Fairfax Medical Malpractice Lawyer

The primary goal of medical treatment of any condition is restored health and function. If a health care practitioner fails to provide a professionally acceptable standard of care, and his or her negligence harms the patient, the victim of that negligence may be able to obtain financial compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit. Those that file a claim against a medical caregiver must be prepared for vigorous defense by malpractice insurers. To combat this defensive stance and to maximize the potential for a favorable settlement or judgment, plaintiffs should seek quality legal representation from an experienced Fairfax medical malpractice lawyer. The skilled Fairfax, VA injury lawyers at our firm are equipped to fight for you.

What is Medical Malpractice in Fairfax?

Medical malpractice, also known as medical negligence, occurs when a doctor, nurse, or other health care provider fails to practice a level of care accepted as standard by the medical Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Fairfax, VAcommunity, and this substandard care results in patient harm or injury. Every medical procedure and treatment carries some risk. Not every patient is able to achieve full recovery, even under the best care. A bad outcome or lack of recovery alone, however, does not indicate that malpractice has occurred. Rather, the patient injury must be the result of a medical provider’s negligence, recklessness, or carelessness.

In a similar vein, medical professionals are simply human, and as such, they are likely to make mistakes. A medical mistake that does not cause any harm to the patient is considered a “harmless error,” and as such, is not compensable. In order to prove medical malpractice, a plaintiff must be able to demonstrate the four elements of medical malpractice. One major role of a Fairfax medical malpractice lawyer is to build such a case and present it in court.

The Four Elements of Medical Malpractice

Health care providers are not liable for bad medical outcomes per se. Generally, they are only liable if bad medical outcomes are the result of a deviation from practice guidelines. Medical malpractice legal actions are very complex because the claimant’s medical malpractice attorney must establish and provide proof of the following:

  • Duty: Duty refers to the health care provider’s responsibility to provide the claimant with a reasonable standard of care. In a legal sense, this duty is owed in the context of a physician/patient relationship or whenever any health care provider undertakes the treatment of a patient.
  • Breach: By failing to deliver this standard of care, the health care provider breached his or her duty.
  • Causation: Breaching the standard of care injured or sickened the patient in some way or contributed to an injury or illness. A health care-related malpractice claim doesn’t depend upon a finding of negligence alone. Consider, for instance, a patient who goes to a doctor’s office with a nagging cough. The first physician who sees the patient diagnoses a cold. Later, another physician enters the room and presents the correct diagnosis, which is lung cancer. No legal harm can be said to have come to the patient, even though the initial diagnosis was incorrect.
  • Damages: Damages refer to the losses sustained by the patient because of the injury. Damages can be collected for physical or emotional loss, and form the basis for financial compensation. In theory, a claimant is free to pursue legal options even when his or her injuries are not severe. In practice, however, the costs of the legal action will be more than the compensation recovered unless the injuries are extremely serious and require on-going medical treatment and care for either physical injury or illness or emotional trauma.

How Often Does Malpractice Occur?

The medical profession would have the general public believe that incidents of medical negligence are rare, and that most lawsuits are frivolous. However, statistics show that preventable medical errors occur with shocking regularity, and only a small percentage of these cases are litigated. As many as 15 million people are harmed by medical mistakes each year, and nearly 100,000 people die each year from preventable medical errors. It is estimated that 1.5 million Adverse Drug Events (ADE) occur from medication mistakes annually, and as many as 40 wrong side, wrong site, and wrong patient surgical procedures occur each week in the United States, according to some estimates.

Unfortunately, injuries caused by the negligence of health care providers are more common than most people may realize. A recent study published in the Journal of Patient Safety in September of 2013 estimated that between 210,000 and 400,000 people die each year due to preventable harm caused by hospitals. The study received a fair amount of media coverage, due in large part to the fact that the study doubled or quadrupled estimates made from previous studies.

Medication errors are among the most common of all hospital errors. Either a patient is given the wrong medication or the wrong dosage of the correct medication. Other common hospital errors include surgical errors, nosocomial infections and pressure sores, which are entirely preventable. Surgical errors include leaving foreign objects inside the body, such as swabs or clamp, or operating in the wrong area of the body as well as slip-ups with anesthesia administration.

The most potentially dangerous physician errors, however, are often related to misdiagnoses. They are also typically among the most expensive physician errors. Between 1986 and 2010, more than $38 billion was paid out in misdiagnosis-related payments, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

If you have been harmed by a medical professional charged with your care, you have the right to pursue financial compensation for your injuries. Compensation may be available for pain and suffering, lost wages or reduced earning potential, lost income and benefits, medical expenses, funeral and burial expenses, loss of companionship, and in some cases, punitive damages may be awarded. You and your family should not have to suffer as a result of someone else’s professional negligence. Consult a Fairfax medical malpractice attorney to find out how you can get the compensation you deserve.

Retaining a Fairfax Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Medical malpractice statutes vary from state to state. If you’ve suffered an injury caused by the negligence of a health care provider in Fairfax County, Virginia and want to review your legal options, your best recourse is to speak with a qualified Fairfax medical malpractice lawyer, ideally one who has litigated numerous medical malpractice claims.

At the heart of every medical malpractice legal action is a dispute over what constitutes a professional standard of care. This standard is established by the medical community. These care standards are often codified by hospital policies, procedures, and accreditation standards. A malpractice attorney in Vienna is more likely to be familiar with Vienna hospital policies and procedures than a malpractice attorney working in another part of the state. The same is true for medical malpractice attorneys working in Springfield, Chantilly, Herndon, Centreville, Reston and other towns and unincorporated areas throughout the state. Therefore, finding a local Fairfax medical malpractice attorney with ties to the community or region where you were injured is a marked advantage.

If you or someone you love has been harmed by substandard medical care in Fairfax County, it is important to consult an attorney as soon as possible. Medical malpractice claims are governed by a statute of limitations that may prevent you from seeking a damage award after a certain amount of time has passed. Any delay in filing your claim may provide ammunition for malpractice insurers who attempt to deny that your injury is associated with the medical treatment you received.

Our experienced Fairfax medical malpractice lawyers provide assertive representation to victims of medical negligence in the hospitals and medical facilities of Fairfax County, Virginia. The most populous county in Virginia, Fairfax is home to the CIA and to four major hospitals that serve the medical needs of the area:

  • Inova Fair Oaks Hospital, Fairfax
  • Inova Fairfax Hospital, Falls Church
  • Inova Mount Vernon Hospital, Alexandria
  • Reston Hospital Center, Reston

If you or a loved one has been injured by medical negligence in Fairfax County, contact a Fairfax medical malpractice lawyer with Price our law firm for a free initial consultation to see how we can help.