Virginia Personal Injury Lawyers
Do I have a Medical Malpractice Case?
We often receive calls or emails from individuals asking “do I have a medical malpractice case”? Many people we speak with have certainly suffered an injury, and their injury occurred while they were at a hospital or while following a doctor’s orders. But that may not be enough for a case. While it is necessary for someone to have an injury to have a medical malpractice claim, that person will need to prove much more to be entitled to money damages for the injury they suffered.
As I explained in my article, Medical Malpractice Claims in Virginia, to have a medical malpractice claim, a plaintiff needs to show the following:
- that they were treated by a doctor, nurse or other healthcare provider;
- that the doctor nurse or other healthcare provider had a “standard of care” that required them to provide care according to a minimum level of competency;
- that the physician, surgeon, doctor, or other healthcare provider breached the standard of care by providing care that was below the minimum acceptable level of care; and,
- that the plaintiff suffered an injury that was caused by the healthcare provider’s breach of the standard of care.
Proving these things can be challenging for a plaintiff. For one, the plaintiff needs to prove what the standard of care is. That means the plaintiff needs to have another expert in medicine testify against the negligent doctor or nurse to say what things the doctor or nurse did wrong or should have done differently. In addition, a plaintiff is required to show that the doctor, nurse or other healthcare provider breached or failed to comply with the standard of care.[i] Finally, the plaintiff needs an expert witness to show that the injuries he or she suffered were caused by the defendant’s breach of the standard of care.
Many patients mistakenly believe that a medical malpractice claim will occur any time their medical treatment does not meet their expectations. It is important to realize, however, that medical malpractice does not occur just because a patient is dissatisfied with the treatment they received. Unfortunately, medical treatment is not like consumer goods or services where patients can seek a refund or seek payment for damages just because they did not receive the result they hoped for.
In a nutshell, if you have received medical treatment that caused an injury, you should consult with a Virginia medical malpractice attorney to see if you have been the victim of medical malpractice. An experienced medical malpractice attorney will investigate to understand the treatment you received, the standard of care that a surgeon, doctor, physician, nurse, or other healthcare provider should have met, whether the standard of care was breached, and whether the injuries you suffered were caused by the doctor’s negligence.
For more information about a medical malpractice action, or to speak with a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Charlottesville VA about a potential case, please call Robert E. Byrne, Jr. at (434) 817-3100, or contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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[i] Virginia law defines what the standard of care means: “the standard of care by which the acts or omissions are to be judged shall be that degree of skill and diligence practiced by a reasonably prudent practitioner in the field of practice or specialty in this Commonwealth.” Va. Code § 8.01-580.20.