When a Virginia personal injury case is classified as a “medical malpractice” case, there are certain requirements that apply to the plaintiff’s case. For example, Virginia medical malpractice plaintiffs are required to submit an expert affidavit supporting their claim, while victims who bring claims of traditional negligence are not required to do so. While it may seem like the distinction between a claim of medical malpractice and a claim of traditional negligence is clear, that is not always the case.
In a recent case, the court heard an appeal from a hospital, claiming that the plaintiff’s lawsuit should be dismissed for failing to comply with the filing requirements for medical malpractice cases. The court, however, agreed with the plaintiff that her claims were not based on a theory of medical malpractice. Thus, the court permitted the plaintiff’s case to proceed.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff was a resident at an inpatient psychiatric facility when he was seriously injured after being attacked by another resident. The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the facility, arguing that it failed to provide adequate security and to train staff on how to handle emergency situations like the one that resulted in his injuries. Since the plaintiff did not believe his case to be one of medical malpractice, he did not take the additional steps to comply with the state’s medical malpractice requirements. The facility argued that the plaintiff’s case was brought under a theory of medical malpractice and that he should have complied with the additional medical malpractice requirements.
The court determined that the plaintiff’s case was not brought under a medical malpractice theory because it did not involve the “rendering of, or the failure to render, medical care or services.” The court acknowledged that this area of the law is far from clear. However, the court focused on whether the plaintiff’s claim was “directly related to medical care or services, which require the use of professional judgment or skill.”
Finding that the plaintiff’s allegations that the facility failed to provide adequate security were not “directly related” to medical care or services, the court reversed the lower court’s decision to grant the facility’s motion for summary judgment. Thus, the plaintiff’s case was permitted to proceed toward trial or settlement negotiations.
Have You Been Injured in a Virginia Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in the health care setting, whether it is in an incident of Virginia medical malpractice or a slip-and-fall accident occurring in a medical setting, you should contact the Law Offices of Charles B. Roberts, P.C. Attorney Roberts has decades of experience assisting his clients with pursuing fair compensation for their injuries, including through cases involving claims of medical malpractice as well as traditional negligence. Attorney Roberts provides free consultations to all prospective clients to discuss their cases and how he can help them recover for their injuries. To learn more, call 703-491-7070 to schedule a free consultation today.
See More Blog Posts:
Court Dismisses Plaintiff’s Slip-and-Fall Case Against City Based on Plaintiff’s Failure to Show the City Knew of the Hazard, Virginia Injury Lawyers Blog, August 6, 2018.
Court Discusses Defendant’s Liability in Multi-Vehicle Road Rage Accident, Virginia Injury Lawyers Blog, July 18, 2018.