My favorite part of my job is meeting Virginia families who want to know whether or not they have a possible malpractice lawsuit. Typically, they have never spoken to an attorney before. They are shy about calling. And they just want to know, if what happened, should have happened. And if it shouldn’t have happened, what can be done.
These are all very understandable and reasonable questions.
The hardest part of my job is when I know (and medical experts agree) that a hospital, nursing home, doctor, etc. has done something really wrong – I mean, clearly acted negligently, and there is nothing we can do about it.
How can a Virginia family know whether they have a medical malpractice case?
Here are a few situations when someone will be denied recovery in medical malpractice case:
(a) The family calls our office too late – and the statute of limitations on the case has expired;
(b) We cannot prove to a reasonable degree of medical certainty that the negligence caused an injury;
(c) The injury may be related to something else – and without the link of negligence and the cause of injury – we cannot purse the case.
Doesn’t sound fair, does it?
You know someone is at fault. Legally speaking, they were negligent. But under Virginia law, you must also prove causation – which basically means, the mistake caused the injury. No question.
Without causation, you are not allowed under Virginia law to pursue a case. Period.
So I occasionally have to tell families I am so sorry. Common sense may tell us their loved one suffered because of the hospital’s mistake, but if I can’t legally prove it was the major cause of their injury, we can’t sue. No recovery. No lawsuit. No apology. No accountability.
That is why medical malpractice cases are so difficult to prove. It is a very high standard to meet (a) negligence (b) causation and (c) damages.
And sadly, that sometimes means no one learns from their mistakes.
It may not be fair, but it is the law.
If you or a your loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice, we will be happy to investigate the case for you and determine whether or not it is a lawsuit. Feel free to call us today at (866) 985-0098.
We would be honored to help you.