When you go to the doctor for an annual physical or to get a specific issue checked out, you have the reasonable expectation that you will receive high-quality care. Unfortunately, diagnostic errors remain a serious problem. A study published in the peer-reviewed journal BMJ Quality & Safety found that “diagnostic errors were the leading type” of medical malpractice claims.
A timely and accurate diagnosis is critical. Without it, proper treatment may be delayed or even denied altogether. In Virginia, a doctor can be held liable for harm caused by a negligent misdiagnosis or a negligent delayed diagnosis. Here, our Virginia Beach medical malpractice lawyer highlights the key things that patients should know about doctor misdiagnosis claims in Virginia.
When is a Diagnostic Error Medical Malpractice in Virginia?
Modern medicine is complicated. It is not always easy to diagnose an illness, injury, or other medical condition. Virginia law certainly does not expect physicians to be perfect. At the same time, doctors are required to provide patients with high-quality care. Here is the key thing to know about liability for a misdiagnosis or failed diagnosis in Virginia:
- To bring a successful medical malpractice claim, a plaintiff must prove that a reasonably prudent doctor who was placed under similar conditions would have been more likely than not to provide the correct diagnosis.
In effect, Virginia law requires plaintiffs to establish the appropriate standard of care, demonstrate that the doctor or healthcare provider deviated from the applicable legal standard, and prove that harm was suffered as a result. Medical malpractice lawsuits are notoriously complex and comprehensive evidence is necessary.
Virginia Medical Malpractice: Statute of Limitations
Patients have a limited amount of time to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Virginia. Under Commonwealth law (Code of Virginia § 8.01-243), most medical malpractice claims—including misdiagnosis claims and failure to diagnosis claims—are subject to a two-year statute of limitations. If you fail to file before the relevant statutory deadline, your malpractice case may simply be dismissed without a hearing. Protect your rights: Consult with an experienced Virginia Beach medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.
Expert Witness Testimony is Generally Needed to Establish the Standard of Care
In Virginia, plaintiffs generally need expert witness testimony to bring a medical malpractice claim against a physician or medical provider. Among other things, expert witnesses help to confirm the standard of care that the defendant (doctor) should have abided by in the case. An expert witness is someone with demonstrated knowledge and/or proficiency in a particular field.
As the Supreme Court of Virginia explained in the case of Perdieu v. Blackstone Family Practice Center, Inc., “a witness shall be qualified to testify as an expert on the standard of care if he demonstrates expert knowledge of the standards of the defendant’s specialty.”
If you were the victim of a misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose, an experienced Virginia medical malpractice lawyer can help connect you with the qualified expert witnesses you need to bring a legal case.
Call Our Virginia Beach, VA Medical Malpractice Attorney for Help
At The Law Firm of Carlton F. Bennett, P.L.L.C., our Virginia medical negligence lawyer is a skilled, effective advocate for patients and their families. If you or your loved one suffered harm due to a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, we are here to help. Contact our team now to set up a free, fully private initial consultation. We represent clients in medical malpractice claims throughout the entire Hampton Roads region, including in Newport News, Chesapeake, Norfolk, and Williamsburg.