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Motorcycle Accident

Find out what your case is worth.

Your insurance company may not be telling you everything. Know what you’re entitled to with a free consultation. Rest assured that we will never charge any fees unless we win.

Motorcycle Accident Lawyers in Seattle Washington According to information from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, although motorcycles only make up about 3 percent of the road users in the state, they account for about 15 percent of all traffic fatalities and about 19 percent of serious injuries in motor vehicle collisions.

If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident in Seattle, you may be eligible for compensation. An experienced Seattle Motorcycle accident attorney from Boohoff Law P.A. can help you to understand your legal options.

Contact us today – call (877) 999-9999 or email us. We’re available 24/7!

Why Are Motorcycle Accidents so Dangerous?

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the federal government estimated in 2016 that motorcycle riders are about 28 times more likely to die in an accident than the occupants of passenger cars.

About one in every five motorcycle crashes in Washington State results in a serious injury, and about 75 motorcyclists die each year on Washington roads. There are several reasons why motorcycle accidents are so dangerous, including:

  • Less protection than a car: Motorcycles lack the occupant protection characteristics of a car, such as door beams, a roof, seat belts, and airbags.
  • Less stability: Motorcycles, with just two wheels, are less stable than cars, meaning that there is an increased risk of accidents caused by road hazards such as potholes, uneven lanes, or slick conditions.
  • Less visibility: The drivers of passenger cars or commercial vehicles have a hard time seeing motorcycles, particularly at night, leading to accidents caused by cars turning into the motorcycle or into its path.
  • Lane splitting: This dangerous practice involves a motorcycle riding between and within the same lane as cars that are slowed or stopped due to traffic. In spite of bills introduced by state lawmakers in recent years that are in favor of allowing the practice, lane splitting is illegal in Washington as well as most of the country.
  • Lack of training or licensing: As reported by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, about 75 percent of the state’s fatal motorcycle crash victims had no record of a training program completion. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 27 percent of motorcyclists killed in crashes in 2015 were riding without valid motorcycle licenses.

In Washington, you need a motorcycle endorsement to ride a two-wheeled motorcycle. This can be accomplished by completing a motorcycle training course at an approved motorcycle training school or by passing the knowledge and riding skills tests at a motorcycle training school.

Riders in Washington can also get an instruction permit and pass a knowledge test in order to obtain the motorcycle endorsement on their license.

What Are the Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?

Just as there are a number of causes for car accidents, there are also a number of causes for motorcycle accidents.

Here is a look at a few of those causes.

  • Head-on collisions: These types of collisions generally happen when a car crosses the center line and strikes the front of the motorcycle. The reason this type of accident occurs is typically drunk or drowsy driving or a driving distraction that causes the driver to look away from the roadway. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 2015 statistics reveal that 74 percent of the motorcycles involved in two-vehicle motorcycle crashes were frontal collisions.
  • Cars making left-hand turns: In 2016, about 43 percent of two-vehicle motorcycle crashes occurred when a vehicle was turning left while a motorcycle was either going straight, passing or overtaking the vehicle.
  • Collisions with fixed objects: According to a study of over 3,600 motorcycle crashes with fixed objects between 2004-2008, researchers found that accidents caused in this manner carried a higher risk of fatality than crashes involving another motor vehicle or a collision between the rider and the ground. Motorcycle collisions with a guardrail, for example, were 7 times more likely to be fatal than a collision with the ground. Collisions with a tree were 15 times more likely to be fatal than a collision with the ground.
  • Speeding and alcohol use: More than half of all motorcycle fatalities in Washington are caused by speeding, alcohol or drug impairment, or both, the state’s Traffic Safety Commission reports. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2015, motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes had the highest percentage of impaired drivers of any vehicle type, at 27 percent compared to 21 percent for the drivers of passenger cars involved in fatal accidents, 20 percent for light trucks, and 2 percent for large trucks. Motorcycle riders are three times more likely to die in an alcohol-related crash during the nighttime than they are during the day.
  • High performance motorcycles: Supersport motorcycles are built for the racetrack but modified for highway use. The combination between their light weight and the capability to increase speed very quickly causes them to be particularly prone to accidents. The Washington Traffic Safety Commission notes that about 86 percent of motorcycle fatalities on sport bikes are rider-caused.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that speeding was a factor in 55 percent of all supersport motorcycle crashes in 2016. The riders of sport models tend to be younger than those who ride standard, touring, or cruiser-style motorcycles.

Careless Actions Have Serious Consequences

Any single one of these actions, or a combination of several, can have serious consequences for motorcyclists. Cars have safety advantages over motorcycles, with such features as seatbelts, airbags, and a roof.

Part of what makes motorcycles so enticing is the openness and freedom that riding a bike provides riders. Protective gear can only do so much when a motorcycle is hit by a heavy vehicle, whether passenger or commercial. Riders are usually ejected from their bikes, and the consequences depend upon the force of the impact.

Drivers of private cars and commercial vehicles may walk away from an accident unscathed; sadly, the same cannot be said for motorcyclists, who likely flew off their bikes and collided with the ground or asphalt. When people choose to drink and drive or text a friend from behind the wheel, their actions are reckless and negligent.

No one should suffer physically, financially, or emotionally due to the selfish and irresponsible decisions of another driver. In our hurried, high-tech world, drivers no longer prioritize safe driving and sharing the roads with other vehicle types and pedestrians.

Despite attempts by governmental officials to encourage safe driving, drivers continue to speed, text, and drink and drive. This type of risky behavior either qualifies as negligence on its own or leads to negligent behavior. Serious motorcycle accidents alter the lives of all individuals involved, but mostly the rider who suffers serious injury in the accident.

