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Medical Malpractice Damages WV

History of Malpractice Law

The famous Code of Hammurabi, written down almost 4,000 years ago, referred to what we now term medical malpractice. Hammurabi wrote that, if a doctor should cause someone to die during treatment, the doctor should have his hand cut off.

Anyone seeking medical malpractice damages in WV is doing something that has been done for centuries. The term malpractice is derived from the Latin phrase, “mala praxis” or bad practice! The term was originally used in jurisprudence in England. A British scholar named Sir William Blackstone coined the term when he wrote about doctors who were poorly trained or skilled and did not provide the patient care that they should.

One of the first detailed recorded instances of a legal case based on medical malpractice was written about in The Lancet, a British medical journal popular in the 1800s. A surgeon named Cooper apparently obtained a position at a hospital in London based primarily on his royal blood. A patient needed a gallstone removed. This five-minute procedure took Dr. Cooper over five hours. These were the days too when anesthesia consisted of the patient being tied down. At the end of the five hours, the patient ended up removing the stone by hand himself but died due to the botched operation the next morning. Cooper sued The Lancet for publishing what he termed a slanderous article about him. Cooper won, but the amount, unlike most medical malpractice damages in WV, was small: only 100 pounds.

U.S. Malpractice History

Seeking medical malpractice damages in WV and elsewhere in America became a commonplace at the beginning of the 1800s. Damages awarded were not very large. During the 1960s, however, damages became larger enough and had a significant impact on the medical profession. Today, the percentages are huge. For example, a survey of arthroplasty surgeons revealed that 78% had been the subject of at least one medical malpractice suit.

State law has most of the authority over malpractice suits. If you are seeking medical malpractice damages in WV or PA or any other state, the individual state where the suit is brought will have jurisdiction. Each state too has a different statute of limitations. In West Virginia, you must sue within two years of the occurrence or when someone should reasonably become aware of the injury.

Medical Malpractice Lawsuits: Procedures

Medical malpractice lawsuits are filed in state civil courts. The state Supreme Court has the final say on appeals. Either the presiding judge or jury will ultimately decide if your suit for medical malpractice damages in WV is sustained. Claimants must ensure that they file in the right venue, or the suit may be dismissed.

Federal medical malpractice suits can occur if the injury happened in a VA hospital or a federally funded healthcare facility. Federal courts will also get involved if the parties in the medical malpractice case are from different states, or a constitutional issue arises in the course of the state proceedings.

Current State of Medical Malpractice Litigation

A recent Harvard study, written in 1990, explains why, despite huge awards that the media hypes for medical malpractice damages in WV and other states, the actual number of successful plaintiffs remains small. The study showed that only 1 in 15 people filing claims actually received monetary compensation.

Doctors seeking protection from medical malpractice damages in WV or other states that started their practice before 2000 will have experienced a massive increase in premiums. During the previous decades, premium costs for medical practitioners remained essentially the same. However, the growing number of people claiming damages and the exorbitant amounts awarded caused a steep increase to insurance companies of settlement costs. Many insurance companies even stopped issuing policies for medical malpractice at this time. It did not matter if the number of actual wins by the people suing remained the same: the number attempting to sue rose and hence the cost to the insurance companies increased.