Medical malpractice cases are extremely complex and expensive to litigate. It is up to the victim to prove that he or she sustained damages or injuries directly from the negligence of medical providers and that the injuries significantly impacted the victim’s life. In cases in which only minor injuries were sustained, the best option for the victim may not be to pursue for compensation. The length of time, the intricacy of finding expert witnesses and paying them, as well as the costs involved may outweigh the potential gain from a case. That being said, there are many situations in which negligence has resulted in serious injuries and even death. In these situations it is often advisable to move forward with a medical malpractice claim.
How do Medical Malpractice Claims Work in West Virginia?
Every state has its own rules and guidelines for medical malpractice claims. In West Virginia, there are caps in place, but these numbers with respect to other states are fairly high, which is good news for residents who find themselves victimized by a negligent practitioner. When there is more than one defendant in West Virginia, those who are victimized can pursue and collect their full amount from one medical provider.
In the state, there are limits on filing so it is important to be aware of these so you do not jeopardize your chances of getting your full legal justice. West Virginia has a two-year statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims to be filed. The time starts ticking when the injury occurred, therefore there is no time to waste getting your suit started. Hiring a qualified and experienced West Virginia medical malpractice attorney is the best way to ensure you do not miss the deadlines and everything is done correctly so you can obtain the highest amount of compensation for your damages. When death is the result of medical malpractice, the victim’s family has a two-year timeframe from the date of death in which to bring a claim.
Medical malpractice cases are generally complicated and there are even variances in the law for those who are of a certain age. Children under the age of 10 have a bit longer for their statute of limitations in the state of West Virginia. A child in this age range can either have their statute of limitations start from the date of the injury or before their 12th birthday, whichever is the longest.
How do I Determine if I Have a Medical Malpractice Claim?
Because the average person is not always up to date on laws and legal procedures, it is important to enlist the help of a legal professional to examine your situation. A tenured Clarksburg personal injury attorney who has extensive experience with medical malpractice claims the way that the attorneys at Goddard & Wagoner, LLC do is a good start to determining the strength and validity of your circumstances. There are a number of factors that must come into play in order to confirm a strong medical malpractice claim, including:
- The provider’s care was negligent
- The negligence caused you injuries or death which resulted in damages that you had to endure after your medical malpractice incident were a direct result from negligence such as missed time from work due to your injuries, extensive medical bills to help you recover from your injuries, extensive pain and suffering, mental distress, etc.
- The damages were a direct result of the provider’s negligence
The burden of proof is on the back of the victim, so it is important that there is expert testimony to back up claims. These experts that are collaborating your claims must be have the same medical background as the provider so that there is reasonable belief that experts in the same field agree that your provider was negligent in the treatment they provided and from the accepted standard of care.
When do I Not Have a Medical Malpractice Case?
As mentioned above, you may have received negligent treatment but the injuries you sustained were minor. Then, the amount of time and money that would require you to go through litigation may not yield a worthwhile outcome. The expert testimonies alone can cost thousands of dollars and if your final compensation will not be much, it would not make much sense to move forward.
Sometimes your desired outcome after a treatment, therapy, or procedure is not what you expected. You may believe you have a vaide medical malpractice case. In reality, there was no negligence that led to your outcome, it was just that the outcome was not optimal. In these circumstances, it is extremely hard to prove negligence on the behalf of the provider when in fact, there was none.
What are Settlements and Caps in West Virginia?
You are able to pursue damages for non-economic losses in West Virginia. While economic losses are medical bills, cost of gas to go to and from appointments, etc. all that can be tangibly quantified, non-economic losses are more of a gray area. Non-economic losses include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment, etc. Non-economic losses are capped at $250,000 for medical malpractice claims in West Virginia. In very limited circumstances where there is significant catastrophic injuries, the cap increases to $500,000. For economic losses, there are no caps in the state. West Virginia does not require that medical professionals have malpractice insurance, which is very different from the requirements of most states in the United States. Additionally, West Virginia also does not have a state Patient Compensation Fund.
Do You Believe You Have a Medical Malpractice Claim in West Virginia and Need Legal Representation?
It is confusing when you leave your medical provider and are dissatisfied with your results or feeling pain you did not think you would have. Figuring out if you have a valid medical malpractice claim is overwhelming for many. The good news is you do not have to figure out if you have a valid claim alone. The Morgantown medical malpractice injury lawyers at Goddard & Wagoner, LLC. have more than two decades serving victims in the state of West Virginia.
We understand the stress that comes to victims who have experienced injuries due to the negligence of their once-trusted medical providers. We will fight diligently to protect your legal rights and help you see your full justice. Call the effective Clarksburg medical malpractice attorneys at Goddard & Wagoner, LLC at (304) 584-1430 today to schedule your free consultation at either our Clarksburg or Morgantown offices.