No one wants to be a plaintiff in 2017

No one wants to be a plaintiff in 2017

No one wants to be a plaintiff in 2017 150 150 Lauren Ellerman

The phone rang off the hook today – folks wanting to know if they had a medical malpractice lawsuit. Missed work. Pain. Loss of independence. The stories were in many ways similar, and yet, each one totally unique.

What if your health was ripped away from you?

What if you had to watch a loved one suffer for months, while you begged God to spare their life and keep them here?

For those of us who have been through such a trauma, it is not something we can forget, nor is it something we care to re-live. 

As the seasons change we are reminded of those days and weeks we thought our world would end. Of those days when our worlds did end- spouses died, parents suffered,  dreams destroyed.

And what if all of that pain was preventable? Doesn’t that make the loss so much harder to bear?

Of the 10 plus calls we had this morning, I told a number of callers they may have a case but I didn’t recommend (at least not yet) pursuit of the claim as the costs of litigation could exceed the likely recovery. I told a few others that in the end the attorneys and government would be the only ones who would benefit from the claim as liens would be placed by Medicare and Medicaid. I told another woman that her pre-existing health conditions made it a difficult case to win. 

That left maybe 1 or 2 of the 10 where a likely lawsuit existed – and these callers are not to be congratulated, but in my experience, shown sympathy. You only have a medical malpractice lawsuit if you have suffered so tremendously that nothing will ever be the same. You only have a successful case if your financial and physical loss is extensive. You don’t get better and have a medical malpractice lawsuit under Virginia law. You may survive, but it’s not the same. 

So while we discuss our New Year’s resolutions for 2017 – our goals, our hopes, our plans, I don’t think anyone is saying out-loud – I want to be a plaintiff in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit against my doctor! In fact, I know they aren’t. It is as crazy as saying you hope to be in an awful car accident or worse, house fire. It happens on your worst days, and if it does happen, you’ll know.



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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