If you’ve experienced serious injuries in a collision with a passenger or commercial vehicle, contact Boohoff Law, P.A. today. Depending upon the circumstances of your case, you may recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Our legal team will fight for you every step of the way.

What Injuries Do Motorcycle Accidents Cause?

When motorcycles are involved in an accident, the injuries to the rider can be quite severe.

Some of the more common types of injuries seen in motorcycle crashes include:

  • Head injuries: Serious head injuries are one of the most common causes of death among motorcyclists involved in traffic accidents. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported that in 2017, 39 percent of the motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes were not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. Helmet use was much lower with passengers, with 61 percent of motorcycle passenger fatalities not being helmeted when the crash occurred. As noted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, helmets are estimated to be 37 percent effective in preventing fatal injuries to motorcycle riders and 41 percent for motorcycle passengers. In other words, for every 100 motorcycle riders killed in crashes while not wearing helmets, 37 of them could have been saved had all 100 worn helmets.
  • Spinal cord injuries: The lack of a protective shell around the motorcycle rider and the high likelihood of ejection from the vehicle during an accident leaves the rider susceptible to spinal cord injuries. Spinal cord injuries are often quite serious, leading to partial or complete paralysis below the site of the injury and, in many cases, can even lead to death. Science Daily reports that those suffering from a spinal cord injury will likely have lifelong issues related to their injury, including a higher risk of cardiovascular disease; pneumonia; life-threatening blood clots; bladder, bowel, and sexual dysfunction; gastrointestinal issues; pressure ulcers; and chronic pain.
  • Road rash: Many people think that road rash is simply scraped skin. However, road rash can be very serious. Healthline describes the condition as the ripping or scraping away of the outer layers of skin. In a motorcycle accident, this occurs when the body makes contact with the roadway or other object. If several layers of skin are involved, skin graft surgery may be required. Serious road rash can feature visible muscles and bones, large foreign objects such as rocks or glass embedded in the skin, excessive bleeding, or a wound that covers most of a limb or the body itself. Infection is common and should be guarded against with careful cleaning and care of the wound.
  • Leg and foot injuries: According to an article from Ride Apart, a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that 30 percent of all non-fatal motorcycle accident injuries were to the lower extremities. Further information referenced in the article, provided by the World Health Organization, revealed that the most common lower extremity injury to motorcyclists was a fracture to the tibia one of the two long bones in the lower part of the leg. The other lower leg long bone, the fibula, is also a frequent site of injury in motorcycle accidents. Less common are fractures to the femur, which is the upper bone of the leg. Other common sources of lower extremity injury to motorcyclists include the ankles and the feet.
  • Other fractures: Other common injuries to motorcyclists include fractures to the hands, wrists, arms, ribs, hips, and pelvis.
  • Internal injuries: Internal injuries can be caused by objects coming in contact with the torso. The object may penetrate the body or the force in which it hits the body can create a closed injury. One danger of an internal injury is bleeding into the body organs.
  • Dental or facial injuries: While a helmet can prevent serious head injuries, the rider’s face is typically not protected by the helmet. Because of this, as well as the large portion of riders and passengers who do not wear a helmet, it is not uncommon to see severe injuries to the rider’s face or teeth in an accident.

When Your Motorcycle Ride Turns Tragic

Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that, per miles traveled, motorcyclists are 28 times more likely to die in a crash than people in passenger cars.

Additional data reports that more than 88,000 people sustained serious injuries in motorcycle accidents during 2015, and more than 5,000 people died in 2016. According to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, motorcycles account for just 3 percent of road users.

However, between 2013 and 2017, motorcyclists represented 15 percent of all fatalities and 19 percent of all serious injuries in vehicle collisions. The commission also reports that about one in five motorcycle collisions results in serious injury or death. The scenic beauty of Washington makes it a perfect place to enjoy your motorcycle. No matter how defensively you drive, negligent drivers surround you.

Some choose to drink and drive, to text while driving, or simply fail to share the road. When your ride turns tragic, seek medical attention right away. You should also provide a statement to police, and if possible, gather contact information from any eyewitnesses.

If you are unable to do so due to your injuries, ask someone to assist you with these important tasks. When the careless actions of another driver result in serious harm to you, accountability is a must. A Washington driver’s license is a privilege, not a right.

Pursuing justice and fair compensation on behalf of motorcycle accident victims is something we at Boohoff Law, P.A. take very seriously.

Filing a Lawsuit After a Motorcycle Accident

Washington is a traditional “fault” state when it comes to vehicle insurance and accidents. What this means is that drivers assume financial responsibility for the property damage and bodily injuries they cause when driving their vehicle.

Upon registration of a motor vehicle in Washington, individuals must show proof of liability insurance with a policy limit of:

  • At least $25,000 for injuries or death of one person in the accident
  • At least $50,000 for total injuries or death in one accident
  • At least $10,000 for property damage per accident

While this insurance is required for cars, motorcycles do not require insurance to be ridden in Washington. However, it is strongly recommended that motorcyclists purchase insurance to protect themselves and their finances in the event of an accident.

Those who have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in Washington have three options when seeking compensation for their injuries:

  1. File a claim with your own insurance, if you have a policy that covers personal injury and damage to your vehicle.
  2. File a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance. Be aware that insurance carriers are often reluctant to offer a fair settlement. An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can help you to determine the value of your claim and negotiate a settlement that recognizes both your current expenses as well as those you will face in the future due to your injuries. Once you’ve signed a settlement agreement with the insurance company, you’re likely not going to be able to go back and ask for more money in the future, so it’s important to have a clear idea of the compensation you’ll need before agreeing to a specific amount.
  3. File a personal injury lawsuit in order to recover damages from the at-fault party.

