Our Virginia Beach medical malpractice lawyers work with clients who have been injured by the people that took an oath to do no harm. At East Coast Trial Lawyers, we will work with our clients as the legal process proceeds and ensure that our clients receive the medical care they deserve today. Without proper legal assistance, some families will face hardship caused by a careless medical professional.
We can help with any medical negligence claim that has brought a family great pain. We know that this is a challenging time in anyone’s life, and we are here to give our clients a consultation that can assuage many of their concerns. We understand that some cases are difficult to identify, clients might merely be suspicious, or a medical professional might attempt to explain away the situation. We will endeavor to uncover the truth for our clients.
How Widespread is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice happens every day across the United States, and the numbers can be troubling for people who spend a lot of time with doctors or nurses. In fact, medical malpractice can be spread across a range of disciplines from home care associates to nursing homes and medical assistants. Unfortunately, medical malpractice is not simply a matter of errors. Some medical professionals are careless when treating patients. Patients could have been injured when they were unconscious on the operating table. Other patients might take medication without realizing it is not the proper dosage, not the proper medication, or the drug could interact negatively with other medications.
Medical errors account for millions of injuries in the U.S. each year, several of which are fatal. Injuries caused by medical malpractice are entirely preventable if proper safety measures are taken, but patients continue to be harmed by negligent behaviors. Insurance companies will do whatever they can to avoid paying damages to injured patients. Having a medical malpractice lawyer by the family’s side can help ensure the best possible outcome for the case. The following statistics show that medical malpractice is not a minor issue:
- Approximately 225,000 people die because of medical malpractice every year.
- Only two percent of victims of medical malpractice file claims.
- A study in 2002 showed that 195,000 hospital deaths could have been prevented.
- Unnecessary surgeries result in 12,000 people dying each year.
- Medication side effects cause the death of 106,000 people every year.
The most troubling statistic on this list is that only two percent of all victims file claims. This means that victims do not know they were hurt by a medical professional who clearly did not provide the care expected. We encourage our clients to contact us, even if they suspect a problem with their care. We will investigate the case and determine what happened.
When patients visit their doctor or go to the hospital, they need to know that they have legal recourse if something goes wrong. When we work with our clients, we will investigate what the hospital, doctor, nurse, or medical professional has done. We will work with medical experts to prove that malpractice caused one’s pain, suffering, or even death.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals must provide patients with a reasonable standard of care; this is the same level of care that any similarly trained professional would reasonably be expected to provide. If a health care professional fails to do so, and a patient is harmed as a result, the patient or their family can pursue a medical malpractice claim. Expert witnesses from the medical field are used to establish what the standard of care should have been and how the provider failed to uphold it.
There are times when patients start to empathize for medical professionals who made a mistake. Medical professionals are required to carry malpractice insurance when they are hired, and that insurance policy can pay for any damages that are rewarded. Our clients should ask themselves why doctors and nurses are required to carry malpractice insurance.
Health care professionals are human beings. Even the most skilled doctor can make a mistake. It is important to remember that every medical professional who enters the examination room, surgical theater, recovery room, or clinic is responsible for a high level of care. Doctors take the Hippocratic oath when they graduate from medical school, and all health care professionals are bound by this ethical philosophy to do no harm. The following health care professionals may be held liable for injuries, illness, or death:
- Medical assistants
- Nursing home staff
- Home care associates
When these medical professionals work with patients and families, they could err in many ways. Therefore, it is important that patients and their families be vigilant. When medical professionals are not forthcoming or treatments do not seem to be working, families and patients have the right to request a second opinion or challenge the care that has been provided.
When doctors, nurses, or other medical professionals get defensive, it is fair to ask why. We will investigate the claim, learn what really happened, and help our clients recover compensation. We understand that medical malpractice is a troubling occurrence. Some situations are sad, unfortunate, and even deadly. However, certain cases are tragic without involving malpractice. A medical malpractice lawyer will determine if the case has merit before proceeding.
Where Does Medical Malpractice Occur?
