The phrase "malpractice" generally means an event in which a professional failed to exercise the appropriate standard of professional care.
It is always important to remember that the great majority of medical professionals are highly competent and conscientious. Most things that laymen think are malpractice simply are not.
Poor outcomes do not equal malpractice. Unfortunately, however, errors are occurring at an alarming rate. A recent study from a very respected medical organization estimates that over 40,000 Americans die each year as a result of medical errors.
If you believe that you have been injured as a result of medical malpractice, or you have lost a loved one as a result of medical malpractice, you should contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. It typically takes a relatively long time for a law office to analyze a medical malpractice case. As a result, you should generally hire an attorney immediately upon becoming aware of the malpractice.
What Constitutes Medical Malpractice in Virginia?
Medical malpractice is a relatively standard concept across America. It is generally defined as a negligent act or omission by a healthcare professional during treatment that does not align with the accepted standard of care in the medical community and causes injury or death to a patient.
Virginia law specifically defines malpractice as “any tort action or breach of contract action for personal injuries or wrongful death, based on health care or professional services rendered, or which should have been rendered, by a health care provider, to a patient.”
How Often Does Medical Malpractice Occur?
Many people think that medical malpractice is uncommon. Unfortunately, it occurs with disturbing regularity. A study by Johns Hopkins concluded that over 250,000 people in the United States die every year due to medical mistakes. That figure puts medical errors as the third-leading cause of death in America after heart disease and cancer. However, other estimates are much higher, and the discrepancy may exist because of underreporting.
The Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Cases in Virginia
In most cases, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice in Virginia is two years from the date of the injury. Virginia is not as forgiving as other states when it comes to injury discovery. For that reason, taking action as soon as you suspect medical malpractice is the best option.
It is important to contact our attorney and find out where your potential legal claim stands. If you do not file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires, you will not get the justice and compensation you deserve. At that point, your right to sue for damages will be lost forever.
What Are Some Examples of Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice happens when a healthcare professional’s negligence harms a patient. It can take many different forms. Here are a few common examples of medical malpractice:
- Failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis
- Unnecessary surgery
- Surgical errors or wrong-site surgery
- Improper medication or dosage
- Misreading or ignoring laboratory results
The Kind of Evidence Needed for a Medical Malpractice Case
Various pieces of evidence are generally needed for a medical malpractice case, including:
- Medical records
- Medical bills
- Insurance correspondence
- Receipts for out-of-pocket expenses
- Proof of lost income
- Death certificate and/or autopsy report
Additionally, there are medical expert witness requirements in Virginia. Our state requires the use of medical expert witness testimony to establish the standard of care and demonstrate how the defendant violated that standard. However, in cases where even a layperson would be able to recognize malpractice, such as wrong-site surgery, expert testimony is generally not required.
How Can I Prepare for Court?
A few basic steps are often involved in bringing a medical malpractice case, including:
- Contacting the medical professional involved
- Contacting the relevant medical licensing board
- Getting a medical assessment
Many medical malpractices cases settle before they make it to trial. However, in the event that your lawsuit goes to court, our attorney will work to make sure that you are fully prepared.
What Kind of Compensation Should I Expect?
If your medical malpractice claim is successful, you may recover compensation for damages such as:
- Medical bills
- Missed work
- Home modifications
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
Many states have laws that limit the amount of money available in a medical malpractice case. Virginia is one of those states. There is a cap on damages that varies based on the year.
Experienced Representation for Medical Malpractice Victims
Mr. Shoemaker has over 22 years of experience as a trial attorney and is a partner in the law firm of Patten, Wornom, Hatten & Diamonstein, L.C. ("PWHD"), based in Virginia. Mr. Shoemaker, his partners and associates are available for representation nationwide.
If you think you have been injured as a result of malpractice, we encourage you to fill out the form on this page or call 757-223-4580 today. One of our paralegals will review the facts of your case with you, and then Mr. Shoemaker will call you and discuss your case free of charge*.