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What is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider (doctor, nurse, physician’s assistant, dentist, pharmacist, obstetrician, chiropractor, optometrist, hospital and/or clinic) deviated from the standard of care causing harm or injury to the patient.  To pursue a medical malpractice claim, the patient must prove that the healthcare provider owed the patient a legal duty, that duty was breached, the breach of that duty was the direct and immediate cause of injury to the patient, the healthcare provider deviated from accepted medical practices or standards and the healthcare providers actions caused financial or emotional damage to the patient.

Medical malpractice claims include the failure to diagnose or the misdiagnosis of a medical condition or disease, the failure to provide the appropriate medical treatment, an unreasonable delay in the start of treatment or a mistake in the prescription or dosage of medication to the patient. There is a statute of limitations with medical malpractice claims which is amount of time the patient has to file a lawsuit against the healthcare provider.  The statute of limitations is two years from the date of injury or reasonable discovery of the injury but no more than ten years after the date of injury.

West Virginia has placed caps on the amount of compensation a plaintiff can receive.  In medical malpractice claims, there is a $250,000 per-occurrence cap on non-economic damages (pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life) and a $500,000 cap for non-economic damages where the malpractice resulted in a wrongful death, permanent and substantial physical deformity as well as a loss/use of a limb or body organ, or a permanent injury that prevents the plaintiff from being able to care for themselves and perform life-sustaining activities.  These caps are adjusted annually for inflation.

While there is a cap on non-economic damages, West Virginia does not place a cap on economic damages (past and future medical expenses, past lost wages, future lost wages, etc.).  If you have been injured as a result of medical malpractice, contact an attorney at Salango Law, PLLC.

With over two decades of experience handling medical malpractice cases throughout West Virginia, Salango Law, PLLC offers free consultations to victims of medical malpractice.  Contact the medical negligence team at Salango Law, PLLC for a no cost consultation.