Here are some more highlights regarding personal injury lawsuits:

  • The statute of limitation on personal injury lawsuits is three years from the date of the injury.
  • Washington is a “pure comparative negligence state.” What this means is that if you were partially to blame for the accident, you can still seek to recover damages from the other party. However, your award will be reduced to reflect your percentage of responsibility. For example, if you were found to be 10 percent responsible for causing the accident, your damage award will be reduced by 10 percent.
  • Washington motorcycle accident victims may be able to recover both economic and non-economic damages through a personal injury lawsuit, including current and future medical bills, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, out-of-pocket expenses, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium.

Motorcycle Accident FAQs

What is the first step I should take after being injured in a Seattle motorcycle accident?

If you were injured in a motorcycle accident that someone else’s negligence caused, you have plenty to deal with and may not know how best to proceed. The first order of business, however, isn’t complicated at all.

After you’ve obtained the medical attention you need, seek the professional legal counsel of an experienced Seattle motorcycle accident attorney.

Obtaining the compensation to which you are entitled is critical to your ability to reach your most complete recovery, and the dedicated motorcycle accident attorneys at Boohoff Law in Seattle are committed to helping you do just that.

What damages can I seek?

If another motorist’s negligence causes you serious injuries in a motorcycle accident, your damages can be overwhelming. Even a relatively minor motorcycle accident, however, can amount to considerable damages.

After all, when you’re on your bike, absolutely nothing comes between you and the immense impact of an accident. Your damages may include:

  • Medical expenses – Your medical expenses are likely to be extensive and can include emergency care at the scene of your accident and emergency transportation from the scene, surgery and aftercare, medical treatment from doctors and specialists, prescription medications, adaptive physical devices, physical therapy, and much more. It’s important to also consider, however, the ongoing ramifications of your injuries. If yours are quite serious, they can lead to ongoing healthcare needs and even to secondary health complications. It’s important not to sign off on an insurance settlement offer before you’re well aware of the full extent of your injuries.
  • Lost income – If you were injured in a motorcycle accident, it’s very likely that it’s going to affect your ability to work and that you’ll lose wages as a result. Further, depending upon your injuries and the kind of work you do, you could face a diminished earning potential into your future and even an altered career trajectory.
  • Pain and suffering – Injuries from a motorcycle accident are obviously extremely painful physically, but it is also likely to be emotionally painful. Someone else’s negligence, after all, caused you to be injured and suffer serious consequences. Further, the violence of such an accident can be terrifying and can leave you emotionally scarred. The emotional pain and suffering associated with your motorcycle accident is real and should never be discounted.

All told, the financial, physical, and emotional damages associated with a serious motorcycle accident can be immense.

What kind of driver negligence was involved?

Driver negligence can come in many forms, and any one of them can lead to a serious motorcycle accident. When you’re on your bike, you strike a much lower profile on the road than do motorists in passenger cars, and this leaves you far more vulnerable to serious injuries.

Further, your motorcycle doesn’t have the protective shell that cars do to help buffer you from any impact that ensues. None of this, however, mitigates a motorist’s responsibility to drive safely, to adhere to the rules of the road, and to safely accommodate for motorcyclists like you who share the road.

Driver negligence can include:

  • DistractionDistracted driving is becoming a scourge on our roadways. The meteoric rise of smartphone usage has been of particular concern. Many motorists can’t seem to or simply won’t put their phones away when they’re behind the wheel, and these drivers make our highways more dangerous for everyone who travels on them. When a driver is connecting with his or her phone, his or her thoughts, vision, and hands are all engaged in that effort, and this leaves the driver extremely distracted. Distracted drivers pose a real threat to motorcyclists.
  • Impairment – No one should operate a motorcycle or get behind the wheel when under the influence of alcohol, but some motorists continue to make this dangerous choice. Impaired drivers are dangerous drivers that should not be on the road in the first place.
  • Exhaustion – The negative effects of having too little sleep can be significant. You know how difficult it is to successfully accomplish a task when you’re feeling drowsy, and this effect also applies to driving. Drowsy drivers shouldn’t take to the road until they’ve obtained the rest they require. This is the very reason that professional drivers, such as truck drivers and bus drivers, are held to very tight hours-of-service restrictions.
  • Aggression – You know an aggressive driver when you see one that driver who is swerving in and out of traffic, speeding excessively, and tailgating all at the same time. In fact, aggressive driving is usually categorized as driving that incorporates a variety of dangerous practices in one excursion. Excessive speed, however, is the hallmark of aggressive driving. And unfortunately, excessive speed closely correlates with fatal traffic accidents.

Again, negligent drivers come in all different forms, but they’re all dangerous.

How dangerous are Seattle motorcycle accidents?

Motorcycle accidents are often dangerous. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shares that, although there was nearly a five percent decrease in motorcycle accident fatalities in recent years, the number for that year reached almost 5,000, and motorcyclists remain overrepresented in deadly traffic accidents.

What injuries are most closely associated with Seattle motorcycle accidents?

