Medical malpractice occurs when a medical provider (doctor, nurse, therapist, etc.) causes harm to a patient as a result of a breach of the standard of care. A breach of the standard of care can occur in a number of ways. For example, if a doctor fails to provide treatment that should be given that can be a breach of the standard of care. Or if a treatment is provided but done wrong that can also be a breach of the standard of care. Virginia law generally requires the testimony of a medical expert to determine if the standard of care was breached. View more information here.
A bad result or an unintended outcome does not always mean the medical provider committed malpractice. There can be complications involved with medical treatment that result in a bad outcome but are not the result of malpractice.
How long do I have to file a Medical Malpractice claim?
The statute of limitations in Virginia is two years. Generally, this means that you have two years from the date the malpractice occurs to settle your claim or file a lawsuit. There are very limited circumstances in which you may have more than two years. (For example, if you were a minor when the malpractice occurred). You should always talk to an attorney to determine the applicable statute of limitations on your case.
What Happens If I Am Injured In The Course Of Medical Treatment?
If your injury was caused by malpractice, you may be able to sue the negligent medical provider for monetary damages to compensate you for your injuries. Recoverable damages include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc. In Virginia, there is a statutory cap on the amount of damages recoverable in a malpractice claim. For injuries that occurred on or after July 1, 2008, the damages cap for malpractice cases is Two Million Dollars ($2,000,000.00).
While doctors are supposed to heal patients instead of hurting them, a hurt patient does not automatically point to wrongdoing by a doctor. Instead, for a doctor to have committed malpractice, s/he must have done something that another reasonable professional would not have done in the same situation. More here.