Virginia Malpractice Defense Verdict

Virginia Lawyers Weekly reports on an insane case in Virginia where an emergency room doctor in Hampton received a defense verdict.

After a night of partying, the decedent and his friend got into a dispute over whether the decedent would drive drunk from Hampton back home to Atlanta with his 4-year-old son. The best friend did what best friends usually do – he stabbed him in the thigh.

The decedent was taken to the emergency room. Plaintiff’s malpractice lawsuit claimed that the emergency room doctor should have sought out detailed information about the length of the knife. The defendant was told only that the decedent was stabbed with a knife and that the length of the blade was unknown. The defendant assumed it was a small blade.

Turns out it was an enormous blade, and his injuries did not resolve. As the decedent was deteriorating, following a transient response to the fluid resuscitation, the defendant called in a general surgeon who arrived three hours later and told the ER doctor that the decedent was in hemorrhagic shock secondary to a stab wound and blood loss. The general surgeon instructed the emergency room physician to transfer the decedent to the ICU. Sadly, the stabbing victim died.

Plaintiff’s Virginia medical malpractice lawyer contended that the defendant should have responded more aggressively to treat the injury.

People who get stabbed and blame their injuries on medical malpractice rarely fare too well at trial. So the defense verdict is no surprise. I was surprised that an offer of $500,000 was rejected. Usually, in a case where the jury has an easy target to blame – the criminal who stabs the victim – it becomes difficult to pin the injuries or death on medical malpractice. But in this case, they got a $500,000 offer. I wonder whether it was the family or the malpractice lawyer that suggested rolling the dice.

  • Personal injury and malpractice settlements and verdicts in Virginia

Emergency Room Malpractice Lawsuits in Virginia

Emergency room malpractice lawsuits in Virginia are a type of medical malpractice claim that arise when patients suffer injuries or harm due to negligence or errors made in an emergency room setting. Like all medical malpractice and wrongful death claims in Virginia, these lawsuits can be complex and difficult to prove, requiring expert medical testimony and extensive evidence.

Here are some key factors to consider when looking at a emergency room malpractice lawsuit in Virginia:

  1. Standard of Care: In any medical malpractice case, including emergency room lawsuits in Virginia, the plaintiff must establish the standard of care that the healthcare provider was expected to meet and show that they deviated from this standard.
  2. Proving Negligence: The plaintiff must also prove that this deviation from the standard of care directly resulted in harm or injury. In the emergency room setting, common instances of negligence can include misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, medication errors, and surgical mistakes. This is the key to any emergency room malpractice lawsuit – you have to win the case to get damages.
  3. Statute of Limitations: In Virginia, the statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice claim is generally two years from the date of the incident. However, exceptions may apply in certain situations, such as when the injury is not immediately apparent or for minors. But, generally, exception are rare so don’t count on getting one.
  4. Damage Caps: Virginia imposes a cap on the total amount of damages that a plaintiff can receive in a medical malpractice case. Unlikely most states the Virginia medical malpractice cap is a hard cap.  As of July 1, 2023, this hard cap on damages is $2.6 million.
  5. Expert Witness for an ER Malpractice Lawsuit: Virginia law generally requires the plaintiff to obtain a certification of merit from a medical expert that the defendant’s actions or lack thereof constituted a breach of the standard of care before a suit can be filed.
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