While a motorcycle accident can lead to nearly any kind of injury, the most closely associated with these serious injuries include:

  • Broken bones – Because there’s nothing to protect you from both the impact with the other vehicle and the subsequent impact with the ground in a motorcycle accident, broken bones are common. A broken bone is a painful injury that requires medical treatment right away. When a broken bone doesn’t heal cleanly, it can lead to chronic pain and a lifetime of complications.
  • Spinal cord injuries – An injury to your spinal cord can leave you with chronic back, shoulder, and/or neck pain and a seriously diminished range of motion. These injuries can occur anywhere on the spinal cord, and when they damage the cord’s full width, such an injury can leave you permanently paralyzed. Paralysis refers to the loss of control over one’s bodily motions (in the area of the body affected), which can alter the course of your life in the instant of impact. Further, paralysis often leads to secondary health concerns that can include decreased respiratory functioning.
  • Traumatic brain injuriesTraumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are typically caused by trauma to the head such as the kind often experienced in motorcycle accidents. Traumatic brain injuries can affect your cognitive functioning, emotions, your ability to stabilize your mood, your impulse control, and much more. In fact, TBIs are as serious as they are unpredictable, and each victim will experience a unique set of symptoms and effects. These effects can often keep you from working for some time, require rehabilitative therapy, and cause other challenges in your life.
  • Burns, cuts, and abrasions – The heat generated by the impact of a motorcycle accident can leave you with serious burn injuries. Additionally, motorcycle accidents tend to drag their victims across the roadway, which results in a condition that’s known as road rash. The cuts and abrasions that ensue are often slow to heal and prone to serious infections. Further, when any of these injuries burns, cuts, and/or abrasions occur on or near the face, they can be permanently disfiguring.

Whatever kind of injuries you’ve endured, seek the medical attention you need and then consult with one of the experienced motorcycle accident attorneys at Boohoff Law in Seattle.

What about the insurance company?

If someone else’s negligence leaves you injured in a motorcycle accident, you’re going to be dealing with an insurance company. It’s only natural to assume that said insurance company will proceed to do its job and cover the losses you’ve endured in their totality as a matter of course.

This assumption, however, is not likely to serve you well. Massive insurance companies are in the business of turning massive profits, and the way they can manage this is by minimizing their payouts and by even denying claims outright.

Keeping all of the following points in mind is in the best interest of both you and your motorcycle accident case:

  • You are not required to provide the insurance rep with a statement about your accident and you should not do so. Instead, call us. If we take your case, we will handle all communications with the insurance company.
  • The insurance representative who contacts you is well versed in eliciting statements from injured parties that inadvertently diminish the veracity of their claims (whether there is any truth to the matter or not). Refer the insurance rep to your experienced Seattle motorcycle accident attorney, who will negotiate on behalf of your rights and best interests while providing the insurance company with the information required.
  • If you receive an early settlement offer, it’s very likely intended to get rid of your claim before you recognize the full extent of your damages and the ramifications of your motorcycle accident. Your compensation is simply far too important to leave to chance or the insurance company’s discretion don’t accept a settlement offer until your motorcycle accident attorney has greenlighted it for you.
  • If the insurance company is delaying the claims process, which is a not-uncommon practice, it’s likely an attempt to get you to settle for a lowball amount as a result of your building desperation. You need to be properly compensated for your losses to move forward with your life, and by keeping that compensation outside of your reach, the insurance company knows that it has considerable leverage. Don’t be fooled instead, discuss legal options that can help you stay the course with your skilled motorcycle accident attorney.
  • Although the vast majority of motorcycle accident claims are settled out of court, it is sometimes necessary to move forward with filing a lawsuit and even proceeding to court to help ensure that you receive the compensation to which you are entitled and that you need to regain your health and move forward post-accident.

In other words, the insurance company is not on your side at least not fully but your experienced Seattle motorcycle accident attorney is. Working closely with him or her is always in the best interest of you and your case.

Do I really need an attorney for my Seattle motorcycle accident case?

Yes. Perhaps the insurance representative you’re working with strikes you as very reasonable, and you’re wondering if you really need to go to the trouble of also working with a Seattle motorcycle accident lawyer.

That’s a reasonable question after all, you have a long recovery in front of you, and taking on one more step undoubtedly seems daunting.

It’s important to recognize, however, that there is a wide range of important reasons why working with an experienced Seattle motorcycle accident attorney is not only a sound financial move but can also take some of the load off you at this difficult time.


  • Bringing a successful motorcycle claim that adequately reflects your damages requires a significant amount of paperwork and legwork, including gathering evidence at the scene of the accident, taking eyewitness statements, providing the insurance company with the prompt verifications it requires, and much more. Your motorcycle accident attorney will skillfully tend to this important component of your claim.
  • The dedicated motorcycle accident lawyers at Boohoff Law in Seattle are committed to effecting your claim’s most favorable resolution, and we won’t charge you anything until we win your case, and you are compensated accordingly. In other words, our payment is contingent upon your case’s success, so you don’t need to worry about legal expenses as your case progresses.

All told, yes, you and your case are much better off when you have an experienced Seattle motorcycle accident attorney on your side.

Were You Injured in a Motorcycle Crash? Let Us Help

Boohoff Law P.A.
Tatiana Boohoff, Seattle, WA Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

If you were injured in a motorcycle accident in Washington, you are likely facing a long recovery from injuries.

Pursuing a fair settlement or an award from a lawsuit can be a complicated legal process.

An experienced motorcycle accident attorney understands this process and all of the necessary parts of it, including the valuation of your case, negotiation with insurance companies, court filing deadlines, and aggressive courtroom representation.

You don’t have to fight this battle alone. Let us help. For a free consultation and case evaluation, contact Boohoff Law online or by calling (877) 999-9999.

