West Virginia Medical Malpractice Claims
The law in West Virginia treats medical malpractice claims differently than any other type of claim. The West Virginia Code contains a special set of rules which apply to health care providers only, and which sets forth numerous requirements which apply only to claims against providers of health care.
For example, in a medical malpractice case, a claimant is forbidden by law from filing a lawsuit without having first given the care provider a Notice of Intent to pursue a claim, and allowing the provider the right to demand pre-suit mediation of the claim. This Notice of Intent must be accompanied by, or soon followed by, a Certificate of Merit.
The Certificate of Merit is a sworn statement by a health care provider, who is qualified to testify as an expert witness in the courts of West Virginia that he or she has identified one or more acts of medical malpractice which caused the damages complained of. This expert must be a health care professional in the field being complained of.
For this reason, in medical malpractice cases a great deal of the time, effort and expense is involved in pre-suit research and investigation. The focus of this investigation is typically the determination of why the patient had a bad outcome. To succeed in a medical malpractice claim, it is necessary to find a qualified expert who is able to link the bad outcome to some failure of the care provider to follow the standard of care, which is the protocol a caregiver should follow when presented with a particular set of circumstances.
Thus, medical malpractice cases are unique in that they involve a great deal of time and expense in investigating the claim, and many of those cases identify a reason for the patient’s poor outcome other than negligence by the care provider. In those cases, thousands of dollars may have been spent making the determination, and there is no claim from which to recoup those expenses. This is why many attorneys either shy away from medical malpractice cases, or demand that the potential client advance substantial costs to pay for the investigation. Unlike many other firms, our firm will not ask you to repay these costs of investigation if the investigation leads us to conclude that we cannot file a lawsuit on your behalf.
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Call or visit us for a free consultation to discuss your auto accident, personal injury and family law matters. We also offer home and hospital visits for those who are injured and cannot travel to us. In family law matters, you can obtain fee information by phone, or schedule a consultation. To obtain fee information or a consultation contact us today. We serve all of West Virginia from our office in Bridgeport.