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Correcting Your Medical Records in Washington State - Washington Law Center

How To Correct Your Medical Records in Washington

March 5th, 2020 Posted by Labor & Industries, Personal Injury 0 comments on “How To Correct Your Medical Records in Washington”

Doctors Make Mistakes with Medical Records

To err is human … sometimes patients can make mistakes while in pain or when seeking urgent medical treatment. The same is true for medical professionals who work in high stress conditions attempting to treat a suffering patient. These mistakes can happen before, during or even after care is provided by way of noting errors in a patient’s medical records.  Busy intake nurses may notate an incorrect accident date or omit ancillary injuries to the purpose of treatment Scribes may record inaccurate information given to them by the treating provider. Translators can easily provide the wrong information since many words and concepts can be problematic for the healthcare worker.

Even when they might translate well, there can be vast differences in the abilities of the available translators. For example, how many ways can a person describe a painful sensation in English: visceral, stabbing, stinging, burning, splitting, crushing, gnawing, pulsing, nagging, gripping, deep, scalding, shooting, throbbing, sharp, dull, radiating, recurring, intermittent, chronic, acute and so on?  A translator may end up describing that something simply “doesn’t feel right.”     

Unfortunately, this leads to numerous incidents of a person’s medical records containing inaccuracies. Doctors are well aware of this problem. There have even been cases where a surgeon operates on the wrong body part due to mistaken medical notations. If a person has hundreds of pages of medical records, there will undoubtedly be various typos, misstatements and other inaccuracies that are just part of what’s expected.

What Are Your Options For Correcting Your Medical Records?

Errors in medical records are a well-known and ubiquitous phenomenon. The Washington State Legislature has acted to provide a little-known mechanism by which patients may request corrections or amendments. Pursuant to RCW 70.02.100, a patient may request correction or amendment of a medical record “for purposes of accuracy or completeness.” The patient should write to the medical provider and identify the error in the record while also asking for a change or amendment. The medical provider then has ten (10) days to inform the patient that they have changed the record, or that they have decided not to change the record for whatever reason they have. Nevertheless, the request for change, correction or addendum also becomes part of the medical record so that there remains proof that the patient disagrees with what has been stated.

Most people don’t realize that their medical records may contain errors that ultimately result in problems for the patient. Defense attorneys search medical records for the errors and omissions because they are expected to exist there. They will then attempt to paint the patient as an inaccurate historian, non-credible claimant or plaintiff, or worse. Defense medical examiners, often called Independent Medical Examiners, testify that all they can go on is the information that was recorded in the file. The unfortunate result can be a misrepresentation of the patient’s injuries or the patient’s need for the particular medical treatment being sought out under the claim or suit.

Some damage is already done once an error is made but if a patient acts to review (although most don’t) and asks for corrections or addendums to their medical records in a timely fashion, the damage can be minimized. For this reason, if you have a personal injury, workers’ compensation or another type of suit or claim that depends on what is recorded in your medical records, it’s best to regularly ask your doctors for a copy of those records so you can review them before too much time has passed.

Legal Assistance Reviewing and Correcting Your Medical Records

If you have questions during this time or need help reviewing your records from the standpoint of the law, contact the experienced trial attorneys at Washington Law Center today.

 

How Does Washington State Define Sexual Misconduct with a Minor?

Sexual Misconduct with a Minor – How It Is Defined In Washington State

January 27th, 2020 Posted by Abuse, Personal Injury, Sexual Abuse 0 comments on “Sexual Misconduct with a Minor – How It Is Defined In Washington State”

How Does Washington State Define Sexual Misconduct with a Minor?

Pursuant to Chapter 9A.44 RCW, Sexual Misconduct with a Minor in the First Degree involves any form of sexual intercourse (penetration), and in the Second Degree involves any form of sexual contact with an individual older than 16, but less than 18, unless the intercourse or contact is committed upon a person less than 21 by a person who holds a supervisory position over the victim, including by a teacher, foster parent, etc.

What is the Sentencing Range in Washington State for Commission of Sexual Misconduct with a Minor?

