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Filing A West Virginia Medical Malpractice Claim

Medical malpractice can cause severe injuries and death. Victims of medical malpractice may struggle with significant medical bills as a result of the harm they’ve suffered. They can also suffer financially due to lost opportunities to earn income if they are forced to take time away from work or to stop working as a result of their injuries. Moreover, experiencing an injury related to a healthcare professional’s substandard care can result in emotional and psychological harm.

There are legal options available for medical malpractice victims in West Virginia. If a healthcare professional has caused you harm as a result of substandard patient care, West Virginia law permits you to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the provider who is responsible for causing your suffering. You can also potentially sue the medical facility where you received care.

The dedicated attorneys at Salango Law understand medical malpractice claims. Our team can help you to pursue legal action if you have strong grounds upon which to file a lawsuit. To connect with a Charleston, West Virginia, medical malpractice attorney, call 304-342-0512 or contact us online to request a free consultation.

Elements Of A Medical Malpractice Claim

Filing a successful medical malpractice claim in West Virginia involves proving that a reasonably competent medical provider faced with a similar situation would have provided you with superior care.

When you make a medical negligence claim, you must present evidence establishing each of the following broad realities:

  • The healthcare professional owed you a duty of care under the law
  • The individual breached their duty of care to you by providing substandard care
  • You suffered an injury as a result of that substandard care

Duty Of Care

To establish medical negligence, you must show that the medical professional owed you a duty of care. When you have a doctor-patient relationship, a doctor owes you a duty of care. Similarly, you can have this kind of relationship with a nurse, pharmacist, physician’s assistant, and a tech who is taking images of your body.

By contrast, a doctor whom you meet in a casual social setting, who is not treating you, does not owe you a duty of care. Suppose an individual meets a doctor at a party and strikes up a conversation about medical issues. In that case, the doctor does not owe the individual a duty of care and is, therefore, not responsible if they don’t diagnose that individual’s medical issues properly while at the party.

Breach Of Duty

When a provider’s care falls below a specific professional standard of care, the provider has breached their duty of care. A professional standard of care reflects the ways in which reasonably competent members of the medical field would act if faced with similar circumstances. Suppose a nurse makes a medication error. If other nurses would not have made a mistake in a similar situation, then the nurse has likely breached their duty of care to the patient.

Causation

You must also show that the medical provider caused your injury when they breached their duty of care. In other words, you must establish a link between the medical professional’s actions or omissions and the harm you suffered.

Requirements For Medical Malpractice Claims

In addition to establishing a legal theory of liability, you must meet West Virginia’s legal requirements to file a successful medical malpractice lawsuit. For example, you must file your lawsuit within the time limit—the statute of limitations—that West Virginia law insists upon, or you could be barred from pursuing recovery. Second, you will likely need to provide the parties you intend to sue—such as the healthcare professional at fault and the hospital where you were treated—with a Notice of Claim and Screening Certificate of Merit.

West Virginia’s Statute Of Limitations On Medical Malpractice Claims

West Virginia law imposes a two-year statute of limitations on most medical malpractice claims. There are two dates upon which the time limit can begin to run.

The two-year time limit can begin on the date of the injury. For instance, if a surgeon makes a mistake during surgery and harms a patient, the statute of limitations may start to run on the date of the surgery.

The date upon which the patient discovers the injury can start the two-year statute of limitations as well. In some cases, a patient is not aware that medical malpractice occurred immediately. Particularly where a healthcare professional is not honest with a patient, the patient might discover their injuries later. Suppose a doctor fails to diagnose a patient with cancer. As a result of the delayed diagnosis, the patient’s cancer progresses, harming the patient. In that case, the patient would not have known about the doctor’s error when the doctor made the mistake. Rather, the progression of cancer might alert the patient to the problem.

The law provides that whichever date is later—the date of the malpractice incident or the patient’s discovery of it—starts the statute of limitations period. For claims related to nursing homes and nursing home workers, the statute of limitations is only one year long.

Statute Of Repose

West Virginia law bars all medical malpractice claims after 10 years. If the injury occurred more than 10 years ago, the patient cannot sue those responsible—even if a patient has discovered the injury after the 10-year period had passed.

Notice Of Claim And Screening Certificate Of Merit

Thirty days before filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, you must provide notice to those you intend to sue. If you are suing a hospital, you must identify the medical professional or professionals responsible for the malpractice.

In many cases, you must also provide a Screening Certificate of Merit. You must have a medical expert certify that your case has merit before your lawsuit can proceed.

Charleston, West Virginia Medical Malpractice Lawyer

When a doctor or other healthcare professional breaches their duty of care, patients may sustain severe injuries. In turn, those injuries may inspire truly significant financial and personal consequences. If you are a victim of medical malpractice, you may have the right to pursue compensation under West Virginia law. To learn more about filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in West Virginia and the types of compensation you might receive if your action is successful, reach out to Salango Law for guidance.

At Salango Law, we understand how to establish successful medical malpractice claims for compensation. If you know or believe that you are a victim of medical malpractice, call our office at 304-342-0512 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. A West Virginia medical malpractice lawyer can evaluate your case and help you decide how best to proceed.