What Should I Do if I Think I Have Been the Victim of a Medical Error?

A study conducted in 2017 determined that more than 251,000 deaths every year are the result of medical errors. This means that medical errors are the third leading cause of accidental death in the United States. With this worrying statistic in mind, you need to take immediate action if you suspect that you have been a victim of a medical error. This can include your condition being diagnosed too late, being diagnosed incorrectly, and surgical complications. If you or a loved one experienced an injury and you feel that a medical error could be to blame, contact the experienced Virginia Beach medical malpractice lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp to schedule a free consultation

What Constitutes a Medical Error?

According to the National Institutes of Health, a medical error is “the failure of a planned action to be completed as intended (an error of execution) or the use of a wrong plan to achieve an aim (an error of planning.)” Simply put, a medical error is a mistake made by a doctor, nurse, radiologist, anesthesiologist, or other healthcare professionals during the process of monitoring, treating, or diagnosing a patient. Despite the fact that these errors are usually unintentional and often the result of carelessness,  they can lead to the death of a patient, worsen their prognosis, or cause a severe but non-fatal illness or injury.

Types of Medical Errors

Medical errors fall under one of two categories:

  • Errors of commission: These medical errors occur as the result of a wrong action being taken, such as operating on the wrong part of the body or operating on the wrong patient. An example of an error of commission that was successfully handled by our firm is a negligent hysterectomy that left our client with permanent medical problems.  
  • Errors of omission: Errors of omission happen as the result of an action that was not taken, such as failure to diagnose, failure to provide appropriate treatment, and providing subtherapeutic doses of medicine. An example of an error of omission that our attorneys successfully resolved is when a woman passed away after her doctor failed to diagnose her with hospital-acquired necrotizing fasciitis.   

Since 1985, our Virginia Beach medical malpractice lawyers have been helping clients and their families injured due to medical errors seek justice and fair compensation for both types of medical errors. 

What Should I Do if I Plan to Pursue a Virginia Medical Malpractice Lawsuit? 

If you think you have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit, you should:

Consult a Virginia Beach Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Medical malpractice is a complex area of law. It requires a thorough knowledge of medicine, medical experts, medical records, and medical procedures. Your lawyer should be a skilled trial lawyer. Although medical malpractice cases can be settled out of court, it is in your best interests to work with a lawyer who has the experience to take your case to trial.  

Find Out if Your Case Has a Chance of Being Successful

When it comes to medical malpractice lawsuits, you don’t just need to determine if you have a valid case but if that case is winnable. What might seem like an unmistakable act of negligence to you, might not meet the criteria for malpractice in the eyes of the law. Before you get too embroiled in the thought of filing a lawsuit, it is a good idea to get a straightforward, professional opinion of your potential case’s chance of success.  

Get Copies of Your Medical Records

Although your lawyer can certainly acquire them on your behalf, requests for a patient’s medical records are responded to more quickly when they come from the patient themselves. By bringing your medical records with you to your free consultation, your lawyer will be better able to assess your case. 

Keep a Daily Journal

Keep a diary of all medical-related experiences including dates, names, what you have been told, any new issues that develop, and your progress. It’s easy to forget even critical details when you or your loved ones are undergoing treatment.

Do Not Discuss Your Case With Others

Although it is a major event in your life, it is important that you refrain from telling people that you are pursuing a medical malpractice claim. This includes mentioning it in a casual chat with a neighbor and posting it on social media. Keeping this information to yourself will also help protect you from having your words taken out of context. using your own words against you.  

Discuss Your Medical Error With Virginia Beach Medical Malpractice Lawyer

If you were injured due to a medical error in Virginia, you may be entitled to file a medical malpractice claim. The experienced Virginia Beach medical malpractice lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp have been helping clients harmed by medical negligence since 1985. If you developed an injury or illness or your prognosis was worsened by a medical error or any other type of malpractice, we can help. Our commitment to the best interests of our clients and their families and our understanding of medical malpractice law enabled us to achieve a $1.6 million jury award for a client who endured a seizure and a traumatic brain injury after her doctor failed to diagnose her. Schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team by calling (833) 997-1774 or by filling out our simple contact form. Our offices are located in Virginia Beach, Hampton, Portsmouth, and Norfolk.