Virginia Beach Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Virginia law makes it clear that a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit can be filed against a health care provider for malpractice based on problems with medical treatment. Health care provider is defined very broadly under Virginia law and includes, among others, physicians, chiropractors, medical practices, HMOs, dental hygienists, EMTs, and hospitals [Virginia Code Section 8.01-581.1]. If any provider is responsible for causing harm to patients, a Virginia Beach medical malpractice lawyer may be able to help victims obtain compensation.

Virginia Laws on Medical Malpractice

A patient can recover compensation for a health care provider’s negligence upon showing:

  • The provider had an obligation to the patient.
  • The provider negligently failed to live up to that obligation.
  • The patient suffered direct harm as a result of the provider’s failure.
  • There are damages that a patient can be compensated for.

Doctors and other health care providers are held to a professional standard of care, which is defined by statute. The “standard of care by which the acts or omissions are to be judged shall be that degree of skill and diligence practiced by a reasonably prudent practitioner in the field of practice or specialty in this Commonwealth…” [Virginia Code Section 8.01-581.20]. To determine whether medical negligence occurred, the treatment a provider rendered to a patient is compared with what a reasonably competent provider in Virginia with a similar background practicing in the same field of practice or specialty would have done under the circumstances.

Expert testimony is necessary to establish the standard of care and to demonstrate that the medical care provided deviated from the standard of care, resulting in injury to the patient. Because there is room for a certain amount of interpretation in such a comparison, it is prudent to work with a Virginia Beach medical malpractice lawyer to ensure that your rights as a patient are rigorously upheld during any investigations or assessments that take place.

Types of Medical Malpractice

Both acts as well as omissions can lead to a medical negligence claim under Virginia law. For example, a case for medical negligence could be brought after:

  • A surgical instrument was left inside a patient, or the wrong patient or wrong body part was operated on. A Johns Hopkins study revealed that these types of malpractice occur around 4,000 times annually.
  • A misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis occurs. US News reports that the majority of malpractice payouts occur because of missed or incorrect diagnoses.
  • Botched treatment during routine medical procedures. A Harvard study indicated that thousands of patients suffer significant injuries or deaths annually due to errors made during screening, therapeutic, and diagnostic procedures.
  • A medication error occurs. This could involve patients being administered the wrong type of medication or the wrong dose of a drug.

These are just a few of many examples in which errors in the care can have tragic consequences. When a patient is harmed by medical malpractice, he can file a personal injury claim or lawsuit seeking compensation with the help of a Virginia Beach medical malpractice attorney. The American Association for Justice reports that each year, as many as 440,000 people die from preventable medical mistakes. Those who lose loved ones to these unnecessary deaths may be able to recover damages through a wrongful death claim or lawsuit. In Virginia, wrongful death lawsuits must be brought in the name of the personal representative of the deceased [Virginia Code Section 8.01-50].

Hiring a Virginia Beach Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Malpractice victims should be compensated for medical costs; wage losses; emotional distress and pain and suffering resulting from the substandard medical care received.  If the patient died, wrongful death damages can include lost companionship, funeral expenses, medical costs before the death, and loss of the deceased’s contributions to the family through income and services the deceased provided. Virginia Code Section 8.01-581.15 imposed limits on recovery for certain malpractice actions.

These limits, as of 2015, are set at $2.20 million. The doctor who provided care, as well as the physician’s employer and other professionals involved in the treatment could all potentially be held responsible for compensating victims. A Virginia Beach medical malpractice lawyer can help determine who to take action against and can either negotiate with the malpractice insurer on your behalf or present your case to a jury in trial.