Virginia Medical Malpractice Verdicts and Settlements
There are a number of factors that tend to drive the settlement value of Virginia medical malpractice cases. The most significant factor that can increase the settlement payout in a malpractice claim is the severity of the plaintiff’s physical injuries. If the malpractice results in very serious, life-altering injuries, the malpractice claim will have a much higher settlement value.
The nature of the medical negligence and the type of defendants involved in that negligence also impacts the potential value of malpractice case in Virginia. Certain types of medical negligence are notoriously more difficult to prove at trial than others, which can lower settlement value. Having a hospital as a primary defendant, however, can increase the potential value of a case. Hospitals in Virginia are much more inclined to settle malpractice cases for fair value to avoid negative attention.Sample Virginia Malpractice Settlements & Verdicts
This is a sampling of jury verdicts and settlements in medical malpractice cases throughout Virginia.
We compiled this list from a variety of different sources. Keep in mind that there is no scientific methodology for the cases selected. In fact, if you are a victim or an attorney, you should keep in mind that verdicts and settlements are not necessarily reflective of the value of your claim. There are just way too many variables involved than can be spit out in these short summaries. The make or break facts of the case might have nothing to do with with the summary. So, please, take these with a grain of salt:2022: Virginia Malpractice Awards
- February, 2022: $1,275,000 settlement. A man underwent a gallbladder procedure. He sustained a bowel perforation. The man developed a severe infection. He spent significant time in the hospital. The man alleged negligence against the surgeon. He claimed he failed to appreciate the bowel perforation and timely address his infection. This case settled for $1,275,000.
- February, 2022: $1,500,000 settlement. A woman underwent prophylactic surgery. She was discharged with troublesome vital signs. Her condition deteriorated. The woman was ultimately hospitalized for an infection. She received treatments for several months. The woman alleged negligence against the hospital. She claimed its staff prematurely discharged her and failed to properly diagnose her infection. This case settled for $1,500,000.
- October, 2021: $1,500,000 settlement. A 63-year-old woman suffered vomiting, sinus problems, and chest congestion. Her medical history also included chronic kidney disease. The woman presented to the hospital. She was diagnosed with renal failure, metabolic acidosis, and hyperkalemia. The woman was subsequently admitted. She suffered respiratory issues several hours later. Tests revealed lactic acidosis. The physicians attempted to treat her with sodium bicarbonate and fluids. The on-call nephrologist did not arrive at the hospital until the next morning. He ordered dialysis. The woman received a dialysis catheter. She went into cardiac arrest shortly after. The woman was revived. However, she died a few days later. The woman's family alleged negligence against the hospital. They claimed its staff failed to appreciate her medical history and timely order dialysis. This case settled for $1,500,000.
- October, 2021: $1,600,000 verdict. A 69-year-old woman suffered nausea and abdominal pain. She presented to the ER. The woman underwent an abdominal CT scan and blood work. She was discharged seven hours later. The woman was instructed to follow up with her primary care physician and visit a gastroenterologist. Eleven days later, her husband found her conscious at home. The woman was brought to the hospital. She was diagnosed with hyponatremia, a traumatic brain injury, and seizures. The woman was hospitalized for almost two weeks. She underwent rehabilitative therapy and neuropsychological evaluations. The woman sustained permanent impairments, including memory loss and cognitive deficits. The woman could no longer drive and cook. She alleged negligence against the ER physicians. The woman claimed they prematurely discharged her and failed to address hyponatremia. A Virginia Beach jury awarded $1,600,000.
- September, 2021: $1,250,000 verdict. A 39-year-old woman suffered severe radiating right knee pain. She presented to the ER. The woman experienced tachycardia, hypothermia, and wide pulse pressure. Her lab studies revealed low kidney function and her radiological images revealed knee effusion. The woman was diagnosed with leg edema, a sprained knee, and knee effusion. She was discharged. The woman returned to the hospital 12 hours later. She received severe sepsis, septic shock, and necrotizing fasciitis diagnoses. The woman received saline and IV antibiotics. She also underwent serial debridements. The woman's right leg was unsalvageable. She underwent right hip and leg amputations. The woman subsequently underwent multiple gastrointestinal procedures, including a colostomy. She sustained a perforated colon. The woman had it repaired. She became anuric and acidotic. The woman underwent continuous renal replacement therapy. She was hospitalized for several months. The woman was transferred to a rehabilitative center. She remained there for several additional months. The woman alleged negligence against the ER physicians. She claimed they failed to appreciate her symptoms, prematurely discharged her, and failed to rule out an infection. This case settled for $1,250,000.
