Making a medical malpractice claim is a big undertaking. Lawyers who do this kind of work are specialists, and must have considerable experience and resources to take on a doctor or a hospital, because they will put up a huge fight.
The key to a successful medical malpractice claim is identifying the "standard of care" and proving that your doctor fell below that standard. A poor outcome does not equal negligence, but it is certainly one part of the puzzle.
My advice, and I'm sure the advice of everyone else, is to contact a firm in the Puget Sound area that has clear experience handling medical malpractice. Use AVVOs Find A Lawyer search tool and locate someone you feel comfortable with. Expect that you may have to speak to at least a few different offices before finding the right fit for your case.
This response does not constitute representation or the formation of the attorney/client relationship.
Consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney.
In seeking an attorney on this site, beware of limiting your search to attorneys with a 10 rating, and carefully read the AVVO disclaimer regarding their rating system. There are certain factors that are given great weight which do not necessarily have any bearing on an attorney's experience, abilities, and results with certain types of cases. Accordingly, the rating numbers can be misleading. Also beware of basing your choice on the fee charged, as a low fee, depending on the skill, experience and determination of the specific attorney handling your case, could actually have an inverse relationship to the amount actually put in your pocket.
You may well have a claim for medical negligence arising from the initial care, but that is very fact dependent and not something a lawyer could tell you from this (appropriately) limited information. A bad outcome alone does not mean there was any medical error in your original care. A re-aggravation or worsening of your past injury following your return to work suggests an additional workers' compensation claim, certainly, but does not necessarily mean that the first doctor was negligent. You should consult with a medical malpractice attorney in the area to review the case, and to help you understand your options. It is likely that an additional medical review of the circumstances would be necessary, to assess whether your first doctor complied with the standard of care.
That said, the original on-the-job injury is probably covered by Washington's workers' compensation statutes. Any follow-up care or related care may well be covered by your original claim, if not closed. Re-opening would also probably be a possibility given the new or worsened condition. Hopefully you have a workers' compensation attorney to help you with this claim; if not, get one soon. I recommend either Noah Williams (Seattle) or Thomas Nivison (Tacoma) in Western Washington.
Benjamin Nivison is an attorney licensed to practice law in Washington State. This communication does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Mr. Nivison, nor does it constitute specific advice for your particular legal matter. The information provided in this communication is for general reference and informational purposes only, and therefore should not be relied on as legal advice. Legal issues are by their nature complex, and any person with a legal question should fully consult with a qualified attorney.
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