‘certificates of merit’ ‘Washington State Supreme Court’ ‘ Washington Supreme Court’ ‘RCW 7.72.010’ ‘medical negligence’

Certificates of Merit Unconstitutional in Washington

Often times, a legal claim for elder abuse or neglect also involves a claim for violating the standards of medical care.

For instance, failure to properly treat a pressure sore usually involves the elder neglect of simply not treating it, but also the failure to adhere to standards of pressure sore treatment and prevention in the medical community. For the medical side of the claim, a claimant had to jump through hoops in order to sue the wrongful party. This meant that, without the benefit of any discovery, a claimant still had to get a doctor to agree that someone else acted below the standard of care.

The Washington Supreme Court today invalidated the requirement of a certificate of merit. Because the opinion says so much about what justice is, what justice requires, and how we should treat impediments to justice, I have included it after the jump.

I cannot stress how much of a win this is for patients rights.

Medical negligence claims are one of the hardest to prove because it involves judgement of a doctor, often in complex situations.

Many times, if a hospital or doctor knows they screwed up, they will impede your pre-trial discovery, hindering your ability to obtain a certificate of merit. The striking down of the certificate of merit requirement removes this procedural roadblock and allows the case to move forward on an even keel with all other negligence claims. It removes a procedural hurdle that was a bar to so many negligence claims, regardless of whether the provider violated the standard of care. This will allow people to have their day in court — to be heard.

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About Kevin

Kevin Coluccio was recently named one of the Top 10 Super Lawyers in Washington State. He has long history of successful elder abuse/neglect cases and has a stellar reputation for getting results for his injury clients in serious car crashes, pedestrian accidents, trucking accidents, maritime claims, and asbestos injury cases.