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4 things to know about medical malpractice in West Virginia

Patients injured during medical care can get help with their bills.

West Virginia state law entitles patients to quality care whenever they step into a hospital, clinic, or other form of healthcare facility. But what happens if something goes wrong? Afterall, accidents can happen, right? Although this is true, it is important for patients to keep in mind that an accident that results in an injury during medical care can have far reaching and very expensive consequences. As such, it is important to consider holding the responsible party financially accountable for the mistake. Otherwise, you run the risk of being on the hook for all the resulting expenses. This can include bills for additional medical care, the cost of medical devices, physical therapy, and lost wages for missed work.

#1: What is medical malpractice?

Medical malpractice is a type of personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit used to hold a medical care provider accountable for any wrongdoing that led to a patient’s injury. In order to establish medical malpractice in West Virginia, the law requires the patient show two things:

  • Poor care. First, that the health care provider failed to provide a degree of care, skill and learning required or expected of a reasonable, prudent health care provider in the profession to which the health care provider belongs acting in similar circumstances; and
  • Injury. That the failure led to the injury or death of the patient.

There is also the possibility of a case based on the “loss of chance” theory. This essentially provides a legal remedy for those who became ill after a doctor’s failure to diagnose and begin treatment on an illness within a reasonable period of time.

#2: Who can file a medical malpractice claim?

Essentially any patient can file a medical malpractice claim. This could include an infant that was injured during labor and delivery or an older patient who suffered injury during a routine procedure. The important part is that the victim can establish a patient/doctor relationship.

It is also important to note that the victim may be able to hold more than just the doctor accountable for the error. In some cases, the hospital is also liable. This could occur if the hospital failed to complete due diligence before hiring the physician or did not have adequate staff on duty at the time of the accident.

#3: Is there a time limit?

The time limit, referred to as the statute of limitations, will vary depending on the state. In West Virginia, the statute of limitations for these types of cases is generally set at two years, but there are some exceptions depending on the details of the case. This generally begins after the date of the injury or when a reasonable person would become aware of the injury.

#4: What should I do if I am a victim of medical malpractice?

After getting any needed medical care, it is important to keep copies of all paperwork connected to the care that led to the injury. Keep copies of bills and test results as well as notes about any missed work. As noted above, there is a time limit to filing a claim so it is important to act promptly to preserve your ability to move forward with a case.