Why the high bar for medical malpractice is hard to reach AND appropriate

Individuals who call our office have typically suffered a great injury or loss. They wouldn’t be calling an attorney unless they were hurt physically or emotionally by a health care provider.

And many of those callers do not (in our firm’s opinions) have a malpractice case or potential lawsuit.

The bar in Virginia for filing a medical malpractice action is very high. And perhaps surprisingly, I believe it should be.

One cannot file a malpractice lawsuit unless the following scenario exists:

1. A health care practitioner commits negligence (meaning – does something so bad, it fails to meet the standard of what a reasonably prudent health care practitioner would do);

2. negligence is the DIRECT cause of significant or permanent injury to the patient;

3. Patient would not have suffered the injury BUT FOR the health care provider’s negligence; and

4. Injury is expensive to treat and or remedy;

5. Another health care provider has certified that the above is true;

You cannot file and serve lawsuits without experts.

You cannot file lawsuits without obtaining and reviewing all relevant medical records.

You won’t be able to recover in a lawsuit unless you were harmed (significantly) by the negligence.

Many potential clients have been the victims of negligence, but thankfully, they did not suffer permanent injury.

Many potential clients have suffered a bad result from procedure, diagnosis, etc., but their providers care was not substandard.

Probably only 1/10th of the callers we speak to have all of the necessary elements for a claim.

And why, as a patient advocate, do I think this high standard is appropriate?

For the following reasons: Our justice system should address harm, not potential harm. Furthermore, when you file a lawsuit against a health care provider, rest assured it has an effect on that person, their family, their practice and their life. Imagine many sleepless nights, anxiety, worry, financial hardship, loss of reputation, loss of business, loss of patients. The stakes are high so the standard should be high.

Our investigation of your potential lawsuit is free. If we believe you have a strong case, we will recommend you file it. If we believe you do not have a strong case, we will recommend you pass. Want to know either way? Call our office today and speak to one of our attorneys or paralegal about your potential claim.

Lauren Ellerman

(540) 985-009

Practicing in all of Western and Southwestern Virginia



Lauren Ellerman
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 lellerman@frithlawfirm.com.