Medical Malpractice occurs when a physician, nurse, hospital, or other health care provider fails to treat a patient as a reasonably prudent doctor or health care provider would and the patient is injured.What's Involved in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
What is or isn’t malpractice is based on “causation” and a complex concept of “standard of care.” To be successful in a medical malpractice lawsuit, the plaintiff must clearly establish that the injury was caused by the negligence of the practitioner. To establish “negligence,” the plaintiff must show that the practitioner’s actions did not meet the “standard of care” – that is, what a reasonably prudent practitioner in similar circumstances would do. To establish “standard of care,” the plaintiff presents testimony of medical “experts.”Is a Mistake Malpractice?
Most medical professionals are caring individuals who are deeply committed to their patient’s well-being. But they are human and can make mistakes. The most common medical malpractice claims stem from when a doctor fails to diagnose or improperly diagnoses a health issue, or makes an error during a procedure or surgery. A mistake or adverse outcome does not necessarily mean it is malpractice. This is why medical malpractice law is a specialty that calls for extensive experience, in-depth research and the use of the nation’s top medical experts. We have successfully resolved many cases from common medical errors:
- Failure to diagnose cancer
- Failure to diagnose stroke
- Anesthesia error-related malpractice
- Failure to diagnose skin cancer
- Failure to diagnose breast cancer
- Failure to diagnose bone cancer
- Operated on wrong surgical site
- Incorrect surgical procedure results in leg amputation
- Improper anesthesia care results in death
- Improper anesthesia administration results in death
If you’ve been seriously injured due medical negligence, then you are not alone. According to a recent study by Johns Hopkins, medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States, behind only heart disease and cancer. The Journal of Patient Safety estimates that 440,000 people die every year due to preventable medical errors. To put that number in perspective, that would be the equivalent to seeing the entire population of Raleigh, North Carolina or Miami, Florida die in a single year. There is little hard data on medical malpractice that causes non-death injuries. However, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement found that “adverse events” occurred in at least one-third of all hospital admissions.
As alarming as those statistics are, the problem is actually far greater. Medical errors can occur in almost any healthcare setting including hospitals, clinics, surgery centers, medical offices, nursing homes, pharmacies, and patients’ homes.Of all Patients Who are Injured Through Malpractice, Only 1 in 10 Brings a Claim
We often hear seriously injured clients say, “I’m not the kind of person who would sue their doctor.” No one is anxious to pursue a lawsuit against someone from whom you sought help and who sought to help you. A medical malpractice lawsuit isn’t personal; it is about justice and responsibility. If malpractice caused serious injury or death, then the provider should accept responsibility for his actions. If malpractice caused your injury, you should be compensated. Your lawsuit seeks justice. Many of the cases won by Sickels, Frei and Mims have also resulted in improved practices so others may not have to suffer as you did.Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Provide Answers
In far too many instances, it is only through a lawsuit that victims or their families learn what caused serious injury or death. The parents of a 16-year old boy came to our firm to find out why their son died during what is considered a simple, out-patient knee surgery. The hospital would not release any information about the surgery to the parents. It was only through our lawsuit that the answers were revealed. During the discovery process, the firm obtained the medical records that indicated that the boy’s death was due to improper administration of anesthesia.What is Meant by Compensation?
Someone who is injured or the family of a victim who died through medical malpractice can recover or be compensated through “damages.” Damages is a term that may include medical bills, lost wages, loss of future earnings, loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, disfigurement, future medical expenses and specific costs related to the permanent injury or death.Experience Matters
Every year since 1970, Sickels, Frei and Mims attorneys have won medical malpractice cases. Partner Gary Mims was voted by his peers as the Best Lawyers’ 2017 Lawyer of the Year for Medical Malpractice. We are proud to have fought and won suits on behalf of many injured patients, awarding millions of dollars to our clients and their families to help replace lost wages, pay medical bills, and obtain compensation for personal losses, such as pain, disfigurement, and disability. We've also worked for legislation to make medical malpractice laws more fair to patients, and to hold healthcare professionals accountable. The experience of your attorney is exceptionally important in this complicated area of law. (Read more about the challenges that plaintiffs face in medical malpractice cases, including jury bias.)Why Virginia is One of the Most Difficult States in the Country for Medical Malpractice Suits
Virginia plaintiffs face an unfair playing field in medical malpractice cases, due to several state laws. Perhaps the single greatest example of how Virginia law favors defendants in medical malpractice cases is the “cap.” Virginia law “caps” the amount of money to be paid to the injured. Under this law, Va.Code Section 8.01-581.15, defendants in medical malpractice cases are protected from paying any more than the cap in any medical malpractice lawsuit, regardless of any factors. The amount of the cap depends on when the alleged medical error occurred:
- For medical malpractice committed from July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2105, the cap is $2.15 million.
- For July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016, the cap is $2.20 million
- For July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017, the cap is $2.25 million
- For July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018, the cap is $2.30 million
- For July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019, the cap is $2.35 million.
We are proud to have fought and won suits on behalf of many injured patients, which have provided millions of dollars to our clients and their families to help replace lost wages, pay medical bills, and obtain compensation for personal losses, such as pain, disfigurement, and disability. We've also worked for legislation to make medical malpractice laws more fair to patients, and to hold healthcare professionals accountable...including having their professional licenses revoked.
Click here for just a few examples of how Sickels, Frei and Mims has helped victims of medical malpractice:
- $1.34 million for brain injury from diagnostic test
- $1.245 million for failure to diagnose prostate cancer
- $1 million for failure to diagnose bone cancer
The prospect of a medical malpractice lawsuit may seem overwhelming, since most victims typically have limited medical knowledge...especially as it relates to the law. If so...you may be unsure if it's a case of malpractice or is actionable. Take this first step to find out:
Contact Us to schedule an initial consultation.