Medical Malpractice Law (Washington Health Care Provider Civil Liability Law) – Part 7: Arbitration

(Medical Malpractice – Part 7 in a Several Part Series)

(This is the 7th part in a multiple part series pertaining to Medical Malpractice Law in Washington State. To read part one click here. To read part two click here. To read part three click here. To read part four click here. To read part five click here. To read part six click here.)


In 2006 the legislature enacted Chapter 7.70A RCW, providing for voluntary arbitration of medical malpractice claims. All parties must agree to arbitrate. Discovery is limited, as is the number of expert witnesses. The arbitrator may not award damages, both general and special combined, exceeding one million dollars.

It is important to note that RCW 7.70A.060(3) contains a potential malpractice trap for plaintiffs’ lawyers. The provision states, “The arbitrator may not make an award of damages under this chapter under a theory of ostensible agency liability.”

In the next post, we will address some of the constitutional issues that may arise in the context of medical malpractice lawsuits.

(This article was written by Mark Johnson and Michael Sprangers. Mark and Michael’s practice focuses on medical malpractice, legal malpractice, and serious personal injury lawsuits. Their law firm Johnson Flora Sprangers PLLC is located in the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle, Washington.)  

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