How does a Virginia medical malpractice lawsuit work?
December 7, 2021 by GKwriter
Medical malpractice cases are a bit more complicated than other types of injury cases. They include some added steps as you’ll need an expert review of your medical records to confirm malpractice.
Hiring a skilled Virginia medical malpractice attorney is the best way to ensure a smooth case. Your attorney will ensure that you meet all deadlines related to your case and gather evidence to prove your case.
We’ll explain the process of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit and what you can expect throughout the process.
Step 1: Investigation and record review
The first step your attorney will take in your medical malpractice lawsuit is to investigate the details surrounding your case. We’ll ask that you get a copy of your medical records from your doctor’s office or medical facility.
It’s generally easier for patients to request this information directly than for an attorney to do so. If you encounter any issues in getting your records, we’ll certainly step in to help.
After you request these records, the doctor’s office or medical facility has three days to provide the records to you. However, if the case involves a nursing home, federal law mandates that the nursing home must provide these records within two business days of your request.
Be aware that your doctor’s office might charge you for making copies of these records. This is a legal charge that the office can mandate that you pay before producing your records. However, this should not be an enormous fee.
Once you have the records, you’ll meet with your attorney to review the records. One thing your attorney will be checking for during an initial medical record review is that your medical records are complete. Any signs of exclusions or cover-up will be a red flag to your attorney.
Generally, the investigation and record review process will take a few weeks as we work to make sure all pertinent details are present. Otherwise, we’ll need to request further information from the medical professional.
Step 2: Expert review
We’ll then work with a medical expert to provide an expert review of your medical records. In a medical malpractice case, the courts will evaluate whether your health care provider met the standard of care the industry sets based on the circumstances.
Generally, this means evaluating whether another medical professional would have acted in the same manner had they been presented with the same circumstances. That’s why we’ll work with an expert who can speak to this directly.
When hiring an expert, we look for a licensed doctor who provides care in the same specialty as the doctor in question for medical malpractice. This allows the expert to speak directly to whether your doctor acted appropriately.
Sometimes, complicated cases require a second expert review to confirm that your doctor did not act appropriately. Hiring these experts is generally not inexpensive and is separate from attorney fees. We’ll discuss this with you before moving forward with hiring an expert.
Step 3: Case certification
After the expert completes their review of the case, they’ll certify in writing their opinion about the case. Virginia Code 8.01-20.1 states that all medical malpractice cases must have expert witness certification. This means you can’t file a lawsuit without this step.
This certification verifies that the medical professional in question did not provide the standard of care that others would have provided in the same circumstances. Failure to meet the standard of care resulted in your injuries or prolonged ailments.
Step 4: Filing the lawsuit
The statute of limitations on medical malpractice in Virginia is two years from the date of the improper care you received or of you becoming aware of this poor care. You must file your lawsuit by this time.
Your attorney will present all relevant details and documentation within a complaint that they will file with the courts. After filing, the courts will serve the named parties in your case informing them of your lawsuit.
From the date that the courts serve the documents to the defendant, they’ll have one month to respond.
At this point, the medical professional or facility might request a settlement negotiation before the case goes to court. This is a meeting with both sides of the case and their attorneys to discuss a fair settlement.
If the settlement negotiations are unsuccessful, the court trial will move forward.
Medical malpractice cases are complicated cases that require in-depth expertise. Gore & Kuperman provides a team of skilled attorneys who have litigated and won countless medical malpractice cases. Schedule a free case review to learn more about whether you might have a medical malpractice lawsuit.