Medical providers are entrusted with caring for patients who depend on them for sound medical advice and thoughtful treatment. Patients can suffer serious injuries when doctors, nurses, and other treatment providers fail to provide the required care. These victims deserve to seek accountability and compensation from medical professionals who caused them harm.
If you were injured or developed a medical condition because of a doctor’s wrongdoing, you could be entitled to financial relief for your medical bills, lost wages, and other injury-related losses. Attorneys Mike Deering and Chris Todd Hedrick can evaluate your situation and determine whether you have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. For over 10 years, clients have come to Deering Hedrick for help taking legal action for medical malpractice. Contact our trusted attorneys today to get started with a consultation.
Common Medical Malpractice Cases
Doctors, nurses, surgeons, radiologists, and other medical groups and providers can be liable for injuries resulting from medical malpractice. Some of the most common medical malpractice cases that we handle include the following:
- Surgical errors
- Knowingly hiring an unlicensed or unqualified healthcare professional
- Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
- Interpreting the results of a diagnostic test incorrectly
- Providing inadequate pre- or post-care
- Failing to warn of potential risks of a recommended treatment
- Prescribing medications without reviewing the patient’s medical history
- Using unsterilized equipment or tools
- Administering the wrong dosage or drug
- Recommending an unnecessary procedure
- Leaving a foreign object in the body during surgery
Common Injuries from Medical Malpractice
Patients can sustain various injuries at the hands of negligent medical providers. The most common injuries resulting from medical malpractice include the following:
- Post-operative infections
- Birth injuries
- Nerve and tissue damage
- Internal bleeding
- Organ failure
- Punctured lung or another organ during an operation
- Complications from an undiagnosed or misdiagnosed illness
- Brain damage
- Adverse effects of drug interactions
- Disfigurement or scarring from an unnecessary procedure
Emotional injuries can also result from medical malpractice. Some patients develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, or depression, which can significantly affect a person’s overall health and well-being. The psychological consequences might last long after physical wounds and scars heal.
How to Handle a Medical Malpractice Case
If you suspect your doctor’s error caused your injury or illness, speak to a medical malpractice attorney immediately. It’s crucial to hire a lawyer to evaluate your situation, gather evidence to build a solid case, and help you get the treatment you need. Delaying medical treatment or waiting too long before taking legal action could prevent you from seeking the compensation you may be owed. You should take the following steps to get started on your medical malpractice case:
- Consider switching medical providers – If you are concerned about the treatment you receive from your doctor, consider finding a new medical provider. An attorney can help you find a new provider. If you are injured or ill, seek medical treatment immediately. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, dial 911.
- Request your medical records – If you believe medical malpractice occurred, request a copy of your medical records if you need them to prove your injury or another critical detail about your case.
- Keep copies of essential documents – Keep copies of any bills, invoices, or receipts related to expenses incurred due to your injuries, such as hospital bills or invoices from doctor’s appointments.
- Keep a pain journal – Keep a daily journal where you record your injury-related symptoms, the physical pain and suffering you experience from your injury, and how your injury or illness affects your everyday life.
- Stay off social media – Avoid posting about your injury or illness on social media until your case is resolved. Anything you say could be misconstrued and used as evidence that your injury is not as severe as you claim.
- Hire a trusted medical malpractice lawyer – An attorney can investigate the circumstances of your injury or illness, gather crucial evidence, and determine who is liable for your injuries. A lawyer can ensure that all necessary paperwork is filed promptly and correctly and keep track of important deadlines in your case. A trusted attorney can also help you find the medical treatment you need.
Compensation for Medical Malpractice
If you suffered an injury due to medical malpractice, you could be entitled to compensation for your losses. You could pursue financial relief for the following:
- Out-of-pocket expenses, such as mileage for traveling to doctor’s appointments
- Lost wages if you cannot work while you heal from your injuries
- Lost earning capacity if your injuries result in permanent impairment preventing you from returning to work or seeking gainful employment
- Medical expenses, including hospital stays, doctor’s visits, diagnostic testing, physical therapy, prescriptions, and medical equipment
- Loss of enjoyment or quality of life due to physical limitations, permanent scarring, or disfigurement
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
Punitive damages are sometimes awarded against defendants in medical malpractice cases. These damages are not intended to compensate the victim of medical malpractice but rather to punish the wrongdoers to deter future misbehavior. Under Virginia law, punitive damages are capped at $350,000.
Pursuing a Wrongful Death Case After a Medical Error
If medical malpractice leads to a patient’s death, the decedent’s surviving family members might be entitled to pursue compensation by filing a wrongful death case against the medical professional or another responsible party.
Virginia law defines wrongful death as a death caused by the neglect, wrongful act, or default of a person or corporation. Commonwealth law requires a wrongful death lawsuit to be brought by the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. Often, the personal representative can be the surviving spouse or a surviving child. In the case of the wrongful death of a fetus, the natural mother can file a lawsuit. If the natural mother dies or develops a disability, the administrator of the natural mother’s estate may file suit.
The compensation from a successful wrongful death case will be awarded to the decedent’s surviving family members in the following order:
- The surviving spouse and children, or grandchildren if the decedent’s children aren’t living
- The decedent’s parents and siblings, if there isn’t a surviving spouse, child, or grandchild, or a relative who shared a household with and was dependent on the decedent
- Any surviving family member who is entitled to the estate under intestate succession if no other family members are alive
If you file a wrongful death case after a medical error that killed your loved one, you could pursue compensation for the following losses:
- Loss of the decedent’s care, services, assistance, and protection
- Reasonable burial and funeral expenses
- The value of lost income, including benefits and wages the decedent could have earned if they survived
- Medical bills related to the final injury or illness
- Loss of the decedent’s companionship, advice, comfort, society, and guidance
- Sorrow and mental anguish
Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice
In Virginia, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice gives you two years from the date the injury occurred to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. However, the two-year deadline might be extended under specific circumstances, including the following:
- Foreign object – If a medical professional leaves a foreign object in your body that has no diagnostic or therapeutic effect, you have one year from the date you discover or should reasonably discover the object to file your lawsuit.
- Failure to diagnose – If your healthcare professional fails to diagnose your cancer; intracranial, spinal, or intraspinal schwannoma; or malignant tumor, you have one year from the date of discovery to file suit.
- Delayed discovery of injury – If a medical provider’s concealment, fraud, or intentional misrepresentation prevented you from discovering your injury within the two-year timeframe, you have one year from the date of discovery or from when you reasonably should have made the discovery to file the lawsuit.
While extending the two-year deadline might be possible, keep in mind that you cannot file your medical malpractice lawsuit beyond 10 years from the date the malpractice occurred.
Even if you can extend the deadline, speaking to a medical malpractice attorney is crucial. Gathering evidence to prove liability and to build a robust case can take weeks or months. If you miss the statutory deadline, the court will almost certainly dismiss your case, and you will lose your right to seek compensation in civil court. A medical malpractice attorney can file necessary paperwork promptly and correctly and ensure that you don’t miss any critical deadlines.
Speak to an Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Virginia Beach Today
If you or a loved one suffered an injury or illness due to medical malpractice, you deserve to seek justice and compensation for the harm that has been done.
Attorneys Mike Deering and Chris Todd Hedrick are committed to holding medical professionals accountable for their wrongdoing. We can advocate for your rights and help you pursue financial relief for medical bills, lost wages, and other injury-related losses. At Deering Hedrick, we can handle every detail of your medical malpractice case so that you can focus on healing. Contact our office today to speak to an experienced medical malpractice lawyer in Virginia Beach.