Winchester Medical Malpractice Attorney
Patients trust that the medical care provided by a doctor will be helpful rather than causing harm. The patients expect that the doctor will diagnose a condition or disease accurately and offer appropriate care. Unfortunately, some doctors fail to order appropriate tests or make diagnostic errors.
If a doctor causes harm to a patient by providing substandard care, the harmed patient or the patient’s family may have a right to file a malpractice lawsuit against the doctor and demand compensation for the preventable injury the patient has suffered.
Our personal injury lawyers represent people who have suffered harm caused by the negligence of others. A Winchester medical malpractice lawyer is ready to help you if a doctor’s actions or failure to act has caused serious harm to you or a loved one. Kendall Law Firm has three offices located in Winchester, Charlottesville and Harrisonburg. Call us at (866) 574-2704. Our experienced Winchester medical malpractice lawyer is available to review the details of your injury and discuss your legal options.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a patient is injured or killed by a doctor or other health care provider’s failure to follow the recognized standard of care. Patients don’t always respond to treatment as expected.
For an injury to be considered medical malpractice, it must meet all of the following criteria:
- The accepted standard of care was not followed. The medical system in Virginia has accepted standards of care that reasonably prudent health-care providers would be expected to apply in a given situation. If a health-care provider did not follow the standard of care and a patient was injured as a result or a disease was allowed to advance, then that may constitute medical negligence.
- The health-care provider’s negligence directly led to the patient’s injury or death.
- The injury to the patient was severe.
Medical malpractice lawsuits can be very costly and time-consuming to pursue. Doctors and hospitals will defend their reputations vigorously. They are unlikely to acknowledge fault or admit that you have been a victim of medical negligence. You will need the assistance of a determined Winchester medical malpractice lawyer. Doctors and hospitals who have caused harm to a patient and are confronted by an attorney may offer an apology and a settlement out of court. In other cases, litigation may be required.
When most people think of medical malpractice, they think of a doctor making a mistake. However, any health provider may commit malpractice. Sometimes a nurse, a surgical team or the hospital itself may be at fault. A nurse may fail to check a patient’s ID and negligently administer the wrong medication, or a hospital administrative mistake may cause a patient to be discharged before the patient is healthy enough to go home.
Any health-care worker can be sued for medical malpractice, including optometrists, chiropractors, pharmacists, midwives and dentists.
To establish that the standard of care was violated, your medical malpractice attorney will obtain your medical records and have them reviewed by independent licensed medical professionals. Those professionals will offer an opinion about whether you were harmed as a result of the health-care provider’s failure to follow the standard of care. If they determine medical negligence occurred, the medical professionals will be prepared to testify on your behalf in court. Medical testimony is key to establishing a causal link between medical negligence and a patient’s injury.
What Are The Different Types Of Medical Mistakes?
There are many different types of medical negligence that may constitute medical malpractice and be the basis of a malpractice claim. These include:
- Failing to take a patient history before prescribing medication or proposing a treatment
- Failing to order the appropriate diagnostic tests
- Failing to recognize symptoms or disregarding significant symptoms
- Misreading the results of diagnostic tests
- Making an incorrect diagnosis
- Prescribing the wrong medication or prescribing the wrong dosage
- Performing unnecessary surgery
- Performing wrong-site surgery
- Performing the wrong type of surgery
- Poor or no follow-up care
- Premature discharge from the hospital or clinic
The leading cause of medical malpractice lawsuits is misdiagnosis. Misdiagnoses can consist of a failure to diagnose a condition that most doctors would reasonably have diagnosed based on the information available or failure to order proper diagnostic tests based on the symptoms. A doctor may fail to diagnose signs of a stroke, heart attack or blood clot. There can be cases where a doctor made the wrong diagnosis. In both situations, a patient can suffer severe harm or even death due to not being treated at all or receiving completely unnecessary treatment.
For example, if a woman is incorrectly diagnosed with breast cancer when she doesn’t have it, she may undergo a double mastectomy before the mistake is discovered. If a doctor fails to diagnose a woman’s early-stage breast cancer, that delay in diagnosis can allow cancer to advance and become harder to manage. The patient may not receive cancer treatment until breast cancer has become an advanced, life-threatening condition.
The second most common medical malpractice lawsuit concerns birth injuries. Infants may suffer permanent disabilities as a result of a doctor’s mistake or failure to perform a C-section during a difficult delivery. However, not all birth defects are the result of medical malpractice.
Medication errors, both of the wrong medication and the wrong dosage are common in both outpatient and hospital-based settings. Medication errors can cause serious injuries or even death. Medication errors may be due to the doctor’s error in prescribing, a pharmacist’s error in filling the prescription, or a nurse giving the wrong patient the medication.
Another common cause of injuries due to medical negligence is health-care workers failing to follow standard aseptic techniques, which can lead to severe infections.
Emergency room errors are another common cause of medical malpractice claims. In the ER, doctors and nurses can make mistakes when they are forced to make critical decisions with limited information. Emergency room malpractice may be caused by understaffed emergency departments, misread test results, fatigued ER doctors, or a lack of proper testing.
Medical negligence can sometimes be established in an ER setting if a patient hand-off was not conducted properly. If an ER team fails to follow the established procedures for briefing the incoming staff, a patient can be harmed.
Wrong-site or wrong-type surgery events are not common. They are considered to be significant, inexcusable errors, called “never events” because they should never happen. A series of avoidable errors have to be made by multiple health-care workers in order for wrong-site surgery or wrong-type surgery to occur.
Due to the degree of negligence involved and the severe harm that patients suffer from these types of surgical errors medical malpractice is more easily established.
What Compensation Can You Recover In A Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
A medical mistake lawsuit can seek compensation for the following if they apply to your case:
- Medical expenses incurred to treat your injury
- Future medical expenses that will be necessary to continue to treat your injury and its consequences
- Loss of income while recovering from your injury
- Loss of future income due to becoming permanently disabled in some way by your injury
- Pain and emotional suffering
- Punitive damages
- If death occurred, the family could also sue for wrongful death damages and loss of financial support.
The state of Virginia has an upper limit to the amount of compensation you can receive in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Your upper limit depends on when, exactly, you became a victim of medical malpractice. Your attorney can tell you what your upper limit of compensation will be.
Medical malpractice laws vary by state. It is important to contact a firm that is experienced in medical malpractice lawsuits in your state. Kendall Law Firm is based in Virginia, and we focus on seeking compensation for victims of medical negligence.
Many people who have been harmed are unsure of whether they are victims of medical malpractice. If you have questions about whether your case meets the definition of medical malpractice, contact a Winchester medical malpractice lawyer at Kendall Law Firm to review your case. Send us a message or call (866) 574-2704 to schedule your free consultation.