick in the book and will come prepared to the negotiating table (or court room, if necessary) with a strategy to overcome their objections.
The third reason that it is so important to hire a lawyer is because of the sheer difference in your potential settlement if the case needs to head to court. From 2016 through 2020, the average amount paid to claimants who did not file lawsuits was $149,221, and the average for claimants who litigated was $734,351. Whether you end up litigating or settling your case out of court, a lawyer can significantly increase your chances of receiving a full and fair settlement for your losses.
The Seattle Personal Injury Lawyers You Want on Your Side
The personal injury attorneys at Tinker Law Firm have been winning birth injury, medical malpractice, and personal injury cases for individuals and their loved ones in Seattle and across Washington State since 1974. We seek justice for injury victims who have been harmed by preventable medical errors, and the negligent or abusive actions of another. Our clients pay no fees or expenses to file a personal injury claim; our firm advances out-of-pocket expenses and is only reimbursed when we recover a settlement on your behalf. Do not delay; personal injury claims in Washington State have a statute of limitations, which means they must be filed within a certain time from the date of the injury.
Call us now at 206-842-1000 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled and experienced injury attorneys.