Client Testimonial

“Never needed an attorney till I got rearended. Boohoff Law was able to negotiate my medical bills and settle a claim without contact with insurance companies. I felt they truly cared about my well-being and I will definitely refer them to everyone I know that needs their services.” – Audrey

Review: 5/5 ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

For most of us here in Seattle, one of the only times we ever truly place our lives in the hands of another person is when we seek medical care.

It’s difficult to overstate how deeply we trust in doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals…and how devastating it can be when that trust is broken. Healthcare providers make mistakes. They’re only human. If we’re lucky, a doctor’s mistake won’t do us harm.

But, unfortunately, sometimes the treatment we receive in a healthcare setting hurts us more than it helps. When Washington medical professionals fail to deliver the standard of care they owe to each and every one of their patients and a patient ends up injured, the law gives the patient the legal right to pursue a civil action for medical malpractice.

The skilled Seattle medical malpractice attorneys at Boohoff Law have the resources and experience to investigate and litigate even the most complex Seattle medical malpractice claims.

If you or a loved one suffered an injury because of a medical professional’s mistake, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. Contact us today to learn more.

Contact us today – call (877) 999-9999 or email us. We’re available 24/7!

About Boohoff Law

Attorney Tatiana Boohoff and her team of accomplished attorneys have years of combined experience representing victims of all manner of personal injuries, including medical malpractice.

She gained a sterling reputation among her colleagues and clients alike as a lawyer committed to serving the needs of her clients with a personal touch. She prides herself and her team on being accessible, compassionate, and willing to go the extra mile to ensure every client stays updated and in touch with the lawyer in charge of their case.

Tatiana earned her law degree from Boston University School of Law, which is consistently ranked among the top-25 law schools in the United States by U.S. News and World Report. In her 12-plus years of legal practice since graduating, she and her team have distinguished themselves as skilled, aggressive trial lawyers and passionate advocates for the rights clients struggling to recover from injuries that happened through no fault of their own.

About Medical Malpractice Generally

Typically, when we talk about medical malpractice under Washington law, we mean any circumstance in which a medical services provider which could be a doctor, a nurse practitioner, a surgical tech, a pharmacist, a physical therapist, or any other person or entity providing services in a medical or para-medical setting– fails to deliver the accepted standard of care to a patient, and the patient suffers harm as a result.

Less frequently, medical malpractice takes the form of a medical provider causing an injury that the provider had promised the patient would not occur, or in a medical provider delivering health care to which the patient and/or patient’s representative didn’t consent.

The Standard of Care Explained

What is the standard of care?

Washington statutes explain it as: “[T]hat degree of care, skill, and learning expected of a reasonably prudent health care provider at that time in the profession or class to which he or she belongs, in the state of Washington, acting in the same or similar circumstances.”

In a medical malpractice lawsuit, the patient who suffered an injury caused by a provider’s failure to provide the standard of care must present evidence to establish what the standard of care was in the patient’s case, the ways in which the provider didn’t meet it, and how the patient’s injury was the result.

Types of Medical Malpractice

As the laws linked above suggest, medical malpractice can happen in a variety of settings and situations. It would be impossible to list all of those here.

But, it is possible to group some of the most common medical malpractice types into two broad categories to help show how they can occur.

Mistakes in Collecting or Communicating Medical Information

Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Seattle Washington One way in which medical providers regularly fail to provide a standard of care is by making mistakes in obtaining and transmitting information that is critical to the patient’s care.

This can happen, for example, when providers:

  • Fail to obtain a health history from a patient;
  • Make mistakes entering health information into computer systems; or
  • Forget to tell another provider about health information that the other provider needs.

It’s not hard to imagine how these mistakes can result in a patient getting hurt. When providers make mistakes getting and passing along information, they put patients at risk of not getting the care they need.

Health care providers who lack the necessary information to provide the standard of care can give incorrect medical diagnoses, prescribe the wrong medication, and even perform the wrong type of surgery on a patient.

Mistakes in Deciding On or Giving Health Care

Even when medical service providers have the information they need to provide the standard of care, sometimes they still fail to do so. There are many reasons this can happen.

Sometimes, doctors and other health care professionals have poor judgment. Sometimes they’re tired or overworked or feel rushed. Sometimes they’re just having a bad day.

Whatever the reasons, lapses in judgment, concentration, or skill can lead to devastating results for the patients on the receiving end of this sort of inadequate care.

For example, mistakes like these can cause a provider to:

  • Forget or decide against a critical step in a surgery;
  • Fail to order tests necessary for proper diagnosis;
  • Decide not to follow-up with a patient; or
  • Misread a test result.

These are just a few examples. As we said above, medical providers are human. They make mistakes. The vast majority of the time, they don’t intend to hurt anyone.

But, just because they are good people who provide an important service doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be held to account when they make mistakes that result in life-altering injury and illness to their patient.

Pursuing a Medical Malpractice Claim in Washington

Like many other states, in recent years Washington has implemented laws and rules that add complication to pursuing a medical malpractice claim. The supposed goal of these measures was to reduce the cost of medical malpractice insurance and to shield medical providers from baseless claims.

In practice, they can make it harder to recover damages from a medical provider if you don’t have a lawyer who understands how to investigate and litigate your claim.

Certificate of Merit Required in Standard of Care Action

One such provision of Washington law is the requirement that a plaintiff includes a certificate of merit with any claim alleging medical providers failed to provide the standard of care. A qualified expert must sign the certificate of merit. It must also state that, based on available information, the defendant probably didn’t provide the patient with the standard of care.

