Arlington Medical Malpractice Attorney

Negligent medical practitioners can be held accountable for their wrongful acts or omissions through malpractice litigation. The Arlington, VA medical malpractice lawyers at our firm have the knowledge and experience to successfully handle your claim, working tirelessly to achieve a settlement or judgment that provides the maximum financial compensation for your suffering.

While this page has provided a general overview of medical malpractice in Virginia, it is important to remember that all cases are unique. Only a qualified medical malpractice attorney can advise you about the specific merits of your own case. Our personal injury practice group is well-tested in this area of the law, and they have had considerable success helping our clients reach the settlements they deserve.  To set up a free consultation with an Arlington, VA medical malpractice lawyer, call or visit our offices today.

Medical Malpractice in Arlington, Virginia

In Arlington, and elsewhere in Virginia, medical malpractice occurs when a patient is harmed because of the negligence of a doctor or healthcare provider. Negligence means that a provider failed to meet the “standard of care” for the patient’s condition because the patient did not receive the same level of care that a provider with equivalent credentials, training, and expertise would have been expected to provide when treating a patient in a similar situation.

According to ancient Greek philosopher and physician Hippocrates, the mission of doctors must be “to do good, or to do no harm.” Health care professionals are charged with a duty to practice medical care at a standard level recognized as acceptable by other medical professionals. If a doctor, nurse, paramedic, surgeon, anesthesiologist, or other health care provider fails to provide this standard of care, and his or her negligence causes a patient harm, then medical malpractice has occurred.  By working with an Arlington, VA medical malpractice lawyer, you can hold those parties accountable and receive monetary compensation to help pay your medical bills.

According to a Harvard School of Medicine study, 18 percent of hospital patients will suffer some kind of injury or adverse event during their stay. You will find a review of that study here. Of course, not all of these injuries amount to malpractice. Determining whether or not someone has violated the standards of care is one of the most important aspects of a medical malpractice trial, as the burden falls on the plaintiff to show the standard of care, to demonstrate that it was not met, and to show that the plaintiff was injured as a result. This is why anyone in the Arlington, VA region who is considering such litigation should consider retaining a well-qualified medical malpractice lawyer.

Medical Malpractice and Medical Negligence

If a doctor, nurse, paramedic, surgeon, anesthesiologist, or other health care provider fails to provide this standard of care, and his or her negligence causes a patient harm, then medical malpractice has occurred.Though there are risks associated with any medical procedure, medication, or course of treatment, the benefits should outweigh the risks. However, careless medical providers can exacerbate existing risks and even cause preventable damage through their negligence. Medical malpractice is, by definition, a health care provider’s failure to provide a professional standard of care, resulting in patient injury. In order for a successful malpractice claim, a plaintiff’s must be able to prove four elements:

  1. The medical professional owed a duty of care.
  2. The medical professional failed to provide a standard level of care.
  3. The patient was harmed.
  4. The patient’s injury was caused by the medical professional’s negligence.

Malpractice insurance attorneys will work vigorously to call into question any or all of the above elements; if they are successful, you or your loved one will be denied the compensation and benefits you need and deserve for your suffering. Having an experienced Arlington medical malpractice attorney on your side can help you prove the elements of malpractice to negotiate a favorable settlement or win a judgment in court.

Statute of Limitations on Medical Malpractice

As the statute of limitations for medical malpractice is relatively brief in Virginia, it’s important to consult with an attorney within a reasonable amount of time from your injury to determine if you have a case. In Virginia, most medical malpractice claims must be filed within two years of the alleged injury—not from the time that the injury was discovered.