- July, 2021: $750,000 settlement. A 53-year-old woman underwent left cataract surgery. She felt neither pain nor discomfort. The following week, the woman underwent right cataract surgery. She suffered post-surgical headaches and eye pain. The woman contacted the practice. She was told to remove her eye patch and undergo eye drops. After two hours, the woman’s pain failed to resolve. Her right eye swelled and blackened up. The woman contacted the ophthalmic practice. She was told to apply an ice pack to her eye and sit in a reclined position with her head up. The woman presented to the practice the following day. She sustained permanent right eye blindness and retrobulbar hemorrhaging. The woman alleged negligence against the ophthalmologist. She claimed he failed to timely treat her post-surgical symptoms. This case settled for $750,000.
- May, 2021: $3,000,000 verdict. An 18-year-old man suffered sharp chest pain, sneezing, and coughing while lying down. A physical exam revealed right chest wall tenderness and palpitations. Tests revealed enlarged chest lymph nodes. The man underwent a lymph node biopsy. His heart became lacerated during the procedure. Minutes later, the man experienced pericardial effusion. He became unresponsive. The hospital staff called a code blue. After one minute, the man was stabilized. He was brought to the ICU. The man was diagnosed with sinus tachycardia and a heart laceration. He was brought to another hospital. The man underwent open-heart surgery. He also underwent a biopsy. The man was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He underwent chemotherapy. The man could no longer enjoy his favorite physical activities. He alleged negligence against the radiologist. The man claimed he lacerated his heart and failed to offer a low-risk procedure. A jury awarded him $3,000,000.
- May, 2021: $1,250,000 settlement. A 21-year-old woman underwent non-invasive hip impingement treatments. Her condition failed to resolve. The woman underwent a hip arthroscopy and an iliopsoas release. She sustained femoral nerve palsy. The woman underwent additional procedures to address her post-surgical injuries. Her condition gradually improved within a year. The woman alleged negligence against the initial surgeon. This case settled for $1,250,000.
- April, 2021: $1,002,500 settlement. A 2-year-old boy underwent teeth fillings and extractions. He received anesthesia. The boy immediately experienced wheezing. He then had four teeth extracted. The boy sustained oxygen desaturation and respiratory compromise. He received five liters of supplemental oxygen. However, the boy’s oxygen saturation continued dropping. His heart and respiratory rates increased. The anesthesiologist attempted to resuscitate the boy via ventilation. This attempt failed. The boy’s stomach received air instead of his lungs. He was eventually transferred to a hospital. The boy’s condition worsened. He was transferred to a second hospital. The boy displayed anoxic-ischemic and post-cardiac arrest signs. He died four days later. The boy’s cause of death was anesthesia-related asphyxia. His mother alleged negligence against the dental practice. She claimed its staff failed to receive informed consent, immediately address her son’s condition, and timely intubate him. This case settled for $1,002,500.
- April, 2021: $900,000 settlement. A 35-year-old pregnant woman sustained a left armpit lump. She informed her OB/GYN about it. The OB/GYN failed to document it. The lump grew larger after she gave birth. The woman was eventually diagnosed with mastitis. She received antibiotics. The lump grew smaller. However, it did not disappear. Over one year later, she received a Stage IV breast cancer diagnosis. The cancer spread to the woman’s liver. Her life expectancy was now two to five years. The woman alleged negligence against her OB/GYN. She claimed he failed to properly diagnose her condition and order a biopsy. This case settled for $900,000.
