Norfolk Medical Malpractice Attorney
When we visit a medical professional to assist us with a health concern, we trust that we will receive the highest level of care and they will keep us safe. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. If you or someone you know suffered injuries due to the negligence or misconduct of a medical professional, you have rights. Trying to understand the complex area of medical malpractice law without a Norfolk medical malpractice attorney could result in losing out the compensation you deserve. Read on to learn more about medical malpractice claims and how a Norfolk med mal lawyer can help you get the support you need.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
In Virginia, medical malpractice encompasses personal injuries or wrongful death resulting from negligent care provided by healthcare professionals to their patients. These cases hinge on the existence of a healthcare provider-patient relationship and the failure of the provider to meet the accepted standard of care. If a patient’s injuries or death can be attributed to such negligence, they may be eligible for compensation, subject to a statute of limitations and often requiring expert testimony to establish the provider’s breach of care standards.
How Does an Attorney Prove Medical Malpractice?
Your attorney proves your medical malpractice claim by establishing the medical provider’s negligence. Medical malpractice may result from the actions of a doctor, hospital, nurse, or another healthcare provider. Four essential elements must be present to establish a negligence claim.
Medical providers must follow specific standards of care established by the medical community. Each patient has the right to expect their medical provider to uphold these standards when providing them with health-related services. If the provider does not adhere to these standards of care, they could be liable for any resultant injuries.
A breach occurs when a medical provider fails to uphold this standard of care when providing medical services.
Your lawyer must prove that the healthcare provider’s breach of this duty of care resulted in your harm. In other words, your lawyer must establish that their breach of duty caused your injuries. There must be a direct causal connection between your injuries and the medical care provided. In many cases, this can be tough to establish without the help of a legal professional.
You must suffer damages as a result of the medical provider’s breach. Damages include physical, financial, and emotional harm.
Speaking to a Norfolk medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible after you suffer injuries is vital. They get to work immediately to establish the required elements of negligence you have a greater chance of succeeding on your claim. Obtaining the compensation you deserve is vital to moving forward after such a traumatizing and life-changing experience.
Is There a Statute of Limitations?
A statute of limitations provides the period within which one must file a lawsuit. A failure to file your lawsuit within this period forever bars them from bringing a claim later. Virginia law provides a medical malpractice statute of limitations of two years from the date of injury. In the unfortunate circumstance where a loved one loses their life in a suspected medical malpractice claim, the filing party has two years from the date of the death.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations
While there are exceptions to the filing periods dictated by law, these are only granted in specific and relatively rare situations. For example, if a child suffered injuries and is under 8, the child has until their 10th birthday to file their lawsuit.
Commonwealth of Virginia Employee
When a doctor or nurse employed by the Commonwealth of Virginia is responsible for medical malpractice that injures you, the claim must be brought under the Virginia Tort Claims Act. Under the Virginia Tort Claims Act, all claims must be filed within one year of the malpractice and are limited to $100,000 in compensation.
There is another exception to this statute of limitations under the continuing treatment rule. In situations where there has been uninterrupted treatment for the same condition by a healthcare provider, the injured party must file their medical malpractice lawsuit within two years from the last treatment.
Another exception exists when a foreign object is left in a patient without their knowledge. In this situation, the injured victim has two years from the date of injury or one year after the patient discovers or should have discovered the foreign object—whichever is longer. The law caps this extension of the statute of limitations to 10 years from the date of injury.
Medical malpractice claims are complicated and require the assistance of a medical malpractice lawyer in Norfolk. Your attorney keeps track of all deadlines to ensure you take advantage of every opportunity to assert your right to compensation.
What Can I Recover?
Succeeding on a medical malpractice claim allows you to recover compensatory damages in the form of special and general damages. General damages (i.e., economic damages) represent direct financial losses stemming from your injury and include the following:
- Medical expenses,
- Lost wages, and
- Loss of future earnings.
Your attorney calculates your general damages demand by reviewing all documentation related to your claim, including medical bills, invoices, pay stubs, and other similar evidence.
Special damages (i.e., noneconomic damages) represent intangible losses resulting from your injury’s psychological and emotional effects. These damages include the following:
- Pain and suffering,
- Emotional distress,
- Loss of enjoyment of life,
- Loss of consortium,
- Permanent injury, and
Though challenging to prove, special damages compensate victims for the losses that significantly disrupt their way of life—but are not always physically apparent.
Virginia caps medical malpractice damage claims at $2.55 million for July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023, and $2.60 million for July 1, 2023, through June 30, 2024. This cap increases by $50,000 every year until 2031 when the cap will be $3 million.
Contact Our Norfolk Medical Malpractice Lawyer
At The Law Firm of Carlton F. Bennett, PLLC, we help injured victims get the compensation they need. Our team understands that after such a traumatic experience, you need to be able to rely on someone who can help support you through this uncertain and challenging time. Regardless of your injury, we work closely with you to ensure you receive the personal attention and legal services you deserve. Our focus and priority are helping you and your family get compensation for your losses. Contact us today for a free consultation.