Winning Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Virginia
Medical malpractice can have devastating effects on patients and their families. If you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice in Virginia, you may be considering filing a lawsuit. Winning a medical malpractice case requires in-depth knowledge of Virginia laws, finding strong evidence, and working with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. This guide will provide key information for Virginia residents on how to build a successful medical malpractice case.
Gather Evidence From Medical Records
The foundation of any malpractice claim is proof that the medical provider breached their duty and failed to meet the accepted standard of care. This evidence typically comes from a patient’s medical records.
Here are some examples of potential medical errors that could support a malpractice claim:
Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of a health condition
Surgical errors and mistakes during operations
Medication errors like wrong prescriptions or dosages
Childbirth injuries to mother or baby
Failure to order necessary tests or scans
Poor follow-up care and monitoring
Thoroughly review your complete medical file to identify any glaring errors or oversights by your doctors or healthcare facility. The records will also show what symptoms you reported, what treatments were given, and what the medical providers knew about your health at all steps of your care. Any discrepancies between your experiences and what is documented in the medical records should be noted.
Find a Qualified Medical Expert Witness
In addition to medical records, Virginia medical malpractice law requires that the plaintiff’s case is supported by medical expert testimony. An expert witness must testify that the defendant healthcare provider breached the standard of care, which caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
Finding a qualified, reputable medical expert witness is crucial when building a strong malpractice case in Virginia. Some factors to consider when vetting potential experts include:
Specialty – They should have expertise in the specific medical issues involved in your case. A neurologist may not be qualified to testify about surgical errors, for example.
Experience as an expert witness – Look for those who have testified in numerous malpractice trials, not just clinical experience.
Willingness to criticize peers – Not all doctors are comfortable testifying against fellow physicians.
Strong credentials – Board certification, academic appointments, publications, etc.
Good communication skills – An effective expert witness can explain medical concepts clearly.
Calculate Damages From Injuries
In addition to proving liability through medical records and an expert witness, the plaintiff must also demonstrate damages and losses caused by the malpractice. Some types of compensable damages may include:
Medical expenses like hospital bills, medications, therapies
Lost income and reduced earning capacity
Cost of lifelong care for permanent disabilities
Pain and suffering
An experienced personal injury attorney can help calculate both economic and non-economic damages and ensure adequate compensation is sought for your losses.
File Before the Statute of Limitations Expires
In Virginia, plaintiffs generally have 2 years from the date of injury to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. However, there are exceptions. Consult with a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible after discovering an error to avoid running out of time.
Find the Right Virginia Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Medical negligence cases involve complex laws and procedures. It is essential to work with a med malpractice law firm that focuses specifically on medical malpractice claims in Virginia. Here are important factors to consider:
Extensive Malpractice Trial Experience
Look for a long track record with large verdicts and settlements won for past clients. An inexperienced medical malpractice injury lawyer can severely hurt your chances.
Resources to Investigate Your Claim
Proving medical negligence often requires consulting with several medical specialists, obtaining copies of records, and conducting extensive research. Choose an attorney with the resources and connections to thoroughly investigate and build your case.
Comfort Handling Cases in Virginia Courts
Make sure your medical malpractice lawyer in Roanoke, Virginia is licensed and familiar with the state’s unique laws, and has relationships with expert witnesses that regularly testify in VA. This gives you the best chance of success.
Negotiate a Fair Settlement
The majority of medical malpractice claims settle out of court before trial. An experienced malpractice attorney will negotiate aggressively to reach a fair settlement. They will assess the full value of your case and will not settle for an unjustly low amount simply to avoid trial. If a fair deal cannot be reached, your attorney must be fully prepared to take the case to trial.
Review medical records closely for errors and oversights.
Retain a qualified medical expert witness.
Calculate all economic and non-economic damages.
Meet filing deadlines – usually 2 years in Virginia.
Partner with an attorney experienced in Virginia malpractice claims.
Negotiate a full and fair settlement or proceed to trial.
With the right evidence, medical expert, lawyer, and preparation, you can win just compensation for your injuries caused by medical negligence in Virginia. Don’t accept an inadequate settlement offer. Get the maximum recovery you deserve.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are common medical errors that constitute malpractice?
Some examples are surgical mistakes, medication errors, childbirth injuries, failure to diagnose illness, and inadequate patient monitoring.
2. Do I need an attorney to file a malpractice claim in Virginia?
No, but pro se plaintiffs rarely win malpractice cases. The laws are complex. Hire an experienced attorney.
3. What if I signed consent forms at the hospital?
This does not allow doctors to commit negligence. Get legal advice, as you may still have a case.
4. Can I file a claim even if my family member died from the malpractice?
Yes, surviving family can pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit against negligent providers.
5. How long does a malpractice case take to resolve?
Most settle within 1-2 years. Complex cases with protracted negotiations or trials may take longer to conclude.