When your doctor makes a mistake, the outcome can be tragic for you and your family. You have hospital bills piling up and you're out of work, but you've heard that hospitals have deep pockets and ‘round-the-clock lawyers.
Before you get into a long legal battle, you want to make sure it will be worth it to pursue your medical malpractice case. And it's a good idea, because not all negligent physicians are guilty of malpractice.
Determining if your physician was at fault
In order for your Virginia doctor to be liable for medical malpractice, three things must have occurred:
- A medical professional made a mistake while treating you.
- You sustained serious harm or injury.
- Your injury was a direct result of that mistake.
Many people think that when a doctor makes a mistake, he can easily be sued for negligence. However, if the mistake was corrected or did not cause injury, a medical malpractice case is less likely to succeed. Your doctor has a duty to treat you according to acceptable methods pertaining to your age, health, and condition. This is known as the standard of care, and it is only when the doctor breaches the standard of care that he can be negligent.
Next, you must be able to show that you were harmed after the event took place. There's no medical malpractice case unless you suffered an injury, were unable to work, or were severely limited in function.
Finally, you must be able to prove that the injury was directly caused by the doctor's mistake. In cases of wrong-side amputation or excessive bleeding after an operation, the evidence seems fairly straightforward. But if your injury is more complex, expert witnesses can be called to testify that the mistake was responsible for your injury.
Our Fairfax Malpractice Attorneys Can Help
To find out if your DC doctor is liable for malpractice, call the experienced Fairfax medical malpractice attorneys at Shevlin Smith today at (703) 721-4233 for a free consultation. Download our patient's guide to Virginia medical negligence too for more information regarding medical malpractice lawsuits.