A careless, negligent action by a doctor, nurse, or hospital worker can change your life forever. Thousands of individuals are harmed by employees at doctor’s offices and in hospitals each year. If you were injured or harmed by a medical mistake that could have been avoided, you may be eligible to seek compensation from the party responsible. A skilled and experienced West Virginia medical malpractice lawyer can make this possible.
In West Virginia and throughout the United States, the term “medical malpractice” encompasses a broad variety of mistakes and errors that are made in doctor’s offices, hospitals, dentist’s offices, clinics, and all types of medical facilities and institutions. Mistakes made which lead to medical malpractice are those that could have been avoided had the medical professional not been negligent, reckless, or otherwise careless.
The basic premise of medical malpractice law states that medical workers have a professional and legal duty to provide a certain degree of care and exercise skill when providing healthcare services to patients. When a doctor, nurse, or other type of medical professional fails to do this and causes injury and/or death instead, the mistake or error is said to be an act of medical malpractice.
Medical malpractice happens due to a wide variety of reasons, many of which are tied to hospital and medical facility understaffing. When a facility doesn’t staff enough doctors, nurses, or other workers, care begins to suffer. It’s easier for employees to make mistakes when they are juggling more patients than they can comfortably handle. Other factors that often lead to malpractice include employees who are distracted, overtired, or simply careless when they should be paying better attention to their work.
The Different Types of Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice is an overarching term that refers to many different situations. Medical malpractice incidents all take place in a medical facility, such as a hospital or doctor’s office.
Some of the different types of medical negligence cases our firm frequently handles include:
- Birth injuries
- Defective medical devices
- Sexual assault by a doctor or another medical professional
- Surgical errors
- Anesthesia errors
- Improper or incorrect treatment or diagnoses
- Failure to diagnosis
- Failure to treat
- Failure to treat in a timely manner
- Failure to conduct the appropriate medical tests
- Medication errors
- Transfusion errors
- Emergency room delays
- Premature hospital releases
- Negligence leading to infection
- Inattentiveness by hospital staff
- Many more
Virtually any type of medical professional or healthcare facility staff member may be held accountable for taking part in medical negligence or malpractice. Those who may be able to be held responsible include:
- Doctor’s assistants
- Medical technicians such as x-ray technicians
- Emergency room staff members
- Urgent care center staff members
- And more
Preventable medical errors kill and seriously injure hundreds of thousands of Americans every year. The Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) study of preventable medical errors in Virginia malpractice laws estimated as many as 98,000 people die every year from such errors. One in three Americans say that they or a family member has experienced a medical error, and one in five say that a medical error has caused either themselves or a family member serious health problems or death.
Medical Malpractice Laws in West Virginia
Medical Malpractice is a complex, multi-faceted, and ever-changing field of legal practice. However, some background knowledge is good to have if you must bring a case against a healthcare professional while using a medical malpractice law firm in West Virginia.
The following are a few quick facts about malpractice law:
How long you have to pursue a case under the statute of limitations. Although every case is unique, the majority of claims for malpractice must be brought against defendants within two years of the date that harm was caused, or within two years of the date it should have been discovered. There are some situations where could be given more time, but generally you must act quickly and consult with a lawyer.
Why expert testimony is needed for your claim. Under medical malpractice laws in West Virginia, it must be proven that the defendant failed to uphold a reasonable standard of care for his or her profession, and that this failure led to injury on behalf of the plaintiff. In order to provide evidence for this, expert testimony usually must be presented, often in the form of statements and testimony by medical professionals who are highly regarded in their field.
Damage award limits. West Virginia medical malpractice law places monetary limits on the damages you can collect if the doctor in question has medical malpractice insurance for one million dollars or more. Noneconomic damages, such as compensation for the pain and suffering due to your injuries, are limited to $250,000, while actions that involve traumatic injuries are limited to $500,000. We do our best to reach a malpractice settlement for you, but if the insurance company for the doctor or hospital is not reasonable, we use our combined 160 years experience to take your case to trial to get you the compensation you and your family deserve.
Requirements to File a Medical Malpractice Claim
Medical malpractice claims are innately complex and often difficult to fight in court. This is because hospitals and medical facilities in West Virginia tend to be owned by powerful corporations backed by legal departments that are often comfortable finding any loophole possible to avoid letting a claim go through. To succeed with your claim, you’ll need a medical mistake attorney who’s familiar with complex cases, the loopholes corporations sometimes use, and local and statewide malpractice laws.
Our legal team at DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC is experienced with handling complex medical malpractice cases and we know what evidence and testimony your case requires to succeed. We have the resources to put together a strong claim.
In West Virginia, the following information will need to be proven before a medical malpractice claim can be successful:
- A doctor-patient relationship existed
- The doctor/medical professional was negligent and failed to provide the proper degree of care
- Another doctor or medical professional would have acted differently in the same situation (thus providing the correct degree of care)
- The doctor/medical professional’s negligence directly resulted in your injury or illness
- The injury led to specific damages that will have a long-lasting or permanent effect
If, unfortunately, you’ve lost a loved one due to a medical error you believe may have been malpractice, you or the deceased individual’s family members may be able to file a medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of your loved one. Our law firm handles these cases as well.
Our Experienced Charleston Medical Malpractice Lawyers Can Help
At DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC, we’re passionate about pursuing justice for all our clients. We can investigate your potential medical malpractice case to assess the impact of the injury on your life and can help you file a claim and obtain the compensation you need to move forward comfortably and recover from an incident that shouldn’t have occurred.
We may be able to assist you in pursuing damages for:
- Mental anguish
- Physical pain
- Additional medical bills
- Long term recovery costs
- Lost wages or earning capacity
Filing a West Virginia medical malpractice lawsuit may additionally ensure that no other patients are harmed or injured the same way you were. Lawsuits send a message that hospitals and other medical institutions cannot ignore. That message states that patient care must come first. Hospital understaffing isn’t an acceptable excuse for negligence. Our state’s residents deserve better.
Lawsuits help ensure that mistakes are prevented. In the case of medical malpractice, a hospital that gets sued may require their employees to go through extra training or cut down on the number of patients each nurse or doctor oversees. They may also decide to place more of an importance on hiring more staff members or take a second look at their current hiring procedures. All these efforts, in turn, result in better patient care.
Hire our team with 150 years of combined experience if you would like assistance with your case or have any questions we may be able to answer. Our dedicated West Virginia medical malpractice lawyers will do everything they can to help you get the settlement you deserve. Contact our Charleston office to learn more.