Medical malpractice cases involve a patient’s injury or death due to a doctor’s negligent actions. Medical malpractice can occur if a medical provider misdiagnoses their patient or provides inadequate treatment for an injury. It can also result from a surgical error or using unsterile medical tools.
When a medical malpractice case goes to court, the judgment issued by the judge or jury could be substantial for the injured party. Sometimes, the compensation amount reaches hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. The financial award a plaintiff receives depends on the circumstances of the incident. No two cases are alike, and the outcome can vary from one person to another.
- How Is the Settlement Value of a Medical Malpractice Claim in Virginia Calculated?
- What Are Some Examples of Medical Malpractice Claim Settlements?
- What Is the Largest Medical Malpractice Judgment?
- Is There a Cap on Medical Malpractice Settlements in Virginia?
- What Are the Most Common Medical Malpractice Claims?
- Is There a Statute of Limitations on Medical Malpractice Claims in Virginia?
- Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney Who Is Also a Doctor
How Is the Settlement Value of a Medical Malpractice Claim in Virginia Calculated?
Calculating the appropriate number for a medical malpractice settlement requires considering several factors. First, the fault must be determined. If there’s evidence of the medical provider’s negligence resulting in the patient’s injury, they could hold the provider liable.
The injured party’s losses also affect the value of the case. This includes past losses and possible future losses from a permanent injury or ongoing medical care. It’s crucial to calculate the total cost of treatment, lost wages, and other expenses stemming from negligent care. If the plaintiff requires future care or assistance, the estimated costs they could incur should be factored in.
Medical malpractice settlements can also include compensation for intangible losses, such as pain and suffering. If the injury caused the patient undue hardships, such as chronic physical pain, psychological trauma, or a diminished quality of life, those losses could also be included in the value of the settlement.
What Are Some Examples of Medical Malpractice Claim Settlements?
Below are examples of medical malpractice insurance settlements and jury verdicts:
$3,000,000 Jury Verdict for Radiologist Error
An 18-year-old man underwent a biopsy after tests showed enlarged lymph nodes in his chest. During the procedure, his heart was lacerated. The young man sustained pericardial effusion and became unresponsive. After stabilizing and being transferred to the ICU, doctors diagnosed him with a heart laceration and sinus tachycardia. He was transferred to another hospital and underwent open-heart surgery. A jury awarded the man $3,000,000 for the heart laceration and the radiologist’s failure to offer a procedure with less risk.
$1,002,500 Settlement for Death Due to Dental Practice Negligence
A two-year-old boy received anesthesia during a procedure at a dental practice for teeth fillings and extractions. He immediately started wheezing and suffered respiratory compromise and oxygen desaturation after the extraction of four teeth. Even after receiving five liters of supplemental oxygen, his oxygen saturation level continued to fall, while his respiratory and heart rates increased.
The anesthesiologist used ventilation to resuscitate the boy, but his stomach received the air instead of his lungs. After transferring the boy to another hospital, the boy showed signs of post-cardiac arrest and anoxic ischemia. He died four days later due to anesthesia-related asphyxia. The boy’s mother claimed the dental practice was negligent in addressing her son’s condition and settled the case for $1,002,500.
$750,000 Settlement for Post-Surgical Negligence
A 53-year-old woman had cataract surgery in her left eye. She didn’t experience any discomfort or pain. However, after cataract surgery in her right eye a week later, she suffered eye pain and headaches. She called the practice twice in one day, and they advised possible solutions to the problems. When those didn’t work, she showed up at the facility the next day. She discovered she had sustained retrobulbar hemorrhaging and right eye blindness. She settled her case for $750,000 after alleging the doctor didn’t treat her symptoms promptly.
Other notable medical malpractice settlements and verdicts include:
- $25,000,000 for a man who underwent seven additional catheterizations and heart bypass surgery after a misdiagnosis
- $17,000,000 for a motorcyclist who was left paralyzed following spinal surgery
- $1,800,000 in a jury verdict for a woman whose heart condition was misdiagnosed
- $1,200,000 for a man who suffered an arterial air embolism that traveled to his brain, resulting in a stroke and respiratory failure after the doctor allegedly attached the syringe to the incorrect catheter
- $1,100,000 for a child who suffered brain injuries following complications from a tonsillectomy
- $1,000,000 to a woman whose ureter and bowel were lacerated during a hysterectomy
- $900,000 for a pregnant woman whose doctor failed to note she had a lump, delaying a diagnosis of mastitis
What Is the Largest Medical Malpractice Judgment?
It’s challenging to determine the largest judgment issued in a medical malpractice case. Each state imposes different laws regarding the financial award a plaintiff can receive. Some impose caps on the amount, preventing anyone from recovering more than the maximum limit allowed. Additionally, the amount of insurance coverage a defendant has can contribute to the compensation a plaintiff can pursue.
Is There a Cap on Medical Malpractice Settlements in Virginia?
Virginia Code § 8.01-581.15 limits the amount of money a person can receive in a medical malpractice case. Currently, the maximum limit is $2.5 million. The cap increases by $55,000 every twelve months.
What Are the Most Common Medical Malpractice Claims?
Medical malpractice can involve a medical facility, emergency room, nurse, oncologist, physical therapist, or other types of medical professionals or facilities. When a healthcare provider’s error leads to a patient’s injury, illness, or death, that person could be responsible for the patient’s losses. The most common claims include:
- Delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis
- Surgical errors
- Anesthesia errors
- Administering the wrong medication or dosage
- Inadequate pre or post-care
- Birth injuries
- Using unsterilized medical tools
- Failing to treat a diagnosed condition
- Misinterpreting the results of a diagnostic test
Is There a Statute of Limitations on Medical Malpractice Claims in Virginia?
If you want to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit, you must file by the statute of limitations. Virginia follows a two-year statute of limitations. That means you must initiate your lawsuit within two years of the date the injury occurs.
However, medical malpractice cases are unique. Sometimes, a patient might not discover the doctor’s negligence immediately after receiving the service. The discovery rule allows a person to file their lawsuit within a specific timeframe of realizing malpractice occurred under these circumstances:
- Within one year of discovering a foreign object left in the body that has no diagnostic or therapeutic effect
- Within one year of discovering the injury if concealment, intentional misrepresentation, or fraud prevented the patient from discovering the injury within the two-year statute
Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney Who Is Also a Doctor
At The Law Offices of Michael M. Wilson, M.D., J.D. and Associates, our team has the legal experience and medical knowledge to handle various types of malpractice cases. Dr. Wilson has over 30 years of experience representing injured clients in claims against negligent healthcare professionals. We will fight by your side to pursue the compensation and justice you deserve when you hire us.
If you suffered an injury due to a doctor’s negligent actions, do not hesitate to call or contact us online for a free consultation.
Dr. Michael M. Wilson is an attorney and a physician who earned his undergraduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his legal and medical degrees from Georgetown University. He has focused in the area of medical malpractice for more than three decades and secured more than $100 million in settlements and verdicts on behalf of clients throughout the country. He is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia and New York as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and the U.S. Supreme Court. He is listed in America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators.