Tag Archives: Virginia

New Virginia Fetal Wrongful Death Law Opens New Avenues of Medical Liability

A press release distributed by the plaintiff’s attorneys Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, PLLC, just crossed my desk. In it, the plaintiff’s attorneys are advertising a new law in the state of Virginia that expands medical liability in cases where there is the wrongful death of a fetus. The press release concludes with: “Now, expectant parents will be able to hold responsible parties accountable for the wrongful death of their unborn child. If you have lost an unborn child as the result of medical malpractice, neglect or abuse, please contact an experienced personal injury attorney.”

Certainly extra-conservative Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell intended the law as a “stepping stone” to fetal personhood and a showdown in the Supreme Court over the constitutionality of abortion; not to op-en new avenues of medical liability. The “Wrongful Death of a Fetus Law” was one of several laws passed in Virginia this year to restrict abortion access. Under this law, perpetrators of any crime or careless action that results in the death of a fetus can be held responsible. Prior to the Wrongful Death of a Fetus Law’s enactment in April of this year, Virginia did not recognize claims for the wrongful death of a fetus.

The unintended consequence of the Wrongful Death of a Fetus Law is that it has opened new avenues for the litigation of medical malpractice. As evidenced by the Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, PLLC, press release I received today, plaintiff’s attorneys are taking full advantage of the new law. They are advertising its existence, and encouraging patients who lost a fetus in the course of medical treatment to sue their healthcare professional. Also liable when a fetus dies is a hospital if it failed to adequately training to staff or failed to maintain adequate safety standards in their facilities.

The unintended consequences of the Wrongful Death of a Fetus Law is that it has opened new avenues to sue Virginia’s healthcare community for medical liability, and the end result is likely Virginia higher medical malpractice insurance costs.

Virginia Physicians Face New Med Mal Cap

Side Note: In another blow to physicians, the state of Virginia has plans to raise the cap on med mal awards by 1 million dollars. While med mal damage awards have been capped at 2 million dollars since 2008, the proposed state law, likely to be passed this year, will increase malpractice awards by $50,000 per year until 2031 when it reaches 3 million. This new law has been negotiated by both the Medical Society of Virginia and the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association. Despite the raising of the med mal cap, the Medical Society of Virginia and the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association support the initiative. Virginia is one of only a handful of states that have imposed limits on both economic and non-economic med mal damages. And this reform, even with a higher limit, still makes Virginia attractive to physicians and helps to keep med mal insurance rates lower in the state.

If you would like to lower your med mal costs in Virginia, please fill our free, no obligation quote form.

Deal would raise cap on malpractice suits in Va.
By Amy Jeter
The Virginian-Pilot

Virginia’s doctors and trial lawyers have negotiated a truce in their battle over damage awards in medical malpractice cases, and their compromise is likely to become state law this year.

See Original Article