When a physician or other health care professional breaches trust and sexually assaults or harasses a patient; they have crossed a legal and ethical line. In addition to criminal charges and professional disciplinary actions, the physician or the hospital or clinic they work for may find themselves on the receiving end of a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Medical malpractice claims related to sexual misconduct by physicians are serious and complex legal matters. If you are or a loved one is the victim of sexual misconduct by a physician, it is essential to consult with an experienced local attorney who specializes in medical malpractice or personal injury law. They can guide you through the legal process, protect your rights, and help you seek justice and compensation for your damages.
Sexual misconduct by physicians is by definition, any inappropriate or non-consensual* sexual activity or behavior between a physician and a patient. It can include sexual assault, harassment, abuse, exploitation, or any other form of inappropriate conduct. In Washington State, sexual misconduct by a health care provider is covered under WAC 246-16-100.
Physicians have a duty to provide competent and ethical medical care to their patients. Engaging in sexual misconduct violates this duty and is considered a breach of the physician’s professional obligations. In a recent case in New York, a doctor performed an unnecessary and intrusive rectal exam and then later drugged and sexually assaulted the patient during her hospital stay.
*Sexual relationships between physicians and patients are generally considered unethical and inappropriate due to the inherent power imbalance and the potential for exploitation. In most jurisdictions, consent by the patient is not a valid defense against allegations of sexual misconduct by a physician.
Victims of sexual misconduct by physicians can pursue civil lawsuits seeking compensation for damages such as physical and emotional harm, medical expenses, therapy costs, loss of income, and other related losses.
In all medical malpractice claims, the plaintiff has to overcome the burden of proof. To succeed in a medical malpractice claim for sexual misconduct, the victim generally needs to establish the following elements:
Medical malpractice lawyers are skilled at helping their clients overcome the burden of proof by gathering evidence and conducting interviews. Plaintiffs need a good personal injury lawyer by their side to help them through each step of the process and to ensure the best possible outcome for their claim.
Reporting and support for victims
Victims of sexual misconduct by physicians should report the incident to the appropriate authorities, such as the medical board, law enforcement, or hospital administration. Victims may wish to start by reporting sexual assault to the Seattle Police Department or their own local police department.
It’s important to preserve any evidence, such as medical records, text messages, or witness testimonies, that can support the claim. In addition, it is crucial for victims of sexual misconduct by physicians to seek emotional support from trusted friends, family, or professional counselors. There are also support groups, advocacy organizations, and legal resources available specifically for victims of medical sexual misconduct.
Remember, laws and regulations regarding medical malpractice claims, including those related to sexual misconduct, can vary by state. Therefore, it’s important to consult with a local medical malpractice attorney who can provide you with specific and up-to-date information based on the laws in your area.
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.