Loss of Chance is a legal theory that can be brought by a patient when their doctor’s negligence didn’t cause their injury directly, but instead, prohibited the patient from the opportunity for a better outcome from the injury or disease. This legal theory was not recognized by Washington court’s until approximately thirty years ago. Since that time, the theory has undergone revisions and changes as different cases presented different scenarios. It is a field of law fraught with difficulty because of the limited number of cases discussing it, their contradictions and consistencies, and its continued evolution.
The main thing to understand is that a negligent medical defendant is not going to escape liability in a situation where the negligence caused a loss of chance for better outcome, even though the chance suffered is less than 50%.
So if a doctor’s negligence has resulted in the failure to provide timely intervention that had a chance to help, then that chance, once quantified, can be a measure of damages to the unlucky victim of that doctor’s negligence.
Loss of chance cases require an attorney and expert witnesses to properly evaluate the unique facts of each person’s medical care in order to see if the case meets the thresholds for legal action. Our consultations are free and we’re happy to help.