Virginia Medical Malpractice: Laws, Claims and Damages
UPDATED: March 7, 2012
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VIRGINIA MEDICAL MALPRACTICE
In Virginia, a patient can bring a medical malpractice action against a health care provider that has negligently injured them. Medical negligence can arise when the health care provider treats the patient using a standard of care that is below the accepted standard of care in their profession. When this substandard treatment ends up injuring the patient, the health care provider has been medically negligent and can be sued for medical malpractice. The following are a few common examples of medical negligence in Virginia:
- Misdiagnosis or a failure to diagnose the patient’s condition;
- Mistreatment or failure to treat the patient’s condition;
- Errors made in surgery;
- Nurse or other hospital staff oversight.
If you believe that a negligent Virginia health care provider has injured you, it is important to speak with an experienced Virginia medical malpractice attorney right away to discuss whether or not you have a claim for medical malpractice.
Who Can Be Sued in a Virginia Medical Malpractice Case?
Any health care provider in Virginia can be held liable for medical malpractice if they are medically negligent. Virginia defines a health care provider as any “person, corporation, facility, or institution licensed by Virginia health care or professional services.” This definition encompasses both individuals and entities, and includes doctors, surgeons, dentists, nurses, health care centers, nursing homes, emergency treatment centers, and hospitals. If you believe a Virginia health care provider has negligently injured you, consult a medical malpractice attorney today.
Virginia Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations
When a Virginia health care provider negligently injures a patient, the claim must be brought within the Virginia medical malpractice statute of limitations or else it will be lost forever. In Virginia, an injured patient must bring their claim within two years of the date of the act or omission that caused their injury. If treatment is ongoing and the patient is not sure when the injury actually occurred, then the statute of limitations begins to run after the treatment has ended.
The Virginia medical malpractice statute of limitations is extended in cases where a patient finds a foreign object in their body after surgery. While the patient is allowed only one year to bring this claim, measured from the date in which they discover the foreign object, they are given up to ten years from the date of the negligent act to discover the object and bring the claim. Because the statute of limitations can vary depending on the facts of your case, contact a medical malpractice attorney as soon as you become aware of your injury to make sure that your claim is filed in a timely manner.
Caps on Medical Malpractice Claims in Virginia
It is possible to recover both economic and noneconomic damages in a Virginia medical malpractice claim. However, Virginia law does limit the amount of recoverable damages in medical malpractice cases. Between July 1, 2000 and July 1, 2007, compensatory damages (the total amount of economic and noneconomic damages combined) were limited to $1.5 million, with a $50,000 increase allowed for each year. In 2008, however, the increase went from $50,000 to $75,000, and now the maximum total damages cap stands at $2 million. To get an accurate idea of the amount of total damages you should claim based on the facts of your case, talk to an experienced Virginia medical malpractice lawyer.
Filing a Virginia Medical Malpractice Claim
In Virginia, filing a claim for medical malpractice is no easy task. Enlisting the help of a lawyer is advisable so that you have someone with expert knowledge to guide you through the process. In most medical malpractice claims, there are stringent deadlines to meet, court appearances to make, expert witnesses to hire, and depositions to take. Further, there may be several defendants in one medical malpractice claim, meaning there will be several defense attorneys working against you. Most, if not all, health care providers have medical malpractice insurance, and the attorneys that defend these claims for the insurance companies are very knowledgeable and experienced in this area of the law. Hiring a Virginia medical malpractice attorney will give you someone on your side to help you through these complex procedural steps, and ensure that you get the best recovery possible.
Virginia Medical Malpractice Laws
- Medical Malpractice: Definitions: Title 8.01, Chapter 21.1, §8.01-581.1.
- Limitations of Actions: Accrual of right of action: Title 8.01, Chapter 4, §§8.01-230, 243.1, 243.2.
- Medical Malpractice: Limitation on recovery in certain medical malpractice actions: Title 8.01, Chapter 21.1, §8.01-581.15.