When Can You Sue For A Birth Injury In Virginia?
In order to have a solid case for a birth injury malpractice lawsuit, you (or your lawyer) must prove that the healthcare provider you’d like to sue was medically negligent. Nurses, doctors, and other healthcare providers have a duty to consistently follow the medical standard of care for their professions. This standard of care includes the accepted best practices and methods of a particular field.
The Standard Of Care In Childbirth
If a healthcare provider responsible for your care failed to follow the standard of care and an injury occurred as a result, that healthcare provider may be considered medically negligent. Some common forms of medical negligence in birth injury lawsuits include:
- Opting for a natural birth when a c-section could prevent complications and injuries
- A delayed birth resulting in unnecessary complications
- Errors involving forceps and vacuum extractors during assisted deliveries
- Failure to identify and respond to maternal health problems, like high blood pressure or infections
- Failure to diagnose and treat signs of fetal distress, like oxygen deprivation and umbilical cord issues
In most birth injury cases, the cause of the injury is not immediately clear to the family. You’ll need to have the medical evidence of your case carefully reviewed by an experienced Virginia birth injury lawyer in order to determine if medical negligence played a role in your child’s birth injury.
Common Birth Injuries & Related Costs
Occasionally, birth injuries clear up with minimal medical treatment and no long-term complications. But physical trauma during childbirth has the potential to cause permanent and debilitating injuries for the infant. Most birth injury malpractice lawsuits involve severe conditions, such as:
It’s possible for children with severe birth injury-related complications to live comfortably, but they need to have extensive and costly support systems to do so. Some expenses families of children with severe disabilities can expect to face include:
- Frequent and ongoing medical treatment
- Occupational, physical, speech, and other therapies
- Personal daily caretakers
- Handicapped-accessible vehicles and home renovations
These expenses can quickly become unaffordable for the average Virginia family. When an injury could have been prevented by proper medical care, it’s important that the child’s family considers a birth injury malpractice lawsuit in order to secure the financial compensation they’ll need to support their child.
Medical Malpractice Laws In Virginia
If your family has been discussing a birth injury malpractice lawsuit, you may be wondering how Virginia’s medical malpractice laws could affect your case. It’s good to be aware of these laws, but their application varies depending on the particular circumstances of a case.
You’ll need to have the unique details of your family’s situation reviewed by an experienced Virginia birth injury malpractice lawyer before you can fully understand how these laws relate to your case.
Statute Of Limitations
Each state sets their own deadlines for filing lawsuits – these laws are known as statutes of limitations. You’re required to file your lawsuit before the end of the statute of limitations, but it can sometimes be difficult to determine the date of this deadline. It’s especially complicated for birth injury cases since they involve minors. This is why it’s important to take legal action soon after you suspect medical malpractice occurred.
Under Virginia malpractice law, both parties have the option to request a review panel who will assess the viability of a potential medical malpractice claim. These panels are made up of two doctors, two lawyers, and a judge. These panels review evidence and provide an opinion on whether the healthcare provider violated the medical standard of care, and whether this violation directly caused an injury. This opinion is not binding, but doctors and lawyers on these panels can be called to testify in court if the case goes to trial.
Requirements For Medical Expert Witnesses
In Virginia medical malpractice cases, plaintiffs are required to have testimony from medical experts which establishes the definition of the medical standard of care and shows how the defendant violated this standard. These experts are also required to have practiced in the same specialty or closely related specialty as the defendant in the year prior to their testimony.
Caps On Damages
Like many other states, Virginia limits the amount of financial compensation that can be awarded in medical malpractice cases. Virginia law doesn’t draw a distinction between non-economic and economic damages – instead, total damages are capped at $2,000,000.
Patient Compensation Fund
Virginia has a patient compensation fund specifically for birth-related medical malpractice and neurological injuries. This fund covers infants who are permanently disabled because of damage to the brain or spine caused by oxygen deprivation or birth injuries during labor and delivery. These children are eligible to receive compensation for lifetime medical expenses and half of the prevailing weekly wage beginning at age 18. This program is voluntary, and not all hospitals and healthcare facilities participate.
Filing A Birth Injury Malpractice Lawsuit
Filing a birth injury malpractice lawsuit is a complex process which involves meeting the requirements of state laws, gathering detailed evidence, finding expert witnesses, negotiating with insurance companies, and presenting arguments effectively in court. It’s important for families affected by birth injuries to seek legal advice from a lawyer with experience in Virginia birth injury malpractice cases.
Our local lawyers help families in Washington D.C., Richmond, Alexandria, and throughout the rest of Virginia get the financial support they need following a preventable birth injury. We understand the difficulties your family may be facing, and we know how to build a successful case. To find out more about how we can help your family, contact us today for a free consultation.
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