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What exactly constitutes medical malpractice?

On Behalf of | Jan 15, 2024 | Medical Malpractice

Most people trust in the competence and training of medical professionals and may find the idea of medical malpractice confusing. Given how much schooling a doctor has to undergo, people may assume that medical malpractice is incredibly rare. However, it is among the leading causes of death in the United States according to some researchers. Healthcare professionals can and do make dire mistakes while providing patient care that lead to poor outcomes and preventable expenses. In some of these scenarios, the patients affected or their surviving family members may have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Those coping with the aftermath of a difficult medical situation may wonder if their situation meets the Virginia standard for a medical malpractice lawsuit. While seeking legal guidance to better understand how one’s circumstances may be viewed under the law is wise, there are a few broad standards that every patient who has experienced a negative outcome may benefit from keeping in mind.

Medical malpractice involves misconduct or negligence

People can classify most injury claims into two distinct categories. Some people bring claims due to negligence or omissions. The failure of a party to act may have caused preventable losses. The other category is misconduct. Those who violate rules and laws can cause predictable and preventable harm to others. Both of these types of scenarios can occur in a medical setting.

Overworked doctors can become negligent and may fail to monitor patients. The failure to listen to a patient, intervene when they are in crisis or react in a timely manner to sudden changes in their status could all constitute negligence. So could failing to monitor someone as they taper off of opioids.

Misconduct might involve actual illegal behavior or violations of hospital practices. Sometimes, doctors decide to provide care in a way that contradicts the guidance from the medical organization overseeing their area of practice. A Virginia medical malpractice lawsuit usually requires proof that a doctor didn’t provide proper services or made an error that other professionals could immediately recognize when reviewing the case. There needs to be physical harm to the patient, including injury or death, for the case to lead to a lawsuit.

Those who may have experience medical malpractice and want to take legal action also need to show that they’ve suffered significant financial losses. A combination of actionable negligence or misconduct and financial losses is typically necessary for someone to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit. Learning about the law in Virginia can help people evaluate whether or not they may have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.