Virginia Medical Malpractice Attorney
We can try to avoid car and truck accidents by being skilled and attentive drivers, driving defensively and watching out for other drivers on the road. There is very little we can do protect ourselves from medical errors, though. The practice of medicine is a specialized area requiring years of schooling and training, and it is far beyond the ability of the average person to know whether a diagnosis or course of treatment was chosen correctly or performed appropriately. We leave these matters in the hands of trained medical professionals and trust that they perform their jobs appropriately. A Virginia medical malpractice attorney can help you determine if you deserve compensation.
Unfortunately, medical mistakes and negligence happen at an alarming rate. Studies have concluded that anywhere from 200,000 to 400,000 people die each year due to preventable errors in hospitals or other medical mistakes. One study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) concluded that medical negligence is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Countless more individuals survive a medical error yet suffer serious or permanent damage to their health or quality of life.
When doctors commit medical malpractice by making a mistake or failing to provide appropriate care, they can and should be held responsible for the harm they cause. Holding doctors and hospitals accountable for their errors ensures that the injured patient is compensated for the harm and also helps improve healthcare practices so other people are not similarly injured by negligence or incompetence in a medical setting. The Virginia medical malpractice attorneys at MichieHamlett are dedicated to fighting this fight on behalf of patients throughout the Commonwealth. Contact our office for a free, confidential consultation any time you suspect medical error may have caused you harm. Our comprehensive medical malpractice team is ready to take on any medical mistake, including, for example:
- Surgical errors: Doctors perform the wrong surgery on the wrong patient or on the wrong side of the body; doctors wait too long to schedule a surgery, or they perform unnecessary operations; surgeons and surgical nurses leave behind sponges, clamps and other surgical instruments sewn up in the patient’s body; surgeons nick an artery or puncture or perforate an organ during surgery due to negligence, incompetence, distraction or fatigue.
- Birth Injuries: Errors during pregnancy, labor or delivery can leave a baby with lifelong physical, cognitive or neurological deficits with conditions like cerebral palsy or Erb’s palsy. Improper use of forceps or a vacuum extractor cause nerve damage or broken bones, facial paralysis, lacerations and other painful and debilitating injuries.
- Misdiagnosis: The failure to diagnose a condition, a delayed diagnosis, or an incorrect diagnose can be disastrous and even spell out a death sentence to the patient. Misdiagnosis of cancer can change a treatable condition to a terminal one. Failure to correctly diagnose heart attack or stroke can lead to sudden death or paralysis. Unnecessary invasive tests can cause more harm than good.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is the legal term that describes when a doctor, nurse, or other healthcare professional fails to perform according to the appropriate standard of care. That standard is the level of care one would expect from a similarly trained doctor in the area in a similar situation. Medical malpractice can include taking the wrong action as well as failing to take the proper action.
How Do You Prove Medical Malpractice Occurred?
Medical malpractice is one of the more challenging types of cases to prove. Many personal injury lawyers who routinely handle serious car and truck accidents or complex products liability claims refuse to take on medical malpractice cases because of their high level of difficulty and complexity. Some law firms simply don’t have the staff and resources to hire the necessary experts and devote the time needed to understand what went wrong in the doctor’s office or operating room and build a strong case that proves the doctor’s or hospital’s liability.
In all but the most obvious cases of medical malpractice, Virginia law requires plaintiffs to hire a medical expert to review the case and certify that the defendant deviated from the applicable standard of care and that this deviation caused the injuries claimed by the plaintiff. Getting this certification from a medical expert doesn’t prove your case; it is only a preliminary step required at the very beginning of the case. The doctor or hospital on the other side might retain experts of their own challenging your version of the events. As the plaintiff in a medical malpractice case, the burden falls on you to prove all the elements of your case. If the case goes to trial, it’s the plaintiff’s job to prove all of the following:
- The doctor or healthcare provider owed a professional duty to the patient;
- The provider breached the duty;
- The patient sustained injuries as a result of the breach;
- The patient suffered damages as a result of the injury.
By building a case from the start that is geared toward proving these facts in court, our team is often able to exact a settlement from the insurance company outside of court. Our experienced trial team is ready for trial in any event, so we are never pressured into a settlement that doesn’t meet your needs or reflect the value of your claim.
Call MichieHamlett to Review Your Virginia Medical Malpractice Claim
If you believe that you or a family member has been the victim of medical malpractice in a Virginia hospital or clinic, call MichieHamlett at 434-951-7200 or 800-451-1288 for a free confidential consultation. We’ll work to find out what went wrong and hold responsible parties accountable to you.