Medical malpractice cases often have a severe impact on patients or their friends and family. Malpractice can lead to a serious or traumatic injury, and sometimes even end in death to a patient. If you or a loved one was injured due to a medical provider’s negligence, call a medical malpractice attorney in Virginia.
The legal team at Tronfeld West & Durrett wants to help you recover compensation for your negligence-based malpractice injuries. Call today: 804-358-6741.
What is negligence-based medical malpractice?
Negligence-based medical malpractice is the most known type of malpractice. These cases occur when there is general neglect on the part of the health care professional (usually the patient’s doctor) that results in long-term or permanent damage to the patient.
To have a successful case, you must prove that there is a set standard of medical care and that your doctor did not meet this standard.
This negligence could be in the form of a misdiagnosis, an accident during a surgical procedure, or a wrongfully prescribed medication.
Knowing how each of these instances could affect you is crucial to building a stronger medical malpractice case if you are ever the victim of a doctor’s gross negligence.
Different Types of Negligence-Based Medical Malpractice
To determine whether you have a negligence-based medical malpractice case or not, it is important to first prove whether your doctor made one of the following mistakes:
Having your doctor misdiagnose you can lead to an incorrect or delayed treatment of your condition, which could cause further injuries or even death.
However, a misdiagnosis alone does not constitute medical malpractice.
For it to constitute a negligence-based medical malpractice case, you must be able to prove that you doctor did not diagnose your symptoms in a “reasonably skillful or competent manner.”
In addition, the misdiagnosis must have caused you harm, such as undergoing the wrong treatment or not receiving the correct treatment.
A surgical error can cause you more pain and extend your healing time after an operation. But, that being said, not all surgical errors are grounds for medical malpractice.
As much as we hate to admit it sometimes, mistakes do happen — even in the operating room.
For your injuries to be labeled malpractice, your surgeon’s error(s) must have fallen below what a reasonable expert would consider a medical standard of care.
Common examples of surgical errors include the following “never events”:
- Leaving a foreign object/surgical tool inside a patient
- Performing the wrong surgery on a patient
- Performing surgery on the wrong patient
- Performing surgery on the wrong body part
Wrongfully Prescribed Medication
There are a number of ways a physician can make an error prescribing drugs. These include:
- Prescribing the wrong type of medication
- Prescribing the wrong dosage of the medication
- Mislabeling the medication
- Failing to warn the patient of any side effects of the medication, including how it interacts with other medications and whether it could cause the patient to suffer an allergic reaction
Depending on where the error occurred your medical malpractice case could have an impact on more than just your doctor. You could bring up a suit against a nurse, the hospital, pharmacy, or pharmacist who helped with your prescription.
Knowing the difference between each of these types of medical malpractice is crucial to ensuring that your negligence-based case holds weight with a judge or rival attorney.
But that is not all you will need to know.
How to Prove Negligence in a Medical Malpractice Case
There are four things you need to be able to prove in order to have a successful medical malpractice case.
- Duty of Care
Duty of care is the first aspect of a negligence-based case that you must be able to prove.
Simply put, you must be able to prove that your doctor owed you a standard of care required by his or her industry. To do so, you need to prove you had a valid doctor-patient relationship.
Proving this element is relatively easy; usually you can establish the relationship with medical records.
- Breach of Duty of Care
After establishing your relationship, you must be able to prove that your doctor failed to meet this standard of care he or she owed you.
This is where the negligence part comes into play. You must be able to show that your doctor knowingly or unknowingly (due to lack of proper care and attention) caused you further harm or injury in their treatment of your symptoms.
In almost every case, you will need an expert witness (e.g., another medical professional in the same field as the negligent doctor) to testify how your doctor deviated from the standard of care and caused your injury.
- Causation of Your Injuries
Proving causation simply means being able to show a tangible link between your doctor’s actions and your further sustained injuries.
Just because a doctor is negligent in their treatment of you does not mean he or she was necessarily the cause of any harm you later experienced. You must be able to prove that the doctor’s mistake was a direct cause of your injuries.
- Presence of Damages
Proving the presence of damages means proving that you actually suffered a reasonably accepted injury or illness as a result of your medical practitioner’s negligence.
Once again, just proving a mistake or negligent act on the part of your doctor is not enough. For your medical malpractice case to hold weight, there must be proof that your doctor’s negligence actually caused you some sort of further injury or harm.
If there is no harm, there is no grounds for a malpractice case.
Is there anything else I need to know?
One of the most important things you need to know when filing a medical malpractice claim in the state of Virginia is the state’s statute of limitations.
Under Virginia Statute § 8.01-243, injured victims have two years to file a malpractice claim. These time periods may be longer for minors under 18 years old and persons under a disability. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, you should contact an attorney immediately to determine the applicable statute of limitations.
Because you only have two years from the date of your injury to make your medical malpractice case a successful one, another important question you should ask yourself is: “Where do I turn for help?”
The answer there is simple. Do not try to fight your case alone. You could miss out on thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars.
Instead, get a legal team with more than 40 years of helping injury victims all across Virginia and the surrounding areas.
The attorneys at Tronfeld West & Durrett, born and raised right here in Virginia, have represented thousands of local clients and gotten them the settlement or verdict they needed.
And we can do the same for you. Give us a call now to schedule a free consultation at 804-358-6741.