How Do I Sue a Doctor for Medical Malpractice in Virginia?
Claims against negligent doctors, providers, and medical facilities are some of the most complicated injury claims. Virginia law establishes strict rules about the timing and procedures associated with medical malpractice claims, and a single mistake can result in delays and lost compensation.
In this article, we explain how to sue a doctor for medical negligence and talk about how an attorney can help.
You Only Have Two Years to File a Medical Malpractice Claim in Virginia
Virginia law establishes a two-year statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims. You must file your lawsuit within two years of the date of your injury; if you miss this deadline, you could lose your right to compensation.
There are some limited circumstances that can extend the filing deadline. For example, you may be able to file after two years if you continue to receive treatment for a particular condition from the same health care provider on a substantially uninterrupted basis, or if your case involves a failure to diagnose certain types of cancer, or if a foreign object (such as a surgical sponge or instrument) was accidentally left in your body during a surgical procedure.
If you need help understanding the deadlines that apply in your medical malpractice claim, contact Phelan Petty for help immediately. It takes time to investigate a doctor’s negligence, compile evidence, and file a lawsuit. If you wait too long, you can put yourself at a significant disadvantage or lose your right to file a lawsuit completely.
The Law Requires Expert Witnesses Who Can Support Your Claim
Medical experts are vital to any malpractice claim. Before your lawsuit can even be served on the defendant, it is necessary that a qualified expert has certified, in writing, that the doctor violated the standard of care and caused the injuries claimed in your case. If you fail to obtain this certification, a judge will likely dismiss your lawsuit.
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At trial, you will also need additional expert witnesses. Because medical malpractice claims are complex, it is important that your trial team select the right experts. These witnesses will help explain your injuries, your treatment plan, and how the at-fault providers caused your injuries. Together, these factors form the foundation of your claim.
You’ll Need to Understand the Standard of Care and Explain Your Claim in Your Pleadings
The standard of care is a critical concept in a medical negligence lawsuit. A doctor is liable for medical malpractice if they failed to respond to a medical situation in the way a reasonably careful physician would have under the same circumstances. This standard can vary depending on the doctor’s specialty and other factors.
In most claims, malpractice victims need help from a lawyer and a team of medical experts to identify the correct standard of care.
RELATED ARTICLE: Medical Malpractice Damage Caps and the Dangers of Tort Reform
To file a lawsuit, you’ll also need to submit a series of documents with the court. This paperwork will outline your claims, identify the at-fault parties, and make a demand for compensation.
A single mistake in your pleadings can be very costly. An error could result in unnecessary hearings, delays, or even the denial of your compensation. Rather than take this risk, it’s always in your best interest to consult a knowledgeable malpractice attorney.
Different Rules May Apply if the Negligent Doctor Worked for the VA or Another Government Agency
If you were injured by a Veteran’s Administration (VA) doctor or another government employee, you may have to file a claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act or the Virginia Tort Claims Act.
These laws have different filing deadlines and procedural requirements. For example, under the Virginia Tort Claims Act, you must notify the Commonwealth of your malpractice claim within one year of the negligent act. You may also face a $100,000 damage cap.
Phelan Petty: Demanding Justice for Virginia Medical Malpractice Victims
Phelan Petty’s medical malpractice lawyers have built a reputation for excellence based on sophisticated legal strategies, extensive medical knowledge, and attention to detail. Because we only handle a select number of medical negligence claims, we can spend our time and energy on the clients who need our help the most.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.