Medical Malpractice
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The questions on this page were answered by our team of Virginia Beach & Norfolk personal injury attorneys. The questions are categorized by practice area such as car accidents, medical malpractice, wrongful death, etc. If you have specific questions about your situation, contact our firm to set up a free consultation with an actual attorney.

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  • How is standard of care defined in a medical malpractice case?

    In medical malpractice cases, negligence is determined by whether or not your doctor met the medical standard of care. The definition of this term is not clear cut, but it refers to the care that a competent doctor in the same field would perform in the same situation. How is this determined? In medical malpractice cases, expert witnesses are often used. These witnesses are doctors who are in the same field as the doctor who allegedly caused the medical malpractice. The expert witness analyzes what the doctor did and determines what – if anything – led to the victim’s injuries. The goal of the expert witness is to show how the doctor deviated from the standard of care and how this deviation caused the doctor to breach his or her duty and lead to injuries and damages for the victim. If it can be proven that the doctor did not follow the standard of care, then he or she can be found negligent. The doctor may be forced to pay for various damages caused to the patient.

  • In a medical malpractice case, involving a doctor's surgical error, if it is obvious the doctor was negligent, is it necessary to obtain a surgeon on our side of the case who said that it was an error?

    In a surgical error case it is virtually always required that our side, the side representing the injured victim, retain a medical doctor in the same field as the surgeon, who must give an opinion that the surgeon violated applicable medical standards.  Virginia and many states require that the expert who says malpractice occurred, practice in the same field, and have been practicing in recent time close to when the negligent occurred as well.  In other words, a surgeon that we retain must also be practicing and must be familiar with the area where the medical malpractice allegedly occurred.  

  • How much does it cost to pursue a medical malpractice case?

    Pursuit of a medical malpractice case can be extremely expensive.  The initial review of your medical records by a doctor often will cost between $1500 and $2500, and pursuit of a case all the way through trial may be upwards of $30,000.  For these reasons, we have to be extremely careful in the cases we agree to take, because our firm usually fronts the costs of litigation for our clients.

  • How do I know if I have a medical malpractice case?

    In addition to a review of your medical records and the facts by a qualified medical malpractice attorney, in order to bring a lawsuit you also need a review from another doctor that specializes in the same type of medicine as the one you believe committed malpractice.  Usually your Virginia Beach medical malpracitce attorney can assist you in identifying such a doctor.

  • I had a surgery that didn’t go well, and now I’m worse than I was before the surgery. Do I have a case?

    Possibly, but it is hard to tell.  There is a large difference between a “bad result” and malpractice, and just because you had a bad result does not mean there was medical malpractice.  A review of your medical situation would be necessary in order to tell if you have a case.

  • What do I need to do if I have a potential medical malpractice case I want an attorney to review?

    Medical records are critical for one of our attorneys to review a potential case.  You may not need every medical record that has been created regarding your care (or the care of a loved one if you’re contacting us about someone else), but please speak with one of our attorneys about which records are necessary for a proper review.

  • When does the statute of limitations begin to run on a medical malpractice claim based on negligent failure to diagnosis tumor or cancer?

    For medical malpractice claims based on negligent failure to diagnosis tumor or cancer, the 2 year statute of limitations is extended for one year from when the cancer is communicated, but can never be extended more than 10 years. (Va. Code 8.01-243) A statute of limitations is the period during which one can bring a legal claim in a court of law. The statute of limitations begins to “accrue” or run when a specified action occurs, here when the existence of a tumor or cancer is communicated. When you are trying to recover for medical malpractice in a civil lawsuit attention to the details of civil procedure is critically important to the fate of your overall claim. Contact our firm today to find a medical malpractice lawyer in Virginia who will help guide you through the process of receiving legal damages for the pain and suffering caused by a doctor’s failure to diagnose a tumor.

  • What is the Virginia medical malpractice statute of limitations?

    The statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims in Virginia is 2 years. (Va. Code 8.01-243) A statute of limitations is the period during which one can bring a legal claim in a court of law. For claims involving medical malpractice or improper, negligent, or illegal treatment by a medical professional, claims must be brought within 2 years from the time that the injured party received the treatment. If claims are not brought within their statute of limitations period they will be time barred by the court. If you have questions about your medical malpractice claim within this time frame contact our firm and let our experienced medical malpractice lawyers talk you through your potential claim.

  • I am an active duty military spouse and I gave birth in a military hospital. There were complications with my delivery and I think it’s the doctor’s fault. Can I sue the military hospital even though my spouse is active duty?

     It’s true that your spouse could not sue the government if his doctor injured him, but that rule doesn’t apply to you. Family of active duty service members can bring a claim on their own behalf. If you think your doctor was negligent or committed malpractice during your delivery, you should talk to an experienced medical malpractice attorney about initiating the claim process.

    Claims against the government have to comply with the Federal Tort Claims Act. There are a lot of rules you have to follow when you sue a federal entity that don’t apply to regular lawsuits. For example, you have to file an administrative claim with the appropriate federal agency before you are even allowed to file a lawsuit. After you file the administrative claim, there are specific time limits that apply to each stage of the process.

    It is possible to receive money damages from the federal government for a federal employee’s negligence or a doctor’s malpractice. Don’t feel like you are stuck without a remedy just because your hospital was a military facility. Our military families deserve the best medical care, and if a military doctor was negligent with your treatment, you should be compensated.  See this article about an important Supreme Court Ruling for more information about suing a military doctor for medical malpractice.



  • I had a gynecologic surgery and during the surgery the doctor nicked my ureter. The doctor didn’t realize I was injured until I was very sick. Do I have a claim?

    Some common gynecologic surgeries include the use of a hysteroscope. Unfortunately, if a doctor does not exercise reasonable care during surgery he can cut, perforate, or even sever the ureter or other organs. Patients with a nicked ureter, perforated bowel, or perforated colon can become very sick or even die from the injury.  Correcting this dangerous condition requires additional surgery that can lead to steep medical bills and lost wages during recovery.

    Your doctor may have been negligent in damaging your ureter and failing to diagnose and treat the injury in a timely manner. Our medical malpractice attorneys have successfully litigated surgical error cases and obtained substantial settlements for our clients. For example, Jim Lewis negotiated a $400,000 settlement for a client with a ureter injury.

    The statute of limitations to file a medical malpractice claim is two years in Virginia and three years in North Carolina. Treatment, recovery, and an often slow return to normal life can take a long time. If you believe your doctor was careless during or after your surgery, and you are wondering whether you should file a lawsuit, don’t wait to contact a knowledgeable lawyer to help you evaluate your claim.