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What is the Virginia Statue of Limitations if a Tool or a Foreign Object is Left Inside My Body?

Medical negligence of any kind can be traumatizing because patients trust doctors with their life and expect them to take maximum care to protect their well-being. One of the most unfortunate forms of medical negligence may occur when a doctor or the medical team carelessly leaves a foreign object or tool inside the patient’s body.

Soft objects, in particular, such as gauze and sponges, may not cause any complication or irritation and may lie dormant in the body for years in some cases. It’s vital to understand how much time you have to file a medical malpractice claim in such cases in Virginia in order to obtain compensation.

How the Statute of Limitations Works in these Cases

The standard period to file a medical malpractice claim in Virginia as per the statute of limitations is two years from the date of injury. In case of a foreign object being left inside the body, the time period would be counted from the date the object is discovered (or should reasonably have been discovered).

If a foreign object or a medical device was purposely left inside the body for a diagnostic or therapeutic use, and it breaks down, malfunctions or causes an adverse effect, you will have the standard time period of two years from the date of discovery of the damage to file your claim.

However, if the foreign object or tool was inadvertently left inside your body without any diagnostic or therapeutic purpose, the law in Virginia gives you an additional period of one year (from the date of discovery) to file your medical malpractice claim. Under Virginia Code § 8.01-243 at Section C, 1, this extension of one year will only apply when the object left inside your body had no medical use.

What You Need to File Your Claim

In these unique cases, when you discover that either the object left inside your body purposefully is broken or has developed a defect or is causing you adverse symptoms, or when you find that an object was left carelessly inside your body without any medical purpose, you should file your claim in Virginia as soon as possible. To file this medical malpractice, you will require:

  • Documents showing when your surgery was performed
  • Dates when you discovered adverse symptoms or complications
  • Dates when a medical treatment or surgery was performed to remove the foreign object

You will need to have complete clarity on the dates involved and the proof to back up your claim. Your best bet in this situation would be to consult with a knowledgeable medical malpractice lawyer in Virginia who has dealt with these types of cases involving surgical mistakes.

You may require prompt medical attention when it is discovered that a foreign object or tool was negligently left inside your body or a purposely placed medical object inside your body has caused complications. These surgical errors can result in serious consequences, such as infections, organ damage, punctures, lacerations, and internal bleeding.

You may have to undergo a revision surgery to take out the unwanted object as well as receive additional treatment for any peripheral damage or complication created by this condition. An experienced and resourceful Virginia medical malpractice lawyer will help ensure that you receive appropriate medical treatment in a timely manner and will pursue your claim for compensation as soon as possible so that you do not have to go through financial worries.    

The Discovery Rule

Discovery of harm is usually the complex aspect of medical malpractice cases to determine from which date the statute of limitations should apply. The discovery rule is aimed at protecting the victims who might remain unaware for a period of time that their health has been harmed because of the medical negligence of their doctor or surgeon.

In these situations, you will need to prove that you did not know that you have a potential case for medical malpractice and could not be reasonably expected to discover the medical negligence before you actually did. Based on these facts (which your attorney can help you establish), your time limit under the statute of limitations will be counted from the date of discovery of medical malpractice.

Contact a Dedicated Virginia Medical Malpractice Attorney

A medical malpractice case where a foreign object was left inside your body will require a thorough investigation and collection of documents and evidence to establish your claim. It is prudent that you consult with a committed medical malpractice lawyer in Virginia as soon as possible.

At Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn, our legal team will swiftly move into action and complete all the necessary steps in the legal process to help you achieve maximum damages. We know this can be a race against time, and we are fully equipped to handle these cases within tight deadlines. Call us today at 800-752-0042 to set up a free consultation.

References:

https://www.hsinjurylaw.com/library/medical-malpractice-statistics.cfm

https://www.hsinjurylaw.com/blog/the-truth-about-medical-malpractice.cfm

https://www.hsinjurylaw.com/library/steps-you-need-to-take-to-prove-medical-malpractice.cfm

Richard N. Shapiro
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Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Va Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake & all of Virginia
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