The National Center for Health Statistics, an arm of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reported more than 125 million outpatient hospital visits were made in 2015. In addition to these outpatient visits, nearly 900 million visits to physician offices were made around the country in the same year. A more detailed analysis indicates that 93% of children and nearly 84% of adults received services from a healthcare professional during that time.
Clearly, Americans regularly put our health and trust in the hands of doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals. Indeed, for many Americans, frequent doctor visits are a routine part of life, and we value and rely upon the unique expertise of our chosen medical professionals. Unfortunately, our trust is sometimes violated by the negligence or unreasonable behavior of those professionals, and each year many people are catastrophically injured or lose their lives as a result.
When you have suffered as the result of an avoidable medical mistake, you may feel you have more questions than answers: Why did this happen? How will I support my family while I recover? What about my job? Do I need a lawyer to help me?
The lawyers at Allen & Allen understand that you may feel your life has been shattered, and we have made it our mission to help you put the pieces back together.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional makes an unreasonable mistake that results in an injury or death.
It’s very important to understand that not every unfavorable outcome of a medical procedure is considered malpractice. The determination of whether an event qualifies as malpractice is made by other medical professionals in the same field of specialty. These peers must decide if one practitioner’s behavior or actions are considered “unreasonable” or negligent, and if they are, then a medical malpractice case may ensue.
What are Common Types of Medical Malpractice?
Failure to Provide Informed Consent
A doctor has a responsibility to disclose to a patient any known risks of a procedure or course of treatment. This responsibility is known as the “duty of informed consent.” According to the American Medical Association’s Journal of Ethics, to fulfill the duty of informed consent a physician must disclose:
(1) condition being treated; (2) nature and character of the proposed treatment or surgical procedure; (3) anticipated results; (4) recognized possible alternative forms of treatment; and (5) recognized serious possible risks, complications, and anticipated benefits involved in the treatment or surgical procedure, as well as the recognized possible alternative forms of treatment, including non-treatment [4, 5].
If a patient was not informed of the possible risks of a treatment or procedure and would have declined to participate if they had been, then the doctor may be liable for medical malpractice in the instance that the uninformed patient is injured.
Failure to Diagnose or Delayed Diagnosis
A patient may have a medical malpractice claim if they had an obvious symptom (or set of symptoms) that would have been discovered by a competent and reasonable medical professional, but the symptom went undiagnosed completely or the diagnosis was delayed and resulted in injury or death.
Incorrect or Incompetent Treatment
A doctor who correctly diagnosed an injury or illness, but then administered the incorrect treatment may be liable for medical malpractice. A doctor who correctly diagnosed a patient’s condition and selected the proper treatment, but then administered that course of treatment improperly or incompetently may also be liable for medical malpractice.
Why Early Action is Important
Under Virginia law, injured persons have only two years to file a medical malpractice suit if their injury qualifies. Because it can take months to collect the medical records and other evidence necessary to determine if you have a viable case, and because the statements of experts and their analysis and opinions of those records could add several more months to the overall case assessment period, it is recommended that you seek the advice of an attorney as soon as possible.
Why Choose Allen & Allen?
Medical malpractice insurance companies have an obvious financial motivation to find any possible reason to deny your claim, and they have extensive resources available to help do so. The American Association for Justice reports that, according to their data, medical malpractice cases are the least likely of all personal injury cases to settle without a jury trial. An experienced attorney who has confronted these insurers and navigated the murky waters of medical malpractice with positive results is essential to the success of your claim.
At Allen & Allen, we have a team of lawyers dedicated to handling medical malpractice claims. This team is led by accomplished attorneys Malcom P. McConnell, III and Jason W. Konvicka. They have proven their expertise by winning numerous jury verdicts and settlements including:
- A substantial verdict in a Fredericksburg, VA court for a client whose severely swollen spinal cord went undiagnosed by his doctor. At the time this was the largest medical malpractice verdict in Virginia.
- A substantial verdict in Charlottesville, VA court for a young client who lost vision in his right eye when a nationally known pediatric ear, nose, and throat specialist at UVA allowed a resident to perform surgery without informing the patient’s mother. Allen & Allen tried the case exclusively on the issue of informed consent, arguing that a parent has the right to know who is operating on his/her child. The jury agreed.
- A substantial settlement on behalf of a family that lost a loved one due to nursing negligence in a Washington, D.C. area hospital. The lawsuit was pending in court and settled shortly before trial.
Start Rebuilding Your Life
You should not have to shoulder the financial burden of an injury or the death of a loved one that was caused by someone else’s negligence. Let us help you collect the compensation you deserve by holding the person who caused your suffering accountable. At Allen & Allen, our team of experienced lawyers, in-house investigators, and network of medical professionals use their skills to collect evidence and build a solid case on your behalf while you focus on your recovery.
If you or a family member has been injured due to the actions of a healthcare professional, don’t wait to contact a lawyer. Don’t wait to begin rebuilding your life.