The statistics are sobering. Injuries due to medical malpractice are the third leading cause of death in the United States after cancer and heart disease. And this finding acknowledges that medical errors are an under-recognized cause of death.
If you or a loved one has experienced medical malpractice, contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation. The legal team at The Law Firm of Carlton F. Bennett, PLLC, has extensive experience handling such claims and is ready to help you through this difficult time.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
When seeking medical attention, we expect to end up better off than before the medical treatment. However, this is not always the case, even with the most skilled healthcare professionals. But not every poor outcome is medical malpractice.
Medical malpractice involves a healthcare provider’s error that leads to a patient’s death, injury, or illness. In such cases, that provider could be responsible for a patient’s losses.
Common Types of Medical Malpractice Cases
Medical malpractice claims can arise in a variety of contexts. Claims can involve a medical facility, nurse, emergency room, oncologist, physical therapist, or other medical professionals or facilities. The most common medical malpractice claims include:
- Surgical errors,
- Delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis,
- Misinterpreting the results of a diagnostic test,
- Anesthesia errors,
- Birth injuries,
- Wrongful birth,
- Administration of the wrong medication,
- Failure to treat a diagnosed condition, and
- Use of unsterile tools.
Medical malpractice can occur due to a range of circumstances.
What Compensation Is Available in Medical Malpractice Cases?
Virginia’s Medical Malpractice Act caps medical malpractice damages. Compensatory damages available in a medical malpractice case fall into two categories: economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages include the following:
- Medical expenses (past, present, and future);
- Lost wages;
- Lost earning capacity;
- Lost benefits;
- Cost of adaptive devices;
- Rehabilitation services; and
- Cost of at-home assistance.
Economic damages are easy to calculate because you can simply add up bills and invoices and use pay records to calculate lost income.
Noneconomic damages are more difficult to calculate because they do not represent actual monetary losses. Such damages include the following:
- Pain and suffering,
- Mental anguish,
- Disfigurement, and
- Loss of quality of life.
Noneconomic damages are also more difficult to prove. Therefore, it is critical that you have an experienced medical malpractice attorney representing you.
In addition to economic and noneconomic damages, punitive damages may be available up to the maximum damages allowed. A court can award punitive damages when the defendant acted maliciously, recklessly, or in a fraudulent manner.
Factors Impacting the Value of a Medical Malpractice Case
Each case is different, so it can be challenging to predict the value. The same injury can impact different individuals in dramatically different ways. Several factors, however, guide a skilled attorney who evaluates the facts of your particular case. These factors include:
- The severity of your physical injuries,
- The extent of damages,
- The overall strength of your case for the defendant’s liability,
- The defendant’s ability to pay,
- The complexity of your case, and
- The experience and skill of the attorney handling your case.
In general, if the medical malpractice results in severe, life-threatening injuries, the claim’s value will be much higher than in cases with minor physical injuries. Also, certain malpractice cases are more difficult to prove. In such cases, the value of the case might be lower. The only way to obtain a reasonable estimate of what to expect in your case is to contact an experienced med mal attorney in Hampton.
How Can a Medical Malpractice Attorney Help?
A Hampton medical malpractice lawyer can help you in several ways. Gathering all the evidence required to prove your case can be costly and time-consuming. An experienced med mal attorney has adequate resources to collect and organize the evidence and hire the appropriate experts to prove your case.
Additionally, only the most experienced personal injury attorney will know how to best meet the burden of proof. In a Virginia medical malpractice case, the plaintiff must prove negligence by proving the following:
- The healthcare provider owed you a duty of care,
- The provider breached that duty by failing to comply with the applicable standard of care,
- You were damaged and suffered harm, and
- The healthcare provider was the proximate or immediate cause of your harm.
As the plaintiff, you must prove your case by a preponderance of the evidence. You must prove that the defendant is liable and that you are entitled to the requested damages.
How Long Do I Have to File a Medical Malpractice Case?
In general, you have two years from the date of the negligent act to file your medical malpractice case. The statute of limitations for medical malpractice in Virginia determines how long you have to file a medical malpractice case. Limited exceptions under Virginia law can extend this two-year statute of limitations. The two years can be extended in actions against a healthcare provider in cases where:
- A foreign object is left in your body,
- You received continuous medical treatment from the healthcare provider, or
- Intentional concealment, misrepresentation, or fraud prevented you from discovering the injury within the two-year statute of limitations.
These exceptions account for the fact that certain victims may not have realized they sustained an injury during the relevant time frame. The so-called “discovery rule” extends the time a claimant has to file a medical malpractice claim. The time may extend beyond the two-year statute of limitations. However, the complete cutoff is 10 years from when the malpractice occurred. So don’t delay. Contact a medical malpractice attorney as soon as you can.
Contact an Experienced Hampton Medical Malpractice Attorney
Defendants hire some of the best lawyers in Virginia to defend medical malpractice cases. You should have the best representation, too. With over four decades of experience representing injured victims, The Law Firm of Carlton F. Bennett, PLLC, will put its resources to work for you. Principal attorney, Carlton Bennett, has proven to be a reliable advocate and trusted advisor. Our past case results, including numerous multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts, speak for themselves.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries due to a healthcare provider’s negligence, call or contact us online for a free consultation. Our firm charges nothing unless we recover money for you.