Washington’s penal code punishes Sexual Misconduct with a Minor in the First Degree as a Class C Felony and in the Second Degree as a Gross Misdemeanor. Pursuant to RCW 9A.20.021, a Class C Felony is punishable by up to life in prison, a fine of up to $50,000, or both, while a Gross Misdemeanor is punishable by up to 364 days in jail, a fine of up to $5,000, or both. Sex offender registration is also required for committing either crime.

May the Victim Sue the Offender for Commission of Sexual Misconduct with a Minor?

Yes, victims of Sexual Misconduct with a Minor in WashingtonState have a civil cause of action against their perpetrator, as well as against anyone who negligently facilitated the commission of that crime, including state social services agencies (such as with foster child placement), religious institutions, schools, youth groups and social organization and activities providers (such as a “scouts” or “explorers” group).

 

 

What is the Civil Statute of Limitations that Applies to Sexual Misconduct with a Minor?

Pursuant to RCW 4.16.340, children and adults may sue their perpetrators for any form of child sexual abuse in Washington State until the later of three years after the act; three years after discovering that an injury (including a mental health condition) was caused by the act; or three years of discovering the act for which a claim of injury/distress is asserted. In practice, very few sexual abuse cases are subject to defeat based on a statute of limitations defense.

Is it Considered Sexual Misconduct with a Minor in Washington State if the Victim is Under 16?

No, Chapter 9A.44 RCW defines various other forms of sexual abuse of minors, including child molestation in three degrees; rape of a child in three degrees; and taking indecent liberties with a child. Any of these child sexual abuse offenses may be prosecuted both under criminal codes and civil statutes in Washington State.

What Should I do If I AM or WAS the Victim of Child Sexual Abuse?

You should immediately report any form of child sexual abuse. You can report this to the police; to a teacher; to a doctor or other healthcare provider such as a Physician’s Assistant, Advanced Registered Nurse Provider, other nurses or mental health counselor; or to a lawyer familiar with these types of circumstances. All of these individuals are trained and responsible to assist victims of child sexual abuse, who never need to suffer in silence.

Can Washington Law Center Help Me if I AM or WAS a Child Sex Abuse Victim?

Yes. At Washington Law Center, our sensitive and compassionate attorneys have assisted numerous child sex abuse victims to recover million dollar + recoveries for their damages. It is never the child’s fault. A child cannot give consent to improper contact or intercourse. Every child that has been or is the victim of child sex abuse in Washington should consult with our attorneys as soon as they can, including because it is always safest and easiest for our attorneys to navigate statute of limitations defenses the earlier we learn the facts of your case. You are not alone.

The Content Provided Herein is the Consensus View of Experienced Sex Abuse Attorneys in Washington State.

Statute of Limitations for Childhood Sexual Abuse in Washington - Washington Law Center

What is the Statute of Limitations for Childhood Sexual Abuse in Washington?

January 6th, 2020 Posted by Abuse, Personal Injury, Sexual Abuse 0 comments on “What is the Statute of Limitations for Childhood Sexual Abuse in Washington?”

The statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse in Washington is much broader than one would expect. The Washington legislature in RCW 4.16.340 increased the time for a victim to bring a cause of action. Legal action by the victim in a childhood sexual abuse case is to be executed “within three years of the time that the act caused the injury for which the claim is brought.” So, you could be victimized as a child and not experience a traumatic response for many years. This essentially means that there is no definable time limitation when it comes to childhood sexual abuse cases. Often times, it takes a forensic evaluation from a psychologist to determine whether a victim is aware of the harm that was caused by early childhood trauma from sexual abuse. 