- June, 2020: $1,200,000 settlement. A man underwent a cardiac catheterization. Te cardiologist injected air into his radial artery. This caused an arterial air embolism that traveled to his brain. This caused a stroke, respiratory failure, and unconsciousness. He required ventilation and intubation. The man was also transferred to another facility for hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Thankfully, he miraculously recovered within a year. He still had lingering problems, as you can imagine. But, to his credit, he went back to work. His malpractice lawsuit alleged his cardiologist's attaching of the syringe to the incorrect catheter caused his severe injuries. Following a Zoom mediation (because of COVID-19), the case settled for $1,200,000.
- May, 2020: $615,000 settlement. A woman presented to the hospital to deliver her first child. During labor, the fetal heart rate was abnormal. However, the obstetrician failed to order a C-section. They then discovered shoulder dystocia. As a response, the obstetrician attempted a Zavanelli maneuver and a C-section. Both methods failed. The baby was vaginally delivered but died tragically 42 minutes later. Their family claimed that they would have survived had a timely C-section been performed. This case settled for $615,000.
- March, 2020: $1,000,000 settlement. A woman underwent a hysterectomy. During the procedure, the OB/GYN lacerated her right ureter and bowel. The woman was discharged home hours later. Four days later, the woman went to the emergency room. She underwent a CT scan that revealed a pelvic abscess. The following day, she underwent a laparotomy. The surgeon found a hole in her sigmoid colon. He performed a colostomy, which drained significant fecal matter. The woman was eventually diagnosed with a right ureteral injury. Following the procedure, she wore a colostomy bag for 10 months. She then underwent revision surgery that repaired her ureter, reversed her colostomy, and revised her laparotomy. The woman subsequently underwent additional surgeries to treat hernias she developed. She alleged that the OB/GYN's lacerating of her bowel and right ureter caused her permanent injuries. These cases are usually less about the laceration than they are about the failure to see the injury that the puncture caused. This case settled for $1,000,000.
- February, 2020: $1,100,000 settlement. A 50-year-old man underwent knee surgery. Six weeks later, he suffered dyspnea. The man presented to a physician's private practice. He underwent a chest X-ray, which was normal. The physician concluded that moderate anemia and deconditioning caused his symptoms. He told the man to follow-up in a month. The man returned two weeks later with worsening dyspnea and tachycardia. He was told to visit a cardiologist. The man died from a pulmonary embolism before his appointment. His family alleged that the physician's failure to order additional testing delayed treatments that could have saved his life. This case settled for $1,100,000.
- December, 2019: $1,400,000 settlement. A 20-something man died at home from enlarged thyroid complications. His family alleged that the hospital's negligence caused his death. They claimed its staff negligently discharged the man, despite his abnormal ABG results. The family also claimed they failed to resolve the man's condition. The hospital denied liability. This case settled for $1,400,000.
- October, 2019: $1,600,000 verdict. A 75-year-old woman underwent elective spine surgery. She suffered significant blood loss during surgery that resulted in hypovolemic shock. The woman then went into cardiac arrest and died. Her family alleged that the surgical team's failure to address her blood loss caused her death. The hospital denied liability. It argued that her blood loss did not contribute to her death. Instead, the hospital claimed, an unavoidable disseminated intravascular coagulation caused. The jury didn't buy it and awarded the family $1,600,000.
- June, 2019: $1,250,000 settlement. A 15-year-old psychiatric patient suffered a mental breakdown and began punching walls. A psychiatric hospital staff member restrained him. After being released, the teen struck his head and lost consciousness. He failed to respond to smelling salts. Tragically, the teen died shortly after arriving at the hospital. His family alleged that the psychiatric hospital's negligence resulted in his death. They claimed its staff member negligently cared for the teen's safety. The psychiatric hospital denied negligence. This case settled for $1,250,000.
- May, 2019: $700,000 verdict. A woman underwent L5-S1 fusion surgery. The procedure comprised the insertion of screws, rods, and interbody cages. During the procedure, the surgeon mispositioned the hardware. Following the procedure, the woman suffered significant left leg pain. A lumbar CT scan revealed the mispositioned hardware. However, the physician claimed to not observe hardware impinging on her nerves. He discharged the woman and told her to see him 10 days later. Upon her return, she continued to experience severe leg pain. A lumbar CT scan revealed the same mispositioned hardware. Two days later, the physician ordered revision surgery without the woman's knowledge. During the procedure, the physician found a bone fragment that impinged a nerve. Prior diagnostic testing failed to reveal the fragment. Despite undergoing revision surgery, the woman's back and left leg pain failed to resolve. She alleged that the delay in performing revision surgery prolonged her nerve root compression, causing permanent injuries. A jury awarded the woman $700,000.
