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West Virginia Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you have been injured by the negligence of a doctor, hospital, or other health care provider, you have legal rights. An experienced West Virginia medical malpractice attorney can guide you through the complex maze of laws and procedures to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Under West Virginia (WV) law, an injured patient only has a certain amount of time to bring a medical malpractice claim. This timeframe is called a statute of limitations, and in West Virginia, the two-year limitation clock starts ticking on the latest of:
- On the date you were injured;
- When you discovered your injury; or
- When you reasonably should have discovered your injury.
Experienced WV medical malpractice attorneys like those at Brewer & Giggenbach, PLLC help you identify all parties responsible for the harm you’ve suffered and fight for maximum compensation for your loss.
You Need a West Virginia Medical Malpractice Attorney to Assess Your Claim
You might be wondering if you have grounds for a lawsuit. Since every situation is unique, an experienced WV medical malpractice attorney can assess your claim to determine its viability. Some examples of WV medical malpractice claims include:
- Surgical mistakes or unnecessary operations;
- Improper diagnosis, or failure to diagnose;
- Medication errors;
- Failure to order testing or improper testing;
- Ignoring or misinterpreting lab results;
- Inadequate or improper aftercare; and
- Premature discharge.
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The Four Elements a West Virginia Medical Malpractice Attorney Must Prove
A successful malpractice lawsuit must prove four separate legal elements:
A legal duty existed between the patient and the care provider.
The care provider breached the legal duty.
The patient’s injuries are connected to the provider’s breach.
The patient suffered harm from the injury.
You must demonstrate each of these elements by a preponderance of the evidence. You have met this burden of proof if you convince a judge or jury that there is a greater than 50 percent chance that the fact you are asserting is true.
West Virginia Medical Malpractice Laws and Damages
West Virginia law places a $250,000 cap on non-economic losses such as pain and suffering or emotional distress. In , the cap is $500,000. Out of pocket expenses for medical bills, lost wages, and other measurable losses are not capped by law.
It’s important to point out that doctors in West Virginia are not required to carry malpractice insurance, and the state has not established a patient compensation fund to ensure claimants actually receive the money they are awarded in court.
Determining Fault in WV Medical Malpractice Claims
West Virginia law allows joint and severable liability claims against multiple defendant health care providers. This means an injured patient can collect part of a court verdict from all defendants or the entire amount from one defendant as long as that defendant was determined to be at least 25 percent at fault.
The court or jury may also consider the injured person’s fault when awarding a malpractice verdict. If the injured patient was also negligent, and if the patient’s negligence was the same as or greater than all of the defendants’ negligence, the patient receives nothing. If the patient was less negligent than the defendant care givers, any judgment in favor of the patient is reduced by the amount of the patient’s negligence.
Before Filing a WV Medical Malpractice Claim
At least 30 days before filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, WV Code § 55-7B-6 requires the plaintiff to send a notice of claim to each defendant by certified mail. The notice must include an explanation of all liability theories that will be used to support the lawsuit, a complete list of medical providers who may be named as defendants, and a screening certificate of merit.
The screening certificate of merit is a sworn statement submitted by a qualified health care provider who verifies the proposed lawsuit will meet the requirements of West Virginia medical malpractice laws. The provider who gives this statement cannot have a financial interest in the outcome of the case but may be an expert witness in future judicial proceedings.
Find a Qualified West Virginia Medical Malpractice Attorney to Protect Your Future
For a West Virginia medical malpractice attorney with decades of trial experience and strong medical foundation, call Brewer & Giggenbach. Our experience and commitment to fighting for you every step of the way make us uniquely qualified to advocate for your future wellbeing and your family’s security. Call us at (304) 291-5800 or complete our today to learn more about how we can help.