Boohoff Law regularly works with experts in the medical field who have the credentials and experience to issue a certificate of merit that will stand up to scrutiny by Washington courts and defense attorneys.

Mandatory Mediation

Medical malpractice claims in Washington are also subject to mandatory mediation, which is a form of non-binding alternative dispute resolution. In mediation, a mediator attempts to resolve a matter through agreement, rather than a trial.

The mediator does not have the power to force either party to settle, or to issue an award the way a judge can. But, mediation can frequently result in a favorable settlement of a personal injury matter when handled properly by an experienced lawyer.

Boohoff Law attorneys have participated in hundreds of mediations. They understand the dynamics of the mediation process, and how to approach a mediation so as to give a client the best chance of achieving a favorable outcome of a medical malpractice matter through a mediated settlement.

Attorney Certification of Reasonable Inquiry

Washington law also imposes an obligation on attorneys who file medical malpractice claims on behalf of their clients to conduct a reasonable inquiry into the matter before filing suit.

The attorney’s signature on any filing acts as a certification that the inquiry has been done and that the attorney believes the suit is not frivolous. Conducting a reasonable inquiry into a client’s cases is something an attorney should always do. The law in Washington, however, makes it especially important for the attorney to have the knowledge and skill to conduct a medical malpractice inquiry.

Without experience investigating and litigating medical malpractice matters, an attorney could put a client’s case at risk.

At Boohoff Law, we have in-depth knowledge of medical malpractice issues. When our attorneys sign their names to legal filings, they do so with the confidence that comes from years of experience fighting on behalf of injured clients and achieving results.

Potential Damages for Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice can cause terrible harm. Some patients die as a result of medical malpractice.

Even when they live, patients who receive sub-standard care from a medical service provider can end up:

  • Suffering from the debilitating side effects of improper medication
  • Battling an illness that, because it went undiagnosed, has progressed to the point that it cannot be fully treated
  • Contending with long-term physical disabilities caused by inadequate care
  • Facing a lifetime with a disfigurement or chronic illness

Categories of Damages

Washington law permits injured patients to recover compensatory damages in such cases. Damages generally fall into two categories: economic (or special) damages, and non-economic (or general) damages.

Economic damages generally compensate an injured patient for out-of-pocket costs associated with an act of malpractice, such as for:

  • Un-reimbursed medical bills
  • Chronic or long-term care
  • Physical therapy
  • Assistive equipment and home modifications
  • Lost wages from time-off from work recovering
  • Lost earning capacity because of an injury that limits the patient’s ability to work

In some cases, a Washington court may allow a party to make periodic payments of economic damages, rather than a lump sum payment.

Non-economic damages seek to compensate subjective harm that is more difficult to calculate. The types of non-economic damages an injured patient can pursue include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Damage to personal relationships
  • Negative impacts on quality of life
  • The difficulty of contending with disabilities and impairments

Under Washington law, non-economic damages are subject to a limitation, however. They cannot exceed 43 percent of the average annual wage in Washington multiplied by the plaintiff’s life expectancy (which can be no less than 15 years). Unlike most states, Washington does not allow for punitive damages in most cases.

Medical Malpractice FAQ

How does our state define medical malpractice?

Washington State recognizes medical malpractice and healthcare-related torts. Torts refer to civil wrongs committed by one party that entitle another party to money damages.

Medical malpractice, also referred to as medical negligence, generally occurs when a health care provider carelessly causes personal injuries to or kills a patient. Unlike ordinarily negligence claims, plaintiffs must prove that the liable health care provider deviated from the accepted medical standard of care. These care-based norms change with current medical trends, and similar doctors must typically testify about proper treatment.

If a health care provider treated a patient with less skill or care than her colleagues, and this carelessness caused an injury or illness, you may have a medical negligence claim.

What are the elements of medical malpractice in Seattle?

Because medical providers often treat claimants already suffering from an injury or illness, the law requires plaintiffs to prove all of the following to recover damages for medical negligence:

  • Legally recognized and licensed health care providers, including certain medical facilities, treated the patient
  • The healthcare provider breached the prevailing standards of care in his/her specific field
  • The breach proximately caused the claimant’s death, injury, or illness
  • The injuries did not result from the condition for which the plaintiff sought treatment or from reasonably foreseeable risks of treatment if the patient had received care for another provider

RCW 7.70.030 states that claimants have the burden of proving the treating healthcare provider acted negligently this means with less skill and care than generally required by similarly situated medical professionals.

Proving medical malpractice claims in Seattle almost always requires expert witnesses to testify about the skill, care, and treatment a doctor should have provided considering all the circumstances. Experts must generally be other local medical professionals of similar experience in the same field of care.

Retaining the right experts with the help of Boohoff Law is critical to proving medical negligence claims as specific qualifications apply to medical witnesses in Seattle.

What is the prevailing standard of medical care in Seattle?

Medical malpractice cases often revolve around determining whether a health care provider delivered subpar care. No single standard of care exists for every medical negligence case.

Instead, courts look to all the surrounding circumstances, including the provider’s medical specialty, when determining the applicable standard. These standards may differ in every medical malpractice case but typically require expert statements.

Dueling experts often dictate the evidence needed in medical negligence cases, but Washington courts generally consider the following factors in adopting a standard of care:

  • How most similarly situated professionals would have administered care under the circumstances
  • Whether the treatment was ordinary or emergency-based
  • Specific care guidelines outlined by medical textbooks, treatises, and facility policies
  • The treating location, i.e., rural field hospital or advanced university facility
  • The availability and acceptability of alternative forms of treatment
  • Any exigent circumstances, such as COVID-19, or a patient’s religious or personal treatment requests

Emergency providers, including E.R. doctors, nurses, and paramedics, often make split-second decisions. In emergency response cases, the central question usually involves whether medical professionals prevented more significant harm.