- October, 2018: $150,000 settlement. Elderly female decedent with diabetes and hypertension was getting in-home health care from defendant Hope-in-Home Care of Norfolk. While under home care by the defendant, the woman's blood sugar spiked and she became hypoglycemic and was rushed to the hospital. She eventually died from brain damage resulting from her prolonged, untreated hypoglycemia. Her estate brought a wrongful death suit in Virginia against the defendant alleging that its nurses negligently failed to monitor the decedent's blood sugar. The case settled out of court for $150,000.
- February, 2018: $650,000 settlement. A 6-year-old boy was taken to defendant Children's Hospital King's Daughters after being accidentally stabbed with scissors by his brother. After receiving treatment for the stab wound, the boy was discharged from the hospital. Just 6 hours after his discharge, however, he was back at the hospital with severe abdominal distention. At that point, it was determined that he was suffering from a bowel obstruction which had caused a massive internal infection. The boy died from the infection and his parents sued the hospital for failing to identify the bowel obstruction before discharging him. The case eventually settled for $650,000.
- February 2018: $1,500,000 verdict. Adult male plaintiff went to a hospital emergency room for severe abdominal pain. A pelvic CT scan was performed but the radiologist interpreted the images as normal and the plaintiff was discharged. Just 2 days later plaintiff was back at the hospital in worse condition. This time a pelvic CT scan showed a ruptured appendicitis causing a bowel obstruction. The plaintiff sued, alleging that the radiologist misinterpreted the CT scan at his first visit and failed to timely diagnose his appendicitis. The case went to trial and a jury awarded $1.5 million in damages.
- October, 2017: $450,000 settlement. Decedent, a 78-year-old female, went to the emergency room with extreme abdominal pain, distension, and constipation. An abdominal CT scan was performed, but the ER doctor interpreted the images as normal. The ER doctor diagnosed decedent with gastroesophageal reflux disease ("GERD") and sent her home. Hours later decedent was back in the ER in worse condition and it was determined that she had a bowel obstruction and she died from acute respiratory distress. Her estate sued the ER doctor for negligently failing to identify the bowel obstruction on the earlier CT scan. The case settled for $450,000.
- April 2017: $155,000 settlement. A radiologist was accused of negligently misreading pre-operative images of the kidney. As a result of this pre-operative mistake, the plaintiff's kidney transplant surgery failed leaving him on dialysis for over a year and causing him to suffer numerous infections. The malpractice suit against the radiologist was eventually settled for $150,000.
- December, 2016: $1,468,149 verdict. A man sought treatment for chronic running nose and cough/congestion and a chest x-ray was done. The radiologist interpreted the chest x-rays as normal. 13 months later another chest x-ray was done at which point decedent was diagnosed with advanced-stage lung cancer and he died soon after. His estate sued the radiologist for negligently failing to identify the tumor in the decedent's lower left lobe when the first chest x-ray was taken. The resulting delay in diagnosis caused the cancer to become inoperable.
- November, 2016: $652,000 verdict. Plaintiff, a middle-aged female, underwent laparoscopic hysterectomy procedure in which the doctor used a thermal cautery device. During the procedure, the doctor accidentally perforates the plaintiff's small bowel with the thermal device causing bowel contents to leak into the abdomen resulting in serious septic infection. She sued the doctor for surgical negligence and a jury in Norfolk awarded $652,000 in damages.
