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“They sent somebody to visit me in the hospital and get my side of the story (totally free). I was assigned Mr. Crawford and told that we had a case. Fast forward about 9 months later and I received literally 14x what the insurance company had offered me. This is after the lawyer and medical fees as well. So basically this was totally free and I barely had to do anything I am so glad I called Marks and Harrison and I will be recommending them to all of my family and friends.”— Robert Smith
When you see a doctor or other health care provider, you expect that you will receive caring and professional treatment. Unfortunately, many medical professionals fail to meet the standard of care that their patients deserve. Because of their negligence, patients can sustain serious injury, and families can suffer the loss of a loved one.
For more than 100 years, the attorneys of Marks & Harrison have aggressively protected the rights of injury victims and their families in Richmond and throughout Virginia. We know the devastation that medical malpractice causes. As one of the largest personal injury law firms in the state, we have the resources that it takes to pursue justice for harmed patients and their loved ones.
If you believe that a negligent health care provider has hurt you or a family member, we want to help you to seek all compensation you are due. Contact us today to talk about your case. We can provide a free, confidential consultation through our Richmond office or any of our eight other offices located throughout Virginia.
What Is a Medical Malpractice Claim?
If you are merely unsatisfied with the results of a surgery or other treatment, it does not necessarily mean that you are the victim of medical malpractice. Instead, medical malpractice occurs when:
- A health care provider breaches a certain standard of care, and
- A patient suffers injury or death as a direct result of that breach.
“Standard of care” refers to the practices and procedures that a reasonable health care provider in that same specialty and geographical area would follow.
A medical malpractice claim typically involves a doctor and the clinic or hospital that employs the doctor. However, any health care provider can be the subject of a medical malpractice lawsuit if their negligence harms a patient under their care, including:
- Physical therapists
A patient harmed by medical malpractice has the right to bring a claim. If the patient was a minor, the parents may bring a claim on the child’s behalf. If a patient dies due to a medical professional’s negligence, the patient’s “beneficiaries” may have the right to pursue a claim, which could include the patient’s spouse, children and other relatives.
At Marks & Harrison, we can help you to determine whether you have the right to bring a claim against a medical professional who harmed you, or if you should pursue a different type of claim against a non-medical professional. For instance, if you suffered injury or illness due to a defective medical device or prescription drug, you typically would pursue a product liability lawsuit – not a medical malpractice claim.
What Are Examples of Medical Malpractice?
Through the years, the personal injury lawyers of Marks & Harrison have helped patients and their families in a wide range of medical malpractice cases. Some common types of medical malpractice that our lawyers encounter include:
- Emergency room errors (typically due to understaffing)
- Missed or delayed diagnoses (of cancer and other serious illnesses)
- Mistakes before, during or after a child’s delivery (causing birth injuries)
- Surgical errors (including wrong-site operations and leaving foreign objects in a patient’s body such as a surgical sponge)
- Hospital infections (typically due to unsanitary conditions or practices)
- Anesthesia errors (such as administering too much anesthesia or numbing the wrong body part before surgery)
- Medication errors (including administering the wrong type of medication or dosage of medication)
In many cases, doctors may fail to get a patient’s “informed consent.” For instance, a doctor may prescribe a drug to a patient without fully informing the patient about the drug’s side effect risks or telling the patient that the drug is part of an experimental program.
What Should You Do If You Suspect You Have a Medical Malpractice Claim?
If you believe that you or a loved one suffered harm due to medical malpractice, you should seek help from Marks & Harrison without delay. We will provide a free and confidential consultation that is aimed at finding out what happened to you and answering all of your questions.
In order to prepare for that consultation, you should consider taking these two steps:
- Summarize your case. Take a moment and write down everything that you recall about the incident. Note the initial injury or illness that led you or your family member to seek medical care, the names of any health care providers who provided treatment (and where) , the type of treatment you received and the harm you suffered after that treatment. You will find that a written summary will help to jog your memory.
- Gather your documents. Although you do not need to request copies of your medical records before a consultation, you should try to gather any documents related to your medical treatment such as prescriptions or itemized bills. These documents can help our law firm to start an investigation of your case.
However, if you cannot complete both or either of these steps, do not let it stop you from seeking legal assistance.
How Can Our Law Firm Help with Your Medical Malpractice Case?
At Marks & Harrison, we know that the strength of a medical malpractice claim largely depends on two factors:
- Evidence – We will work aggressively to preserve, gather and analyze all evidence related to your medical negligence claim, including your medical records, witness statements (or sworn depositions) and the actual medical equipment used in your treatment. Our attorneys realize that even seemingly minor bits of evidence can play a major role in establishing a medical malpractice case.
