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Medical Malpractice Law in West Virginia

Many individuals look to their physicians for answers and solutions when it comes to matters of their health. Whether it is a chronic condition, a common cold, or something with life-threatening consequences, many patients expect their doctors to not only have answers to every question, but a cure for every ailment. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to live up to such high expectations, even if the treatment provider is doing everything correctly. Sometimes, the failure to meet such expectations results in the patient taking legal action against their physician, particularly when they may have experienced negative results.

Proving Medical Malpractice

The facts giving rise to many cases of medical malpractice are complicated and voluminous, and require much to be proven. In order to have a successful case against a doctor for medical malpractice, a plaintiff must prove that the physician deviated from a governing standard of medical care when treating the patient, and that this deviation caused the patient to suffer injury or death.

Doctors are not the only healthcare providers who are at risk of being sued for medical malpractice. Actions can also be brought against counselors, psychologists, and psychotherapists. Some of the more common examples of cases involving medical malpractice include misdiagnosis or failing to diagnose a physical or mental condition, failing to provide appropriate treatment for a condition, and unreasonable delay in the treatment of a diagnosed condition.

Defending a Medical Malpractice Claim

When it comes to cases involving medical mistake, West Virginia law provides not only for certain elements to be met in order to prove such a claim, but even in cases where a defendant may be found responsible, the law steps in regarding damages and liability. There are several factors that are important to note and may be especially relevant to any defense of a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Burden of Proof. It is important to keep in mind that the plaintiff to a medical malpractice action will bear the burden of proving the elements of their claim to the requisite standard of proof in order for their claim to move forward in court.

Statute of Limitations. The applicable statute of limitations on medical malpractice cases is two years, which means such an action must be commenced within two years of the date the injury occurred, or the date the injury should have been detected.

Liability. Under current West Virginia law, each named defendant in a civil action is only liable in an amount equal to the proportional fault for the injury suffered.

Collateral Source Rule. Even if a health care provider is found to be liable in a medical malpractice case, he or she can introduce payments the plaintiff may have received for injuries from collateral sources. This is usually done after a verdict is rendered and before a judgment is entered. The purpose is to offset the amount awarded in connection with the judgment.

Limits on Damages. Under West Virginia Law, noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases are limited to $250,000 in cases involving injury and $500,000 in cases involving death or permanent disability. In order to qualify for this limit, physicians must carry liability insurance of at least $1 million.

Medical Mistake Defense Attorney

If you have been sued for medical mistake, it is important to contact an experienced attorney in this area of law immediately in order to protect your interest and be informed of your rights. The attorneys at Hendrickson & Long PLLC have successful experience in defending medical mistake cases in West Virginia. Contact us today to schedule a consultation in our Charleston office.