Mistakes To Avoid When Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim in Virginia

If you have suffered due to the negligence of a doctor or other medical professional, the following are the biggest mistakes you should avoid when filing your claim. For more specific information regarding your case, call and schedule a consultation with a Virginia medical malpractice lawyer today.

Waiting Too Long To File a Claim

One of the most common mistakes people make is receiving care at a state facility and then going on Google and looking up the statute of limitations and seeing that the general statute of limitations is two years. Most people know that there is such a thing as the statute of limitations, but they don’t normally know about notice provisions for government entities which is shorter. In a lot of cases, people who have suffered an injury from medical malpractice go on Google and find out that malpractice victims in Virginia generally have two years within which to bring to a claim, and so they are not really worried about their claim for that first year. Then they find out a year and six months later that all their providers were actually employed by the Commonwealth of Virginia.  In that case, they will probably be unable to provide the statutory notice that is required and will likely be barred from any claim.

Not Disclosing Prior Medical History

Another example is that people will oftentimes fail to disclose to their attorneys their prior medical history. The prior medical history is extremely important in sorting out how a case is going to shape up. Medical history is important at from the very beginning during the initial screening because people who have been  injured often think in terms of the ultimate goal of obtaining recovery and they may only think about things that are directly related to the case in their minds. They might not understand that their prior history dictates their outcomes, the risks involved, and the standard of care for providing them treatment.

Clients might not think it’s important to tell their lawyer that they suffered from, say diabetes, but every single thing in their medical history is important because their medical history can dictate the applicable standard of care and can determine whether the defendant doctor treated the patient appropriately or not. Doctors have to go through certain steps depending on how their patient presents, and if the patient doesn’t let their lawyer know, that lawyer can’t let the expert witnesses know, and then they might be hamstrung in pursuing a claim because of the failure to share their medical history fully with their lawyer.

How Can Someone Avoid Making These Mistakes?

The easiest way is just to be open and honest with your lawyer. We benefit from the attorney-client privilege, which protects all confidential communications between the attorney and the client. This privilege exists to foster open communications, making sure clients can tell their lawyers what all their issues are so that lawyers can best represent those clients.

That’s the one thing that people mess up when it’s easy to actually avoid. Just don’t withhold things from your lawyer, share everything. Your lawyer represents you, they are bound by privilege.

With that said, the biggest thing is just being open and honest with your lawyer: answering their questions, providing the information, and being accessible.