Delayed Synonyms of Trauma in Childhood Sexual Abuse in Washington

Washington Courts have consistently ruled in favor of victims and against those that have committed childhood sexual abuse or were in a position to stop the abuse. The Supreme Court has noted that the Legislature’s purpose in enacting RCW 4.16.340 was to provide a broad avenue of redress for victims of childhood sexual abuse. C.J.C. v. Corporation of the Catholic Bishop of Yakima, 138 Wn.2d 699, 712-13, 985 P.2d 262 (1999). “The three year statute of limitations on a claim arising from an act of childhood abuse does not begin to run at least until the victim discovers ‘that the act caused the injury for which the claim is brought.’” Miller v. Campbell, 137 Wn. App. 762, 767, 155 P.3d 154 (2007) (citing RCW 4.16.340(1)(c)). “Legislative findings supporting this statutory discovery rule state the Legislature’s intent ‘that the earlier discovery of less serious injuries should not affect the statute of limitations for injuries that are discovered later.’” Id. “The special statute of limitations, RCW 4.16.340, indicates that it is not inconsistent for a victim to be aware for many years that he has been abused, yet not have knowledge of the potential tort claim against his abuser.” Id. at 773. “Indeed, as our Legislature has found, childhood sexual abuse, by its very nature, may render the victim unable to understand or make the connection between the childhood abuse and the full extent of the resulting emotional harm until many years later.” Cloud v. Summers, 98 Wn. App. 724, 735, 991 P.2d 1169 (1999).  

Statute of Limitations for Childhood Sexual Abuse in Washington

More recently, the Court of Appeals in Washington has stated that the special statute of limitations that tolls civil claims based on intentional childhood sexual abuse is unique in that it does not begin running when a victim discovers an injury. Instead, it specifically focuses on when a victim of sexual abuse discovers a causal link between abuse and injury for which the suit is brought. The legislature specifically anticipated that victims may know they are suffering emotional harm or damage but not be able to understand the connection between those symptoms and the abuse. B.R. v. Horsley, 186 Wash.App. 294 (2015).

Recovering for Childhood Sexual Abuse Decades Later

Most victims of childhood sexual abuse are well aware that they were abused as children but have not connected all of their physical and emotional injuries to the perpetuated acts. Victims of childhood sexual abuse often do not realize how their work, family, intimacy and personal life have been impacted. Individuals who have been abused as children have known difficulties with addiction and the inability to have sustaining relationships into adulthood. The Washington legislature has recognized these harms and allow victims to recover even decades later. 

What Steps Can You Take?

Do not let the fear of the statute of limitations with regard to childhood sexual abuse prevent you from contacting an attorney to discuss your case. If you were sexually abused in Washington or by a resident of Washington, you very likely have a legitimate claim that entitles you to compensation. Contact the experienced attorneys of Washington Law Center today.

We have helped people who have been impacted by sexual abuse and sexual assault at every stage of life. Our legal team feels strongly that people who have been wronged in this manner should be given all the assistance they need to have a healthy life moving forward.

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Jail Deaths Have Become A Pandemic in The United States

November 12th, 2019 Posted by negligence, Personal Injury, Wrongful Death 0 comments on “Jail Deaths Have Become A Pandemic in The United States”

It’s a sobering fact that statically you are nearly three times more likely to die while in jail than you are to die from a stroke. That’s tragic, and for purposes of clarification, jail is defined as a sentence or confinement of less than one year.  The Federal Bureau of Prison cites that the rate of jail deaths for incarcerated individuals is approximately 128 deaths per 100,000 inmates.

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How The ‘Made Whole Doctrine’ Affects Personal Injury Subrogation Cases In Washington

July 7th, 2019 Posted by Personal Injury 0 comments on “How The ‘Made Whole Doctrine’ Affects Personal Injury Subrogation Cases In Washington”

What is right of subrogation?

Often times in personal injury matters an insurance company gains a right of subrogation.  This is the right to either stand in the shoes of their insured and sue the at-fault party who is responsible for the insurance company’s losses or receive a portion of the proceeds to cover their settlement if the insured sues the at-fault party directly and wins. The problem becomes that in some instances, insurance companies have attempted to put their own subrogation interests ahead of the insured’s interests in achieving a full financial recovery.

Washington state’s Made Whole Doctrine generally establishes the priority for the interests of insured individuals where there is conflict with the interests of their own insurance company.  In Thiringer v. American Motor Insurance Co., the Washington Supreme Court articulated the Made Whole Doctrine as a general rule as follows:

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