- June, 2014: $1.5 Million Settlement. A wrongful death suit is filed after the tragic death of a 17-year-old girl. The girl and her mother presented to a MedExpress urgent care to be treated for a severe sore throat. The girl was given Dilaudid, a potent opioid, and sent home. The girl and her mother picked up a prescription and were on their way home when the girl went into respiratory and cardiac failure. She was rushed to the hospital where she died a few hours later. It was determined that she was given more than twice the recommended dose of Dilaudid. Doctors determined that she was opioid-naive and at the weight of only 105 lbs, she was even more susceptible to having a bad reaction to Dilaudid, a drug more powerful than morphine. The family agreed to a settlement of $1.5 million dollars. Why did this case settle? Certainly, there was concern that if it went to trial, there would be a vigorous dispute over whether her death a few hours later was a result of medical malpractice. The autopsy listed her death as being a complication from mononucleosis. The treating doctor testified that she was only trying to help the girl, who was clearly in pain. You have to remember there is a hard cap of $2 million in Virginia medical malpractice cases.
- February 2014, Verdict of $4,000,000 A 45 year old man presents to his family physician with complaints of the sudden onset of severe pain in his right leg. His physician performs an evaluation, but makes no immediate recommendation for surgical intervention. He is ultimately diagnosed with acute limb ischemia due to a hardened blood clot in his right lower extremity. He undergoes surgical repair of the clot, but due to the lack of blood flow to the area, he requires a partial amputation of his right foot as a result of dead muscle and tissue. The man files suit alleging his physician was negligent in failing to timely refer him to a vascular surgeon, causing his condition to deteriorate, and the irreparable injury to his foot. He claims $342,000 in medical expenses with another $45,000 in lost wages. A jury awards him $4 million which is subsequently reduced to $1.85 million, in accordance with the statutory cap on medical malpractice awards.
- June, 2013 Verdict for $7,650,000. A 47 year old, insulin-dependent diabetic, sustains a non-displaced fracture of the tibial plateau and a wrist fracture when he is struck by a car. He is discharged from the hospital within a week of his admission, after undergoing an open reduction with internal fixation for the tibial plateau fracture. Over the next two weeks he presented twice for follow ups, complaining about wounds and thigh blisters that were red and draining. He also complained about having eschar on the lateral thigh and that the area surrounding it was grayish black. The doctor never removed or changed his bandages. Days later, he presented to the emergency room, and was diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis. Despite numerous debridements, he required an above-the-knee amputation, followed eventually by hip disarticulation, as well as a below-the-elbow amputation, and amputation of the small finger on his other hand. He filed suit alleging that had the infection been timely diagnosed as a superficial infection, all amputations would have been avoided. His experts later opined that had emergent debridement and appropriate antimicrobial therapy been timely done, an above-the-knee amputation would have sufficed. Defendants contended that the Plaintiff had no signs of infection at the follow-up visits, and there was no reason to investigate the differential diagnosis of infection. They maintained that their treatment was within the standard of care and nothing they did or failed to do contributed to the need for limp amputations. Plaintiff claimed $1,127,845 in medicals and sought compensatory damages for permanent disfigurement and disability. After a day and a half deliberation, a jury awarded the Plaintiff $7,650,000, which was reduced to $1,928,000 pursuant to the statutory cap.
If you need a Virginia medical malpractice attorney, call 800-553-8082 or get a free consultation.
- Virginia Personal Injury/Malpractice Cases (general information)
- Value of Personal Injury Cases in Virginia. (median values)
- Wrongful Death Settlements and Verdicts in Virginia. (median values)
- Value of Medical Malpractice Cases in Virginia. (malpractice cases)
- Contact us or call 1-800-553-8082
Virginia has a $2 million max cap on malpractice damages, so the average malpractice settlement in Virginia is below the national average of $250,000 for settlements and $1 million for verdicts.
Yes. Virginia has a “hard” cap which imposes a maximum limit of $2,500,000 on the amount of total damages (of any type) that can be awarded in medical malpractice cases.
Medical malpractice claims are subject to a 2-year statute of limitations in Virginia. The 2-year period usually begins to run from the date of the injury, but there are many circumstances which can extend this 2-year deadline, including when the plaintiff is a minor.
About 78% of all medical malpractice cases end in settlement. For the remainder that go to trial, the defendants win around 75% of the time. In Virginia, however, these winning percentages are highly dependent on what location the case is in. The best venues for plaintiffs are the northern counties and Richmond City.
A typical medical malpractice case in Virginia can take anywhere from 18 months to 3 years to complete if the case goes all the way to trial. The speed of civil dockets varies based on what part of the state you are in.