The medical malpractice attorneys of Burke, Schultz, Harman & Jenkinson are industry leaders in medical malpractice law. We have successfully represented numerous victims injured by the negligence of health care providers in West Virginia, recovering million-dollar verdicts for patients and their families. Our office is conveniently located in Martinsburg, and our goal is to provide superior legal representation to clients throughout West Virginia.
Physicians can save lives. But like other health care professionals, doctors are only human and are bound to make mistakes. Many of these mistakes can lead to permanent injury or even death. Health care providers are held to a certain “standard of care.” Specialists that require a greater level of expertise to perform a certain procedure are held to an even higher standard. Surgeons, for example, are more likely to be liable for a botched operation that causes an injury. When medical professionals breach a legal duty to the patient, the violation is known as medical malpractice. The injured patient may recover damages incurred as a result of the physician’s negligence. Common examples of medical malpractice include:
- Incorrect diagnosis or treatment
- Delayed response to patient distress
- Improper administration of anesthesia
- Birth injuries and mistakes made during delivery
- Failure to obtain patient’s informed consent
- Prescription of dangerous or defective drugs
- Improper use of surgical devices and implants
- Errors during an operation or outpatient procedure
Although most doctors do their very best to help patients, mistakes are inevitable, and in some cases, common. Many egregious examples of malpractice go unreported because patients are intimidated by taking on medical professionals and the large institutions that support them. But when negligence causes permanent injury or the wrongful death of a loved one, the responsible parties must be held liable for the harm that they have caused. This may mean bringing an action against the negligent physician or other health care provider, as well as the hospital, staffing agency, or any other party that caused the patient’s injury. An experienced attorney can help you identify all parties who are liable and responsible in a malpractice claim.
West Virginia law protects victims of medical malpractice. State appellate courts have consistently held that hospitals may be held “vicariously liable” for the malpractice of their physicians, even if the doctor was not employed in the hospital, or worked as an independent contractor. This means that even if the hospital did nothing to directly harm the patient, it still remains legally liable for the negligence of its agents. In emergency rooms, for example, patients rely on the hospital’s choice of staff to provide medical care. The hospital cannot later deny that its temporary staff or medical personnel are not “agents” and shirk liability for the injury.
In order to establish that medical providers fell below the governing standard of care, expert testimony is generally required. In some cases, however, the error is so clear that common knowledge is sufficient to establish negligence. Even claimants who are “comparatively negligent” can recover damages, so long as their negligence does not equal or exceed the combined negligence of all the other parties. Multi-party defendants in medical malpractice actions are “jointly and severally liable” for any harm to the patient. Successful claimants are entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost income, pain, and suffering. West Virginia law provides a $1 million cap on awards for non-economic loss such as mental anguish and grief.
If you or a member of your family is the victim of medical negligence, contact the experienced medical malpractice lawyers at Burke, Schultz, Harman & Jenkinson today. For over 25 years, we have obtained substantial verdicts and settlements for our clients. Our seasoned attorneys have over 100 years of combined legal experience. Since medical malpractice cases are complex and require detailed analysis of medical records, it is important to act quickly. West Virginia law requires that an action for malpractice be commenced within two years from the date of injury or death. Any delay can result in the loss of important evidence or bar your right to relief. At Burke, Schultz, Harman & Jenkinson, we are dedicated to helping you obtain the compensation you deserve. Call our legal team at (304) 263-0900 or (800) 903-0901 for a free consultation or contact us online.