Exceptions to this rule exist in a few situations. In cases of a suit being brought for wrongful death, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the death. For minors who were under the age of eight when the injury occurred, suits may be brought up to the date of his or her tenth birthday. In cases where a foreign object (usually a surgical instrument) is discovered in the body, the patient may have an additional one year from the discovery of the object to file suit. In cases where fraud or misrepresentation kept the injury from being discovered by the patient during the typical statute of limitations, the patient may also have one year from the discovery of the injury to file suit. In both the cases of a foreign object and of fraud, if the object or injury was discovered some time after it should have been discovered by the use of “due diligence” on the part of the patient, then a suit may not be able to be brought. Finally, in the case of negligent failure on the part of a medical professional to diagnose cancer or a malignant tumor, then the patient has a year from the date that they were eventually diagnosed to file suit. These are collectively known as a “discovery rule” exception to the statute of limitations and Virginia recognizes these exceptions in limited factual scenarios. Unlike other jurisdictions with broad discovery rules, these rules only apply in very fact-specific scenarios.

What Happens When a Suit is Filed?

If a patient, after consulting with an attorney, believes that they have been the victim of medical negligence and if they are still within the statute of limitations, then they may file a medical malpractice suit. However, just because a suit was filed does not necessarily mean that the case will go to court. In Virginia, provisions are made for a medical malpractice review panel, which may be requested by either the plaintiff or the defendant if a suit is filed. The review panel is appointed by the State Supreme Court and consists of a judge, two attorneys, and two healthcare professionals with no personal or professional attachment to the case. If a case proceeds to a jury trial, expert witnesses become key elements of the trial. A seasoned medical malpractice attorney will know what expert witnesses are best-suited to testifying in your case.

Limitations on Damages

If a suit is decided in the plaintiff’s favor, there are limitations on the amount of damages he or she may be awarded. The amount of the cap is defined in Section 8.01-581.15 of the state code and that amount changes depending on when the act of negligence occurred. For acts of negligence occurring between July 1, 2008 and June 30, 2012, the damage cap is $2 million. For those occurring between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013, the cap is $2.05 million. From July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2031, the cap will increase by $200,000 every year. After June 30, 2031, the cap will be $3 million.

Examples of Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice may occur at the hands of anyone involved in a patient’s care: doctors, nurses, surgeons, anesthesiologists, physician’s assistants, technicians, radiologists, paramedics, and others. Each of these caregivers is charged with providing appropriate care and following established protocols for ensuring patient safety. The Arlington, VA medical malpractice attorneys with our firm offer legal representation to patients and their families harmed by negligence including:

  • Physician Error – inadequate training, recklessness, carelessness, fatigue, burnout, lack of communication, high case loads
  • Hospital Error – poor maintenance, inadequate reporting systems, cost-cutting measures, insufficient staffing, poorly designed facilities
  • Medication Error – inadequate review of medical history, lack of communication, unclear prescriptions, dangerous drug interactions, dosing error
  • Surgical Error – wrong site surgery, wrong patient surgery, surgical implements left inside a patient, amputation error
  • Diagnosis Error – failure to diagnose, delayed diagnosis, misdiagnosis
  • Birth Injury – failure to monitor baby and/or mother during labor, failure to detect signs of fetal distress, delayed c-section, medication and anesthesia errors, failure to diagnose birth complications, Cerebral Palsy, brachial plexus injury, nerve damage, and injuries associated with forceps or vacuum-assisted births

People seek medical treatment for healing. While they may not be able to obtain full health and recovery, they should not expect to leave treatment with new injuries or in worse condition than they were before seeking medical care. Patients have the right to expect that they will be treated according to professional standards and will receive adequate care for their illnesses and injuries. However, this does not always happen, and in such instances it is invaluable to have an Arlington, VA medical malpractice attorney representing your interests.

Medical Malpractice Lawyers in Arlington, Virginia

If you or someone you love has been injured by medical negligence in Arlington, Virginia, finding skillful legal representation is key to getting the compensation you deserve from those liable for your injuries. Contact our offices today to speak with an Arlington, VA medical malpractice lawyer equipped to handle your case. Our firm also handles medical malpractice cases in the District of Columbia.