Medical malpractice is a terrifying concept for anyone who has ever put their life in the hands of a doctor. When you trust a doctor, you expect them to improve your health, not make it worse. This makes the injuries you suffer after medical malpractice all the worse.
The only solace to the tragedy of medical malpractice is that you can seek compensation in return for your pain and suffering. But how much money does medical malpractice law in Virginia allow you to receive? That depends on the specific circumstances of your case.
When you hire a personal injury lawyer who practices medical malpractice law in Virginia, they will first investigate your claim. Your attorney can determine the approximate value of your claim based on the following factors.
How Serious Your Injuries Are
You can expect your settlement to be worth more if you suffer a more serious injury. This is because a settlement typically covers all medical costs you incurred (or are expected to incur) due to your injuries. You will likely require more expensive medical care if you are badly injured.
How Much Pain You Suffered
The degree of physical and emotional pain is not the same for all injuries. Even if your medical costs are minimal, you could face years of pain, or vice versa.
For example, you might only spend a few thousand dollars on treating a prominent scar. However, the scar affects your life in other ways, too. It causes a lifetime of emotional pain that Virginia law allows you to get money for.
Quality and Quantity of Evidence
One of the main reasons that your Virginia personal injury attorney will start investigating your case as soon as possible is that evidence often disappears quickly after medical malpractice occurs. Even if doctors or hospitals don’t alter records to hide their mistakes, witnesses are likely to forget details after just a few days.
The sooner your lawyer can start to collect evidence, the more they are likely to find, and the evidence is usually of higher quality. When negotiating for a settlement, your attorney uses this plethora of evidence to convince opposing counsel that you have a strong case and they should agree to a higher value.
The Doctor’s History
You could get more money if the doctor already has a reputation for negligence. Your lawyer will investigate whether the doctor has previously faced accusations of malpractice. If your lawyer discovers previous accusations, your case will be stronger. This gives you a better position at the negotiating table.
The Quality of Your Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Better lawyers know how to get results. That is why we demand excellence from all attorneys at The Joel Bieber Firm. If your current lawyer doesn’t seem to be getting results, contact us to schedule a free case evaluation with a skilled and knowledgeable medical malpractice attorney.
The Effect of Medical Malpractice Laws in Virginia on Settlement Value
Case factors are only a part of the final value of your settlement. You also need to understand how medical malpractice law in Virginia can affect your case.
The most important law impacting your settlement is the one that caps damages. As of 2023, this law caps damages at approximately $2.5 million in total. This cap increases annually, so it should be roughly $3 million by 2030.
Since insurance companies know that you can never get more than that cap at trial, they are not likely to agree to a settlement amount higher than the current cap. This can significantly affect your settlement value if you suffer lifelong injuries.
Contributory negligence laws also affect malpractice settlements in Virginia. These laws prevent you from getting compensation through a civil trial if you are even slightly responsible for the harm you suffered.
This means that we take only the strongest cases. If the insurance company or its lawyers can prove that you are even slightly at fault, it may not offer any settlement and will instead risk a trial.
Virginia law requires victims of medical malpractice to get the testimony of a qualified medical expert to take a case to trial. While it isn’t hard for our law firm to find an expert, they will charge appropriately for their time and expertise.
Since insurance companies know this, they will often effectively deduct part of this cost from their settlement offer. This is an effective strategy because you probably don’t want to wait until after a trial to get paid.
Statute of Limitations
Finally, the Virginia statute of limitations can affect your settlement value. Typically, you have just two years after suffering an injury to file a lawsuit. However, Virginia law offers several exceptions for medical malpractice.
The statute of limitations typically won’t matter if that two-year window hasn’t passed yet. But if it has, our lawyers must prove that you qualify for one of the exceptions. Even if you do, it can take time and effort to prove, and a judge might not agree with those arguments.
In most cases, neither side wants to risk a judge’s ruling. Instead, both sides might agree to a settlement of slightly lower value. This prevents you from getting anything if the judge rules against you. It also prevents the insurance company from paying a larger sum if the judge rules in your favor.
Contact The Joel Bieber Firm Today
If you or a loved one has suffered due to the negligence of a medical professional, you deserve compensation for that harm. Contact one of our experienced attorneys today and schedule a free consultation to learn how much your Virginia medical malpractice claim might be worth.