Failing to sanitize a scalpel during an emergency amputation might not give rise to a subsequent medical negligence claim for an infection. However, inflections may qualify as medical negligence if developed during routine surgery.

How do Seattle courts decide whether an injury was reasonably foreseeable or resulted from medical malpractice?

Even negligent healthcare providers defend against medical malpractice lawsuits by arguing the damages resulted from the plaintiff’s initial condition or treatment protocol.

Doctors often warn patients of certain surgical or prescription drug risks before administering treatment. Even if a rare side effect occurred, this isn’t generally medical malpractice. When medical providers raise this defense, other health care workers should testify about how they would have treated your condition.

If four out of five doctors agree they would not have prescribed a risky medication, this may support a medical malpractice claim. The reverse might also hold. If four out of five doctors would have prescribed the same drug, you may not have a claim for medical negligence from foreseeable side effects.

Are only doctors liable for medical malpractice in Seattle?

No. Claimants may bring viable medical negligence claims against any licensed person or entity defined as a health care provider under RCW 4.16.350.

Health care providers include any or all of the following:

  • Physicians
  • Osteopathic physicians
  • Dentists
  • Nurses
  • Optometrists
  • Podiatric physician and surgeons
  • Chiropractors
  • Physical therapists
  • Psychologists
  • Pharmacists
  • Opticians
  • Physician’s assistants
  • Osteopathic physician’s assistants
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Physician’s trained mobile intensive care paramedic

Nursing homes and facilities employing covered health care providers may be vicariously (automatically) liable for an employee’s medical malpractice. Even if a person or entity does not qualify as a health care provider, you could demand damages for personal injuries by making a general negligence claim.

What are the most common Seattle medical malpractice claims?

Most medical malpractice cases arise when doctors fail to thoroughly evaluate your condition or make preventable administrative errors. Some of the most frequent types of medical negligence in Seattle include:

  • Anesthesia errors – Administering anesthesia and powerful pain medication requires precise mathematical calculations and diligent patient monitoring. Anesthesiologists need substantial training, but overworked doctors may make fatal errors while administering anesthesia and intubating patients
  • Misdiagnoses – Negligent diagnostics account for the highest percentage of medical malpractice lawsuits in most states. Missing signs of breast cancer during annual screenings or attributing COVID-19 to seasonal allergies might result in preventable injuries or fatalities. Patients may generally rely on doctors to accurately diagnose common conditions without having to seek a second opinion
  • OBGYN and childbirth claims – Birth may result in hemorrhaging, an unanticipated hysterectomy, or infant injuries. Even a few minutes of lost oxygen could cause brain damage to a child. Improperly reading ultrasounds or failing to recognize signs of dangerous prenatal conditions, such as diabetes and preeclampsia, might also give rise to medical negligence claims in Seattle
  • Prescription drug errors – Medical professionals may prescribe patients the wrong dosage or class of drugs. These errors may cause brain damage, liver failure, or even death. Missing a single decimal point or allergy when prescribing medication might result in death
  • Surgical mistakes – Doctors have operated on the wrong patient, amputated the incorrect body part, and left surgical tools inside patients during surgery. Infections and other surgical errors may also give rise to malpractice claims
  • Nursing home neglect – Bedsores, broken hips, malnourishment, and even sexual abuse habitually occur in eldercare facilities. Overworked nurses, underpaid medical aids, and apathetic geriatric physicians might engage in medical negligence. Many nursing home cases often involve additional claims such as general negligence, premises liability, battery, and negligent supervision

Can I sue a hospital or healthcare facility for medical malpractice in Seattle?

Yes. RCW 4.16.350(3) specifically authorizes malpractice lawsuits action against “a hospital, clinic, health maintenance organization, or nursing home; or an officer, director, employee, or agent thereof.”

Hospitals and most licensed medical facilities may be directly liable for medical malpractice. They may also be vicariously liable for the medical negligence of an employee, including a nurse. However, hospitals do not employ most doctors with admitting privileges. These legal distinctions seem minor, but failing to sue the right defendant under the correct legal theory may terminate your claims.

The experienced Seattle medical negligence lawyers at Boohoff Law carefully analyze each case before filing a lawsuit or demanding settlement to maximize the availability of compensation for viable malpractice claims.

Can wrongful death claims arise from medical malpractice in Seattle?

Wrongful deaths resulting from medical malpractice still generally require proof of medical negligence. If the deceased person could have brought a medical malpractice claim, his or her legal representative may recover damages payable to the estate or loved ones.

Cases for medical negligence include claims that such negligence resulted in a death; thus, the general two-year statute of limitations applicable to medical malpractice claims applies to wrongful deaths.

How long do I have to bring a Seattle lawsuit for medical malpractice?

Complicated time limits apply to medical malpractice claims in Seattle. Parties should generally bring a lawsuit for medical negligence within three years of the injuring event or one year after they reasonably should have discovered the malpractice.

However, calculating when the malpractice occurred, especially if patients were continuously under the negligent doctor’s care, often presents difficulties. Furthermore, exceptions exist for example, if the doctor or healthcare provider committed fraud or intentionally concealed the malpractice from the patient.

