Medical care providers are humans. Humans make mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes cause a medical injury. But our medical malpractice system does not compensate for all patient injuries caused by a medical mistake. That’s a shocking statement, isn’t it? Your medical provider can hurt you by mistake. And, yet, you may not be compensated. Why? This blog post will help you understand the answer to that question. The medical malpractice laws in Virginia are complicated. Your law firm should have extensive experience evaluating medical negligence cases. That way, you have the best chance of being compensated for the injury you have sustained. Read on to understand the concepts of “negligence” and the medical “standard of care.”
What is medical malpractice?
Let’s say that your doctor tells you that the treatment he proposes for your cancer has an 85% chance of being successful. Does that mean that if the treatment is unsuccessful that there was a mistake made and you were injured by that mistake? After all, you went through the treatment and you are still sick, or maybe even sicker than when you started. Or another scenario: your doctor prescribes a medicine for your illness and you have a side effect that causes you to be hospitalized or miss work. The medicine your doctor prescribed injured you, so should you be compensated, right? Well, in both of these cases the answer is: Maybe!
This question is complicated in medical malpractice cases. But did you ask the right question? The right question is: was the medical provider negligent in the way he delivered your care. But what is “negligence” in this legal sense? Negligence means that the provider did not do what the hypothetical “average” medical provider would have done under the same circumstances. If the “average” doctor would have done something different than your doctor did then your doctor is said to have violated the “standard of care.”
What is the standard of care?
In medical malpractice cases violating the standard of care is essentially the same thing as acting negligently.
Everyone who hears that definition for the first time asks the same question. That question is: who determines what the “average” medical provider would have done in my particular circumstance? The answer is the so-called “medical expert.” When your law firm reviews your case for potential malpractice, they will consult a medical expert. That expert’s opinion determines whether the standard of care was violated. If the answer is yes, then your malpractice case has passed the first hurdle! Remember, it’s not over. Your medical provider will find an expert to say that he did not violate the standard of care. There are other factors in determining whether you have a potentially winning case, but this is generally the first step.
What should you do now?
After reading this blog you get a sense of the enormous importance of hiring a law firm that knows how to navigate the intricate laws of medical malpractice. You want a firm that has lawyers with medical knowledge. But maybe even more importantly, the ability to find experts that can review cases and credibly testify on your behalf. After you review the Osterbind Law PLLC website or the written materials you will receive if you contact us, we hope you will agree that our team approach to your case, our litigation experience, our relentless effort working on your case, and our infinite compassion for you as a person, set us apart from any malpractice law firm in central Virginia.