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Shapiro, Lewis, Appleton & Favaloro
Shapiro, Lewis, Appleton & Favaloro
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Virginia Medical Negligence Law Now Requires Certification

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Virginia recently changed its laws related to medical malpractice cases. The new law requires that the lawyer certify that he has an expert witness in the appropriate specialty who will testify that the defendant violated the standard of care before serving the lawsuit. This law is actually a good thing. Now, there will be fewer lawsuits filed by lawyers who are not really experienced medical malpractice lawyers. Our firm would only file a lawsuit once we already have an expert in hand, so this changes little for us. One of the things that makes us exceptional medical malpractice plaintiff’s lawyers is having a rolodex with the names of many excellent good doctors who are prepared to review the chart of another physician and offer testimony in the right case.

In the past, I believe there were lawsuits filed by attorneys who didn’t really know what they were doing, hoping to try to get an early settlement. Medical malpractice cases typically do not settle without the plaintiff showing their cards, meaning identifying their experts. The difference between winning and losing is the strenghth and preparation of the lawyer and the plaintiff’s expert doctors. When you pick an attorney, you need to make sure you have someone who really knows medical malpractice and does it regularly, rather than just dabbling in it on occasion. One thing that we do at our firm is to go to other attorneys who recognize that they do not have the experience and staff to properly handle a medical malpractice case and ask them to work with us on their potential cases. We have had good success at developing a good reputation as the medical malpractice lawyers that many other lawyers use to handle these cases. The new Virginia statute just emphasizes how important it is to have a lawyer who focuses their practice on this field so that all the legal requirements can properly be met.