Guess what?  If your doctor was negligent and caused you harm, but somehow you also contributed to your injury, you might not recover a dime.  Virginia is one of the few states that still follows the antiquated doctrine of contributory negligence. In fact, this law is centuries old.

Contributory negligence means that if you were negligent or careless in any way and it was a factor in your injury, you probably will not be able to obtain compensation.  Your doctor could be 99 percent responsible for your painful injury, but if you were 1 percent to blame, you won’t win your case.  It may not seem fair, but it is the law.

In most other states, the doctrine of comparative negligence is used and damages are based on the percentage of negligence.  For example, if the jury decides that you were partially responsible for your own injuries, your damages would be reduced proportionately.

Even though Virginia’s contributory negligence law is not ideal for plaintiffs, it will most likely be in place for years to come. Virginia will therefore continue to be one of the toughest states in the nation to recover damages in medical malpractice claims.

For more information regarding Virginia medical malpractice lawsuits and why these cases are so difficult to win, order a copy of my book, Why Most Medical Malpractice Victims Never Recover a Dime.
Ben Glass
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Ben Glass is a nationally recognized Virginia injury, medical malpractice, and long-term disability attorney
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