11.15.2021

What to Know About Medical Malpractice in Virginia

Written by: Coletrane & Messersmith

Guidelines for Filing a Lawsuit Based on Medical Negligence

Virginia requires that health care providers provide a reasonable standard of care. Deviation from this standard of care can result in liability. A person injured as a result of a doctor or nurse’s negligence might be entitled to compensation through a medical malpractice claim.

At Coletrane & Messersmith, we represent victims of medical error in the Commonwealth of Virginia. For over a decade, we have been helping injured parties recover compensation against negligent hospitals, doctors, and other health care providers. If you suffered harm as a result of medical malpractice, contact our office at (757) 223-4455 for a free consultation. 

What Constitutes Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice occurs when there is a deviation from the reasonable standard of care, resulting in injury or death to a patient. It is important to note that all surgeries, treatments, and other medical services may have a risk of complications. When the care falls below the acceptable standard of care, a practitioner or an organization may be held liable.

Medical malpractice cases can be challenging to prove. Individuals who have suffered harm or lost a loved one as a result of a medical mistake should consult with an attorney as soon as possible. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer can help determine whether you have a valid claim for damages.

Who Can Be Sued?

In Virginia, medical malpractice claims are not limited to a doctor or nurse. Any health care provider licensed by the Commonwealth to provide health care or professional medical services may be held accountable for negligence or wrongdoing.

Health care providers are considered:

  • Health maintenance organizations
  • Nursing homes
  • Hospitals
  • Doctors and dentists
  • Nurses, physicians assistants, and physical therapists
  • Counselors, psychologists, therapists, and social workers
  • Optometrists and podiatrists

In medical malpractice claims, it is not unusual to name one or more defendants. There may be multiple parties that can be held liable for the harm that was caused to you or your family. An attorney can help make sure that a lawsuit is filed against all wrongful parties.

Are There Any Limitations on Recovery?

According to state law, there is a limitation on recovery in certain medical malpractice actions. Depending on when the act or acts of malpractice occurred, a patient is limited in the amount of compensation they can receive.

The Code of Virginia limits recovery in medical malpractice based on the year when the malpractice occurred. Beginning with acts or omissions that occurred between August 1, 1999, through June 30, 2000, the recovery is capped at $1.50 million. 

Each year the amount that can be recovered increases slightly. For instance, for medical malpractice claims arising out of an act or omission that occurred between July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2022, the limit is $2.50 million. 

How Long Do I Have to File a Medical Malpractice Claim in Virginia?

In general, lawsuits based on medical negligence must be brought within two years. The statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases is set for in § 8.01-243 of the Code of Virginia. There are exceptions to this general rule, including claims arising out of a foreign object being left in a patient’s body and failing to diagnose certain conditions. 

Foreign Body Exception

In the case of a foreign object being left in a patient’s body, the injured party has one year from the date the object is discovered or reasonably should have been discovered.

Failure to Diagnose Exception

There is also an exception for claims arising out of a failure to diagnose certain conditions such as malignant tumors, cancer, or an intracranial, intraspinal, or spinal schwannoma. These are all subject to other limitations, including when the health care provider’s underlying act or omission occurred.

It is critical to consult an attorney as early as possible if you believe that a medical error, mistake, or negligence caused you harm. An attorney can ensure that all legal deadlines are met, including filing a claim within the statute of limitations

Do Medical Malpractice Cases Require Expert Testimony?

In order to prove that a health care provider deviated from the reasonable standard of care, you will likely need an expert to testify. Expert testimony generally proves crucial in medical malpractice cases. 

In most cases, you will want testimony from a respected leader in the field who practices the same specialty as the defendant. Failure to provide expert testimony at trial may make it difficult for a jury to determine that the medical provider was negligent or breached their duty of care with the act or omission that caused you harm. 

Get a Free Case Evaluation for Your Medical Malpractice Case

If you believe that a health care provider’s error or mistake caused you harm, contact our office at (757) 223-4455 for a free consultation. 

At Coletrane & Messersmith, we provide dedicated advocacy for individuals injured by medical malpractice. Get the help you need now from an award-winning legal team.

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If you have been injured contact our office for a free, no-obligation consultation. Call (757) 223-4455 to discuss your legal options. Cases are handled on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay no fees unless we win.

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