Bad stuff happens, and it isn’t always someone’s fault

Bad stuff happens, and it isn’t always someone’s fault

Bad stuff happens, and it isn’t always someone’s fault 150 150 Lauren Ellerman

I have spent the last 36+ hours in hospital waiting rooms, the ICU and various stages of pre and post op care with a member of my family. (Thankfully she is doing well). 

I have seen some extraordinary surgical care and most compassionate nursing care. I am also painfully aware of what COULD have happened had anyone failed to do their job well. Death. Paralysis. Kidney failure. Infection. Colon death – the list goes on. 

Not every health emergency is someone’s fault. We all recognize that on some level, but in the throws of loss, or tragedy or suffering, we are often looking for someone to blame. I’ve been there. I understand that. 

And our job as medical malpractice attorneys for families – is to determine whether the emergency happened because someone didn’t do their job, or, if it is one of those awful things that can just happen. 

How do we do that?

We start by requesting the medical records. As medical records are now mostly electronic, the records tell an often detailed story about who did what and when. 

We review the records in detail – often referencing relevant medical literature and studies that reflect the most up to date guidelines and evidence related to the condition and care. 

If we feel no negligence occurred (meaning – everyone did their job well and the bad thing just happened) – we will decline the case. Virginia law does not allow the injured to recover simply because they were injured. The injury has to have been caused by negligent care. 

If we feel negligence occurred because of negligence (omission or mistake of some sort) we next have to hire medical experts to review the case and records.

If and only if, one expert says (1) negligent care was provided; and a second expert says (2) that negligence caused the injury  – do we file suit. 

Clients will often wonder why we don’t use the same experts in every case. The reason is complicated – but in general, we want the expert who is best qualified to review the file, not just someone who knows our firm. 

So while that healthcare emergency was likely the worst thing that ever happened to you or your family, that doesn’t necessarily mean there is a viable lawsuit related to the incident. 

Contact an attorney that handles many Virginia claims to get yours evaluated. 

And know, we are so very sorry for your pain and loss – and will do everything we can to investigate your loved ones care.  


About the author

Lauren Ellerman

In 2011, Lauren Ellerman was named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the Roanoke Bar Association for her work in the community. To speak with Lauren about your personal injury case, contact her at

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