Medical negligence can occur at any time during diagnosis, treatment, or aftercare. Patients may believe they are progressing well, but they may have a problem with an imaging appointment or a prescription. Patients might be misdiagnosed when they go to the emergency room, or they might experience other issues that are listed below. Common situations that result in medical errors include the following:
Emergency room errors. Errors can begin the second the patient arrives in the emergency room. Patients could be made to wait too long to receive treatment even though it is obvious they are in distress. These patients might receive the wrong treatment, the wrong medication, or receive no help at all. Emergency room errors sometimes occur because of overcrowding or mismanagement by the hospital. We will pinpoint the breakdown in the system. There are times when medical professionals cannot control their environment.
Birth injuries. Birth injuries can be caused by a doctor or midwife who does not know how to handle the birth properly. Births might involve applying brute force that is not necessary, or the medical professional might order the wrong birth plan for the mother. The mother could be injured or even killed by improper treatment. The baby could die during birth or develop a range of conditions that are caused by the doctor or midwife in the few moments they are handling the child during birth.
Birth injuries can worsen if babies are not treated properly after they are born, and the mother could be injured or killed if she does not receive the proper treatment after the exertion and pain of childbirth. Hospitals are supposed to give each baby a wristband at birth, and the parents should have a matching wristband. If any part of the system breaks down, the baby could be given improper treatment or be subjected to certain procedures that the parents did not request.
Surgical errors. Errors involving surgical procedures can include objects that were left inside the patient. A surgical error could also include performing the wrong procedure on the patient, not handling the surgery properly, taking too long to complete the surgery, using the wrong tools, or even making inappropriate comments about the patient during the surgery. Surgeons may not complete procedures in a timely manner, or they might allow an intern or a surgeon who is less qualified to complete a procedure for which they are not ready to perform.
Misdiagnosis or the failure to diagnose. This is a grave error that could kill or injure the patient. Someone who is very ill could die because they were not treated properly. Patients who have treatable conditions could deteriorate, and they might suffer from a permanent injury because the doctor did not act properly.
Medication errors. Prescription and medication must be handled and ordered properly. When a doctor does not prescribe the correct medication, they could injure or kill their patient. Pharmacists could cause injuries or even death when preparing medications improperly, and nurses or medical assistants who administer medication in a hospital could also be guilty of malpractice.
Anesthesia errors. Improperly administered anesthesia could cause illness or death for the patient; that is why a trained anesthesiologist should be on hand for every procedure. When an anesthesiologist does not handle the patient’s specific anesthesia properly, they can be held accountable for their mistakes. At the same time, a doctor who does not bring in an anesthesiologist should be held accountable.
Who Could Be Guilty of Medical Malpractice?
In cases in which there is more than one defendant, Virginia allows for each defendant to be held responsible for all the patient’s damages, as opposed to splitting it up according to their degree of fault. Virginia is also a contributory negligence state, so if the patient somehow contributed to their own injury, they would not be able to hold their doctor accountable. For example, if the patient missed appointments or failed to follow their prescription regimen, they could not sue their health care provider for any harm they suffer.
We will work with our clients to show that they did not play a part in the alleged malpractice. We can bring a claim against multiple medical professionals when needed, even if we do not uncover their liability at the same time. For example, a doctor and nurse working in tandem who did not provide the proper care for a patient can both be named in a lawsuit. We might discover the nurse was just as liable as the doctor in the case, and we will add that nurse to the claim.
What is Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse occurs when seniors are placed in these facilities but cannot defend themselves. Although nursing home abuse is a serious issue that can result in criminal charges, it is possible that a part of that abuse includes medical malpractice. We understand that families often do not know what goes on behind the closed doors of the nursing home, but we will help the family investigate the claim when abuse is suspected. Some issues include the following:
- Failure or refusal to offer prescribed medication
- Failure or refusal to address noted health concerns or medical complaints
- Staff members who force the medical staff to refuse medical care for residents
- Residents who are left in bed without consistent care
- Residents who are given the wrong food when they are known to have allergies or cannot eat certain things
We are available to work with families and seniors who have concerns about nursing home abuse.