- Experts – Most medical malpractice claims in Virginia require use of an expert who can establish the standard of care that applies to a case, explain how a health care provider breached that standard and show how that breach caused harm to a patient. Additionally, the expert must demonstrate that he or she has knowledge in the same field as the health care provider who is being sued and has a clinic in that field or a closely related field within a year prior to the time when the alleged medical negligence occurred. At Marks & Harrison, we work with highly qualified experts from many difference fields of medicine. (Note: In cases where even a layperson could see that negligence occurred – for instance, a surgeon left an instrument inside of a patient – you do not require an expert to establish a violation of the standard of care.)
The medical malpractice attorneys of Marks & Harrison believe in preparing cases for success at trial. Taking that approach often allows our legal team to resolve cases through medical malpractice settlements, including settlements that result from mediation. Ultimately, a settlement can avoid a great deal of time and expense. However, if necessary, we will be ready to present the strongest case possible in the courtroom.
Additionally, we can assist if your case goes before a medical review panel, which will determine whether the claim has any merits. The review panel’s findings can play an important role in a case. Although the findings are not binding, they can be used as evidence at trial.
Our law firm represents medical malpractice victims on a contingency fee basis. This means that you will pay no legal fees or upfront costs unless we secure a verdict or settlement on your behalf.
What Compensation Can You Recover in a Virginia Medical Malpractice Claim?
At Marks & Harrison, our goal will be to seek the answers you deserve about the medical treatment that harmed you or your loved one as well as to pursue all compensation you are entitled to receive. The damages we seek on your behalf in a medical malpractice claim may include:
- Economic damages – This compensation can cover past and future medical expenses as well as income you have lost or will lose in the years ahead due to the negligent act or omission that harmed you.
- Non-economic damages – This is compensation for the intangible harm that you have suffered such as physical pain and emotional anguish.
- Punitive damages – These damages serve to punish a medical care provider who engaged in reckless conduct and deter similar misconduct. Virginia law caps these damages at $350,000.
If medical malpractice caused the wrongful death of a loved one, Marks & Harrison can seek different damages on your behalf such as compensation for funeral expenses and the loss of your loved one’s financial support.
Virginia limits the total amount of damages – economic, non-economic and punitive damages combined – that the plaintiff in a medical malpractice lawsuit can recover. The limit depends on when the negligent act or omission occurred. For instance, if it occurred between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017, the limit would be $2.25 million. The limit is set to increase by $50,000 every year through 2031, when it reaches $3 million.
In some cases, a negligent medical care provider will argue that the patient’s own negligence contributed to his or her injury or illness. For instance, a doctor may claim that a patient failed to follow the prescribed course of treatment. Under Virginia’s contributory negligence law, a plaintiff who is even slightly at fault may be barred from recovering anything in a lawsuit.
Marks & Harrison knows how health care providers and their insurers operate when they face a medical malpractice claim. We will vigorously protect your rights and counter any attempts to put undue blame on you.
How Long Do You Have to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Virginia?
As you consider taking legal action against a negligent doctor, hospital or other health care provider, you will need to pay close attention to the Virginia statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims. You lose the right to a recovery if you fail to file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires.
Generally speaking, you must file a lawsuit within two years after the date of your injury or within two years after a loved one’s death. However, exceptions exist such as:
- If the medical professional provided substantially uninterrupted treatment for the same or a related condition, you must bring a claim within two years from the date of the last treatment.
- If your case involves the failure to diagnose cancer, you must bring a claim within one year from the date a doctor communicated the cancer diagnosis to you.
- If your case involves a foreign object left inside the body, then you must file the lawsuit within one year from the date you discover the object or should have reasonably discovered it.
Additionally, if the medical malpractice victim is a child under age 8, you must bring the claim on the child’s behalf by the date of his or her 10th birthday. If the child was older than age 8 when the medical negligence occurred, you must file the lawsuit within two years from the date of the negligent act or omission (unless an exception applies).
An experienced Richmond medical malpractice lawyer from Marks & Harrison will carefully review the facts of your case, determine the time limit that applies to you and timely file any claim on your behalf. However, due to the need to collect evidence and consult with experts, you should contact our law firm as early as possible in order to ensure that we have adequate time to prepare your case.
Our Richmond Medical Malpractice Lawyer Are Ready to Help You
With more than 100 years of personal injury law experience, a team of 20 lawyers and skilled, talented and highly dedicated team of paralegals and investigators, Marks & Harrison has the background and resources you need for your medical malpractice claim.
Contact us today to discuss your case in a free consultation. We can serve you from our office in Richmond or one of our eight other offices in Virginia.