When you visit a medical professional, a doctor, dentist, you are placing your life and medical care into their hands. You believe that their education and training has made them experts in their field, able to provide the right medicine or perform the right diagnosis or treatment.
But when these experts make a mistake, the effects can be life changing. An error in treatment diagnosis or surgery, assigning the wrong dosage, or not using the right amount of anesthesia can lead to long lasting injuries, emotional trauma, and substantial future medical costs & care.
Medication errors, misdiagnoses, and surgical errors are common causes of medical malpractice injuries and illnesses. These injuries are particularly tragic because we trust our doctors to know what they are doing and abide by the standard of care when they treat us.
If your doctor’s negligence, hospital’s negligence, or an emergency room error has caused you to suffer serious injuries or caused the wrongful death of someone you love, contact a Richmond medical malpractice attorney at Cravens & Noll. We can help you determine whether a medical malpractice claim is viable and in your best interest, and an estimate of what the likely financial recovery may be.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Many people leave a doctor’s office or hospital feeling worse than when they entered. Despite this being a common occurrence, not every example counts as medical malpractice. In Virginia, this particular definition is very specific.
Medical malpractice occurs anytime a medical practitioner, like a doctor, nurse, dentist, or medical provider fails to perform their duties in providing appropriate care for their patients. There are three main components that make a medical malpractice case viable:
- A violation of the standard of care: Under Virginia Law, medical practitioners are held to standards common for their field. The “standard of care” is the level of care that is commonly recognized and expected among other practitioners in the field. If the plaintiff can prove that the healthcare provider failed to act within the standard of care, there may be a case of malpractice.
- An injury is caused by negligence: One of the most difficult things to prove in a medical malpractice case is that negligence is the cause of the injury. The plaintiff must prove that the failure to follow the standard of care was caused due to the practitioner’s negligence and nothing else. In Virginia, the injury must be proximately or directly related to the injury alleged and be the cause of that injury.
- The injury led to significant damage: The last piece needed to consider before pursuing a medical malpractice case is the level of damages sustained by the plaintiff. If the patient has suffered significant damages like prolonged and intense pain, loss of income, inability to pay medical bills, or general suffering, then there might be a cognizable case. Medical malpractice cases are very expensive and time consuming to litigate. Because of the statutory cap on damages and the requirement to have an expert certify the case and an expert to testify at trial, many cases cost $40,000 – $75,000 to pursue. Moreover, the average malpractice case requires hundreds of man hours to pursue and amounting to the cost to the firm of tens of thousands of dollars. Because of these costs, many cases of medical malpractice are simply not economically viable regardless of whether medical malpractice exists.
Without all three elements, you cannot successfully argue a medical malpractice case in Virginia.
It is very difficult to pursue a case against a healthcare provider. It requires many steps and specific parameters be met. If you believe you might have a case, it is important to consult an experienced medical malpractice attorney. They can assess whether bringing your case to court is a viable venture.
Common Types of Medical Malpractice in Virginia
Medical malpractice is unfortunately common across the United States. When a doctor or other medical practitioner fails to properly perform their job, the patient is often the one who suffers the most.
Here are a few all too common examples of medical malpractice:
- Hospital negligence
- Emergency room errors
- Birth injuries
- Delayed diagnosis
- Nursing home abuse
- Surgical errors
- Anesthesia Errors
- Medication errors
Medical malpractice is not simply an unfavorable result from your treatment by a healthcare provider.
For example, you might visit a doctor for a headache. After giving you a thorough examination and diagnosis, they might recommend a prescription drug to help alleviate your pain. After they tell you about the side effects, you agree to the prescription.
If the drug does not alleviate your pain, that does not likely constitute medical malpractice. The doctor seemingly did everything they were supposed to pursuant to the applicable standards of care; therefore, medical negligence was most likely not involved.
For an injury or death to be malpractice, there must be negligence on the part of the medical practitioner. In Virginia, the plaintiff must bring evidence that the practitioner is responsible for the injury and that the injury was a result of the neglect.
Compensation for Malpractice Damages
When a medical professional fails to protect their patient from harm due to their negligence, the effects can be devastating. It is an unfortunate truth, but an irresponsible doctor, surgeon, nurse, or healthcare provider can cause life-altering changes to a patient’s body and mind.
Here are some common damages caused by medical malpractice:
- Preventable injury or death
- Loss of income
- Permanent disability
- Emotional trauma
- Pain and suffering
- Additional medical care and treatment
Each of these damages can alter your life and may cause or contribute to serious emotional distress. If you have experienced any of these due to a doctor’s negligence, you may deserve compensation. In Virginia, there is a statutory cap on the amount of damages plaintiffs can receive in “med mal” cases. The state limits these damages to $2.25 million dollars.
When to File for a Medical Malpractice Case
If you suspect that your injuries were caused due to negligence of a medical practitioner, you need to meet with a skilled attorney as soon as possible. Unfortunately, time is of the essence in a medical malpractice case.
In Virginia, there is a statute of limitations of two years to bring a medical malpractice case, meaning you cannot try the case after two years unless it falls under special circumstances that toll the statute of limitations clock.
Therefore, you should discuss the case with an attorney as soon as you have experienced negligence at the hand of a healthcare provider. The sooner you start to build your case, the sooner you can get relevant information, documents, and witnesses and preserve the evidence and testimony you will need at trial.
The Importance of a Quality Case Assessment
Anytime you consider pursuing a medical malpractice case, you are choosing an uphill battle. There is much to learn to understand or even begin to build a strong case against a medical professional or healthcare provider.
That is why you need an experienced and skilled attorney that knows how to navigate in this particular field. That’s why you need the dedicated attorneys at Cravens and Noll.
We have extensive medical malpractice experience. We call upon decades of trial experience and in-person knowledge. Because of the unique nature of medical malpractice litigation in Virginia, we prepare for trial from day one.
Our Richmond medical malpractice attorneys are particularly good at assessing medical practice cases on the front end. This is important because there is more risk with these cases due to the costs to litigate and the medical malpractice recovery cap. We know how to win these cases and get you results:
- We can provide you with rapid feedback during your initial consultation regarding the complexity and potential viability of your case.
- If you do have a meritorious case and decide to hire Cravens & Noll to handle your representation, we will map out a detailed case plan and school you about your injury, the medicine involved, and the experts we require to prove both liability and damage.
- You will work directly with medical experts to determine the extent of injury and damage. We have a stable of medical experts with whom we consult on a regular basis, and they are ready to help us evaluate your potential medical malpractice claim.
Generally, within 90 days of receiving a file, we know with confidence whether we are looking at a cognizable claim, and exactly why and what it will take to prove the case in court.
Overall, we care about your wellbeing. You’ve been through enough hardship and suffering. We are dedicated to building an impenetrable case to defend your rights in court, getting you the compensation you deserve while keeping negligent doctors from ruining someone else’s life.
Contact the Skilled Attorneys at Cravens and Noll
If you or a loved one have suffered an injury or death due to a medical practitioner’s negligence, you need a lawyer on your side who will fight for you, and the compensation you deserve.
Contact the attorneys of Cravens and Noll for your medical malpractice case. We treat every client like family, taking the time to truly understand their unique situation. We will stand by you through the entire process, making sure you can start getting your life back on track.