How can I Recover Compensation?
When a patient is injured as a result of medical negligence, it is important to file a claim within the statute of limitations. In Virginia, patients have two years from the time that the malpractice occurred to bring a medical malpractice lawsuit against the provider, regardless of whether the injury was discovered later. However, if the patient is still receiving treatment for the injury, they can delay filing the suit until their treatment has concluded. If a patient dies of their injuries, their family can pursue a wrongful death lawsuit within two years of the patient’s death.
In a medical malpractice lawsuit, patients can seek damages to cover medical bills, lost wages, or pain and suffering related to their injury. Medical malpractice cases in Virginia are subject to a damages cap, which limits the amount of compensation a patient or their family can receive. The cap gradually increases each year, so depending on when the malpractice took place, patients may be eligible for different amounts. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer can help ensure that patients receive the maximum compensation for which they are entitled.
Can I File a Wrongful Death Claim?
When a medical malpractice case has killed a patient, we can file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the family. The state of Virginia has a statute of limitations of two years. Therefore, we ask our clients to contact us as soon as possible so that they can receive the services that they need. We are also aware that some medical malpractice cases could lead to death while we are negotiating or in court. We can move to a wrongful death claim and use the same evidence to show that the medical malpractice that injured the victim caused their death.
In the state of Virginia, families are not allowed to file a wrongful death claim for any amount of money. We can file a claim on behalf of the following individuals:
- Immediate family members, including spouses, children, parents, and grandparents. Anyone in this category who depended on the deceased can file a claim.
- Extended family members who depended on the deceased.
- Anyone who will inherit the estate or who has been named the administrator of the deceased’s estate.
Clients should bring this claim to our offices as soon as possible so that we can help. We need to know who was left behind, how they depended on the deceased, and the damages to seek. We can file a claim for the following:
- Final expenses, including burial
- Lost wages
- Lost earning potential over the course of their life
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
We will ensure that the family can file a claim for lost wages, all the money that could have been made, and the final expenses that the family had to incur because of their loved one’s untimely death. Punitive damages are capped in the state of Virginia, and we will argue for these damages to punish the guilty party and deter this behavior in the future.
Why Should I Hire a Medical Malpractice Lawyer?
A medical malpractice lawyer is needed to ensure that the family or patient receives the compensation they deserve. Families often complain when a sick relative cannot file a claim themselves, but they need a lawyer who knows how to handle these cases. We work with families and patients every day who suspect or know they experienced medical malpractice.
When we take the case, we will begin a full investigation to learn what really happened. This is important because we need to know all the things that led up to this claim. We will work with medical experts to help us understand what proper medical care looks like, and we will also ask our clients to provide us with medical records, receipts, and any other documentation that is available. We also ask that our clients avoid situations that could make it difficult to file suit for damages. It is best not to do any of the following:
- Call the hospital, doctor’s office, or the insurance company to complain.
- Use profanity or vulgar language when speaking to the individuals involved.
- Speak with a lawyer who reaches out to offer a settlement.
- Speak to the insurance company or their lawyer.
- Offer a recorded statement.
- Threaten to file a claim for an undetermined amount of money.
When we take on a case, we will make sure that we know who is involved. We will accept all letters or phone calls, and speak to the lawyers who represent the hospital, nursing home, company, or doctor. We will negotiate with these individuals, and keep our clients informed throughout the process. We will not accept a settlement until it has been approved by our client, and we will go to court, if needed.
Our Virginia Beach Medical Malpractice Lawyers Provide Comprehensive Representation to Victims of Medical Negligence
If you or a loved one was the victim of medical negligence, the experienced Virginia Beach medical malpractice lawyers can help. At East Coast Trial Lawyers, we will thoroughly review the facts of your case and prepare an aggressive legal strategy to obtain the compensation you deserve. Call us today at 757-352-2237 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, we work with malpractice victims throughout Chesapeake, Eastern Shores, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk, as well as North Carolina and nationwide.