Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider offers treatment that falls below the medical community’s accepted standard of care, putting the patient at risk. When you or someone you know is injured because of medical malpractice, contact a seasoned Chesterfield County medical malpractice lawyer for a no-obligation case evaluation. A personal injury attorney could provide clarity during this difficult period and help you understand your legal rights.
According to Virginia Code §8.01-243, the statutory deadline for medical malpractice is generally two years from the date of the injury. When the plaintiff dies because of the medical malpractice, the wrongful death lawsuit must be filed by the estate administrator or executor within two years of the individual’s death.
If a child under eight years old is a victim of medical malpractice, the deadline extends until their 10th birthday. When the malpractice is committed by a nurse or doctor employed by the Commonwealth of Virginia, a medical malpractice claim must be established under the Virginia Tort Claims Act. In such cases, the injured party must provide the Commonwealth notice within one year of the malpractice.
A well-versed Chesterfield County attorney could evaluate any exceptions to the statutory deadline applicable to the plaintiff’s case. Under the continuing treatment rule, if there has been considerable uninterrupted treatment for the condition by the healthcare provider, a lawsuit must be filed within two years of the last date of treatment. When the medical malpractice claim involves a foreign object (i.e. a surgical sponge) left in the patient without their knowledge, the plaintiff has two years from the injury date or one year from the date they discovered the object to file a lawsuit.
In medical malpractice lawsuits involving more than one defendant, the common law doctrine of joint and several liability comes into play. Joint and several liability is applicable when the plaintiff is injured by numerous defendants but cannot prove precisely how much each defendant contributed to their injury. In these circumstances, each individual defendant could be held liable for the full extent of the damages they inflicted.
The state’s vicarious liability doctrine permits a plaintiff filing an action against a health care employee for malpractice to also file a lawsuit against their employer. Under the vicarious liability doctrine, the employer is liable for the acts of their employee if the employee was acting in the scope of their employment.
Virginia law places a cap on medical malpractice damages. The limit varies depending on when the alleged malpractice occurred. Va. Code §8.01-581.15 establishes the annual cap increases for medical malpractice through 2030, including the following:
If you were harmed by a healthcare provider’s error, an established Chesterfield County medical malpractice lawyer who understands the complexities of these claims could help. They could review the facts of your medical treatment and injuries and determine if you have a claim. Call today to discuss your options.