Aggressive Virginia Medical Malpractice Attorneys
There are few events in life more disturbing than instances of serious medical malpractice. We trust our lives to the care of healthcare professionals, and it is shocking when our trust is betrayed by unprofessional behavior. Fortunately, medical malpractice law provides a remedy for those who are able to navigate the byzantine corridors of the Virginia legal system. If you need help with your case in Northern Virginia, don’t hesitate to contact our experienced Virginia medical malpractice attorneys.
Most Medical Malpractice Claims are Settled at the Negotiating Table, Not in Court
That’s the good news. The bad news is that most medical malpractice insurance adjusters are experienced and ruthless bargainers who have negotiated hundreds if not thousands of clams. They are motivated by one and only one purpose – to save as much money as possible for their employers by reducing their payout to you.
Because of the negotiating skill of medical malpractice insurance adjusters, few victims receive the full value of their claim. Many do not even realize they’ve been shortchanged, because they never understood the true value of their claim in the first place. Entering negotiations with an insurance adjustor is like walking into a lion’s den if you are unaware of their tactics.
- Tricking you into acknowledging partial fault (failure to follow the doctor’s instructions, for example). Virginia follows strict contributory negligence law, which means that you will lose your entire claim if you were even one percent at fault.
- Issuing you a quick, “lowball” settlement offer and pressing you to accept it before you have time to retain a skilled Virginia medical malpractice lawyer.
- Asking you to give a recorded statement and then asking trick questions to elicit answers that they can use against you later.
- Thousands more deceptive tactics that are too extensive to list here.
We Know How to Handle Insurance Companies
At Koonz, McKenney, Johnson DePaolis & Lightfoot, L.L.P., we have been assisting personal injury victims for over 35 years now. In that time, we have recovered a staggering $1,000,000,000 for our clients, both in court and at the negotiating table. We know how to calculate the true value of your claim, and we know just how to handle insurance companies – and their rather large bag of tricks.
What Our Clients Say
“Special thanks to Mr. Schloss and his assistant Suzy Kelly. You guys are the Best of the Best.”
“You have taught me so much about patience and the law. My wife and I both believe you have done an excellent job watching out for our best interests. It’s because of your hard work that we have had about the best year since the start of this whole mess.”
Some of Our Other Areas of Practice
Car Accidents: Most car accident claims are paid by insurance companies, and insurance adjusters are generally savvy negotiators. It is for this reason that you are unlikely to receive the full value of your claim without legal assistance. The situation is further complicated by Virginia’s harsh contributory negligence standard.
Worker’s Compensation: The workers’ compensation system is separate from the ordinary personal injury compensation system, and the rules are quite different. Although it is generally easier to win compensation under the workers’ compensation system than under the ordinary personal injury compensation system, the amount of compensation tends to be smaller. Expert legal assistance is critical.
Construction Accidents: Construction is one of the world’s most dangerous occupations, and the lowest-paid workers are the ones who are at the greatest risk of injury. Although most construction accident claims are resolved under the workers’ compensation system, certain cases qualify for ordinary personal injury claims. An experienced personal injury lawyer can advise you on which approach would be most advantageous for you.
Asbestos Disease/Mesothelioma: Certain asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma work like time bombs that explode decades after exposure, leading to terminal illness. A skilled personal injury attorney can find sources of compensation even if the party responsible for your exposure is no longer in business.
Product Liability: Just about any of the hundreds of consumer products you use in any given month could injure you. A defective auto part, an exploding cigarette lighter, a medication with inadequate warnings, or even adulterated food can be the subject of a product liability claim. Fortunately, defendants in product liability claims typically have enough money to pay large claims against them.
Premises Liability: The owner or renter of real property (a commercial establishment for example, or a private home) must keep their premises safe for the use of guests as well as licensees (such as mail carriers or fire inspectors). If you are injured on someone else’s premises due to a dangerous condition caused by negligence, you may have a premises liability claim.
Federal Tort Claims Act: The original legal principle “The king can do no wrong” prevented people from suing a government on the reasoning that any judgment would have to be paid by taxpayers. The Federal Tort Claims Act, however, allows you to sue the U.S. government for most types of personal injury claims, subject to special procedures and limitations.
Nursing Home Neglect: Nursing home neglect is a form of passive abuse,and it is shockingly common. The most common cause of nursing home neglect is understaffing in private nursing homes designed to maximize profits at the expense of proper patient care. Nursing homes, however, are heavily regulated, and a nursing home neglect claim can be based on a regulatory violation.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Does dissatisfaction with the results of treatment guarantee that I have a valid medical malpractice claim?
No. The validity of your medical malpractice claim will depend on whether your health care provider met the applicable standard of care. The expectations for a health care provider are high, however – much higher than, say, the standard of care that would be expected of an ordinary citizen rendering first aid.
Can I still win my case if I signed a consent form prior to surgery?
Yes, in most cases you can. Legally, however, it is impossible to consent to negligence. A consent form will matter if your claim is based on the assertion that you were not made aware of the unavoidable risks of a particular medical procedure.
What are the elements of a medical malpractice claim?
You must prove four elements to win.
- A doctor/patient relationship existed (thereby establishing the doctor’s duty of care).
- The doctor failed to meet the standard of care.
- You suffered harm.
- The doctor’s failure to meet the standard of care caused the harm you suffered.
What is the standard of proof in a medical malpractice case?
The applicable standard is “preponderance of the evidence“, which means something like “more likely than not.” In other words, you must establish that each of the four elements of your medical malpractice claim are more likely than not to be present. This is a much easier burden of proof to meet than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard used in criminal cases.
Can I file a lawsuit if my relative died from medical malpractice?
It depends on who you are. The following parties may file a wrongful death lawsuit.
- Spouse, children and grandchildren of the victim (first priority)
- Parents, siblings and financially dependent live-in relatives of the victim (if no first priority relatives exist)
- Any other person entitled to inherit under Virginia’s intestacy laws (if no parents, siblings or dependents exist)
What is a medical malpractice review panel?
A medical malpractice review panel is a panel of two doctors, two lawyers and a judge selected by the Virginia Supreme Court at the request of either party to a medical malpractice lawsuit. It issues a non-binding opinion on the merits of the case that can be used as evidence in court.
How are damages determined in a medical misdiagnosis case?
Since the misdiagnosis did not cause the illness itself, your damages will not be measured by the seriousness of your condition. Instead, they will be measured by how much worse your condition is than it would have been if the proper diagnosis had been made in the first place.
Is there a statutory limit on the amount of damages I can receive in a medical malpractice lawsuit?
Yes. Virginia limits total damages to $2,000,000. The purpose of this limitation is to keep healthcare costs down for the average consumer by limiting doctors’ malpractice insurance premiums.
What Will it Cost to Hire a Medical Malpractice Attorney?
We very rarely lose out clients’ cases. So rarely, in fact, that we’re willing to completely waive all of our fees unless we win. We’re not offering a money-back guarantee. What we mean is that you will never have to pay us anything in the first place – until and unless we win. Since our fees are structured as a percentage of your recovery, it is essentially the defendant who pay our fees.
Act Immediately to Secure Legal Representation – Contact Our Skilled Virginia Medical Malpractice Lawyers
Medical malpractice victims who are not represented by experienced counsel typically make two mistakes. (1) waiting too long to file their claim, and (2) failing to properly calculate the value of their claim. Our medical malpractice lawyers in Virginia can help you avoid both pitfalls. If you suspect that you are a victim of medical malpractice, call us at (703) 596-1718 or simply contact us online so that we can schedule a free evaluation of your case.