What Is Medical Malpractice in Fairfax?

The term medical malpractice refers to an action brought against a healthcare provider in the Commonwealth of Virginia when where you have received medical attention that falls below a standard of care in the corresponding practice area, which has then resulted in damages. If you have suffered due the negligence of a doctor or hospital you may be eligible to file a medical malpractice claim. To discuss your case call and schedule a consultation with a Fairfax medical malpractice lawyer today.

Elements of a Fairfax Medical Malpractice Claim

The elements of medical malpractice that you would have to prove in a Fairfax medical malpractice case would be:

  • Demonstrating that a duty existed
  • And that a breach of that duty occurred.

In medical malpractice cases the duty is to provide care that complies with or exceeds that standard of care in Virginia and the breach of that duty would be showing that the medical care you received fell below that level. I If you show those two things, a duty and a breach of that duty, then you have established liability.

Once this first step is taken, you have to show causation and damages. So sometimes there could be a medical malpractice claim where the doctor provided care that was negligent and fell below the standard of care, but didn’t result in any damages or harm and in that case, you probably wouldn’t actually end up filing the claim. In order to recover damages, you need to have been harmed by the doctor’s negligent action. Causation bridges the gap between liability and damages, being able to show that the harm or the damages you suffered actually were caused by the deviation from the standard of care.

At What Point Does a Medical Mistake Become Medical Malpractice?

That’s going to depend on what type of mistake that was made and what the harm is ultimately because a mistake doesn’t necessarily constitute malpractice. Doctors make mistakes, they’re humans, and sometimes even the utmost care cannot prevent all potential harms. In the medical field, there are often risks that are known as acceptable risks associated with any given procedure or surgery. If you are injured by what is understood as an acceptable risk, then you may need to explore whether or not you were given informed consent of such risks. Where a mistake rises to the level of malpractice will be a question that requires expert medical testimony to answer.  No lawyer really is in a position to say what that is. In Virginia, you’re almost always going to need to have an expert establish the applicable standard of care.

Now, there are certain exceptions. If someone intraoperatively leaves a sponge in a patient for instance, that’s a case that you might not need an expert for standard of care because it’s so obvious that leaving sponges in patients is not what doctors are supposed to be doing. However, it is almost always better to be on the safe side and to have an expert to establish standard of care, to establish what the breach was, and to help bolster your case that way.

What Are Some Unique Aspects of Medical Malpractice in Fairfax?

The process is the same virtually throughout Virginia. Fairfax is somewhat unique in that the average practitioner in the medical community in Fairfax might be more skilled than in some other, more rural parts of Virginia. The standard of care in Virginia is typically a state-wide standard of care all across Virginia, but in the right case, a Fairfax doctor may be required to go  beyond the state-wide standard of care.

This would be case-specific and is an exception to the general rule that Virginia has a state-wide standard of care, but such circumstances could occur. The number of hospitals in the area, the resources available to the hospitals, and the sophistication of the providers, as well as the clients, may differ from some other parts of Virginia.  Additionally, if you end up filing a medical malpractice action in Fairfax Circuit Court, in may move more quickly through the court system than in some other Virginia Counties. In general, though,  Fairfax medical malpractice cases will be similar to medical malpractice cases elsewhere in Virginia.