Contact an experienced Seattle med mal lawyer at Boohoff Law immediately if you suspect medical negligence. Filling litigation now might preserve your claims while you investigate the negligent cause of your injuries.

What damages may I recover for medical malpractice?

Patients injured by a treating health care provider may recover both economic and non-economic damage for medical negligence. These damages include compensation for the following direct and indirect losses:

  • Additional medical bills
  • Reimbursement for negligent treatment
  • Corrective surgeries
  • Lost income, including salaries, commissions, and bonuses
  • Lost career opportunities
  • Medical equipment and transportation costs
  • Prescription drug costs
  • Pain, suffering, and mental anguish
  • Loss of spousal companionship and comfort
  • Inability to perform daily activities such as driving, cooking, or cleaning
  • Frustration, such as difficulties sleeping and emotional changes
  • Home nursing and companionship care

Serious injuries caused by medical negligence often result in years of pain and continuous treatment. Claimants may recover damages for past and anticipated future losses in successful medical malpractice actions.

Expert economics may work with your doctors to determine the overall financial impact of injuries and illnesses caused by negligent healthcare providers.

How much is my medical malpractice case worth in Seattle?

Scheduling a free case review with an experienced medical malpractice litigator at Boohoff Law is the best way to determine the potential value of your claims.

Every case differs, and no average verdict or settlement exists for med mal claims. Successful claimants may recover the past and anticipated future losses, including lost enjoyment of life and pain.

Factors that might affect your overall financial recovery include:

  • Your age and overall health
  • Your degree, salary, and work history
  • The severity of the injuries
  • Head of household status
  • Any fraud or unlawful medical conduct

Doctors and health care facilities often carry substantial liability insurance policies. Realistically, most insurers settle medical negligence cases with the applicable policy limits. Working with attorneys who build respectful relationships with insurance adjusters often results in an agreeable settlement for viable medical malpractice claims.

Do not accept a settlement, even one disguised as medical compensation, without running it by one of our lawyers. You may inadvertently and permanently be signing away your rights to needed future benefits.

Are prescription-drug based claims also medical malpractice claims?

Prescription errors, such as prescribing the wrong medication or dosage, often qualify as medical negligence. Actual injuries or illnesses caused by prescription drugs, including addiction to pain medication, are product liability actions.

You may bring both medical malpractice and product liability claims together if health care providers and pharmaceutical companies negligently contributed to your injuries.

Is nursing home negligence a medical malpractice claim?

Possibly. Elder abuse and medical negligence claims against nursing homes and assisted living facilities commonly arise in Seattle. Some nursing homes might provide services rendering them directly liable for medical malpractice under Washington law.

Other facilities might not qualify as healthcare providers. In such cases, an experienced personal injury lawyer may still bring a negligence, premise liability, or wrongful death claim against the entity if their negligence resulted in harm to a resident.

Choosing a Seattle Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you or a loved one suffered injuries or losses as a result of a Seattle medical provider’s mistake, broken promise, or provision of care to which consent was never given, you may have a claim for medical malpractice damages.

As the discussion above shows, however, you cannot just pick any old attorney for the job if you want to give yourself the best chance of recovering the compensation you deserve.

To pursue a medical malpractice claim with skill, a lawyer needs to possess a large body of legal and subject-matter knowledge. The lawyer should be familiar in medical terminology, record-keeping practices, and delivery-of-care protocols, but that’s not all. The lawyer should also have a strong commitment to listening to and serving clients’ needs, and to communicating with clients in a way that makes the complicated process of pursuing a medical malpractice claim understandable and unintimidating.

How do you find this attorney? At Boohoff Law we encourage our potential clients to meet with us one-on-one. We offer a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation with a member of our team at which we welcome questions about how we can help.

If you decide we aren’t the right fit for you, we will happily try to point you in the direction of someone who would be.

If a Doctor Injured You, Get in Touch With Boohoff Law Seattle Medical Malpractice Lawyers Now

Do not wait to seek legal help if you or a loved one have sustained an injury or loss because of a medical provider’s mistake.

In Washington, the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice claim is three years in most cases.

The sooner you consult with an experienced, skilled medical malpractice attorney, the better your chances of obtaining the compensation you need.

To schedule a free consultation with Boohoff Law, call (877) 999-9999 or contact us today.

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Boohoff Law P.A.
Seattle Location
2200 6th Avenue,
Suite 768 Seattle,
WA 98121
(877) 999-9999

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    From your first call, our team takes the time to listen and learn your unique situation. We’ll walk you through the factors that will increase the value of your claim and help you mitigate risks. Above all, we help you envision a personalized path forward.
  • 2. Connecting with your attorney
    You will know within 1-2 days if our team can help. Your personal attorney and legal team will guide you through what to expect, ensuring you’re always informed about what’s going on. You will stay in control as an included member of the team working on your case.
  • 3. Supporting documentation
    Our diligent legal team will work with you to make sure all the necessary documentation is complete. This includes insurance policy details, medical records, medical and repair bills, and lost wages.
  • 4. Formulating a winning plan
    We’ll assess your case every detail, every angle as we fight for the outcome you deserve. We roll up our sleeves and bring an unrelenting commitment and proven track record to formulate a winning game plan, keeping you clearly informed along the way.
  • 5. Negotiation and litigation
    We are relentless in pursuing what’s right. We work with toughness and resilience as we negotiate directly with the defense to obtain the compensation you deserve. In cases that demand a court trial, our attorneys are expert personal injury litigators with the talent to maximize policy volumes and outcomes.

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We recover millions for our clients every month, but we know that every case is different and that recovery is personal.
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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.