Virginia Medical Malpractice Trials 

Virginia medical malpractice trials may be bench trials but are most commonly going to be jury trials. Both parties must give opening statements in a medical malpractice action. The moving party or plaintiff always presents their case first. The defendant presents their case second. Typically, the medical providers, doctors, hospital, or other entities that are sued as a result of a medical malpractice claim will present their case second.

Both parties are entitled to present a closing statement that wraps up their evidence and concludes what has been presented and why it meets the burden of proof. Closing statements to a jury are offered after the jury’s instructions are given. If you want to understand the process of a medical malpractice trial in Virginia, speak with an experienced attorney who can advocate for you.

Presenting Evidence

In Virginia medical malpractice trials, the injured party, meaning the plaintiff, has the burden of proof. This means that they must prove their cause of action by a preponderance of the evidence. They must offer proof as to why the defendant should be liable, how they are liable, and what damages should be awarded.

A defendant does not have to present any evidence if the plaintiff is unable to prove their claim. The defendant offers their evidence to determine why their clients are not liable for the damage and injuries suffered. There may be rebuttable evidence that applies. The moving party always has the burden of proof, and they typically are going to be the party that drives the action in a medical malpractice case.

Trial Involving Multiple Defendants

Litigation that includes multiple defendants will proceed in a number of ways. There may be separate Virginia medical malpractice trials, but most typically, there is going to be a trial at one place with multiple defendants.  Multiple defendants create a number of issues for both sides.

For an attorney, multiple defendants create the issue for a jury trying to determine who is at fault and potentially having one party blame the other. That is one of the issues. One party blames the other and the jury may be conflicted as to who is liable.

In another situation, it can be beneficial, because the jury may find all parties liable and may increase the damages available for the injured party.

Elements in Medical Malpractice Cases

One of the important things that litigators will focus on in addition to things like discovery, medical bills, medical records, statements, and deposition, is expert witness testimony. Expert witness testimony has to flush out through both discovery responses. They are very important in bringing expert witness information. It is a very important part of the medical malpractice litigation process. It is important in every case, but more so in this kind of case.

Duration of Litigation

Generally, the time the case goes through litigation depends upon the time required for trial, the length of the case, the defendant, and the locality in which the case is tried. Some jurisdictions take significantly longer than others for a case to be filed to get to trial. Generally, the Virginia Supreme Court attempts to have all trials tried within one year from the date it is filed. In practical terms, this is not always possible, particularly if they cannot get records.

Factors That Affect Case Duration

There are a variety of factors that may influence the case and how long it takes or how brief it is. One of the things that may influence it is whether or not the trial is a bench trial or a jury trial. Jurors take longer to present because of breaks, objections, and things of that nature that take up time.

Another factor in Virginia medical malpractice trials is the experts. Typically in medical malpractice cases, there is an occurrence of battle of experts, meaning a lot of different expert witnesses are required to properly present the case.

Sometimes there may be objections to the experts, foundations that must be laid and the expert witness testimony cannot be short. The amount of information that must be taken in these cases is something that will be considered in every case. It could make the case take substantially longer. It is not uncommon for a medical malpractice case to last a week or more.

Role of an Attorney

The challenge for most attorneys in Virginia medical malpractice trials is making sure that information is kept straight, especially if the different parties are liable for different portions of the case. They have to make sure to keep it straight to avoid confusion with the judge or the jury.

That being said, a qualified medical malpractice lawyer will be more than capable of sharing the facts of the case in a manner that is both easy to understand and effective. If you have sustained injuries as the result of medical malpractice, get in contact with an attorney who can strive to get the best possible outcome for you.