In Virginia, if a person is injured in a car accident due to the negligence of another driver and that person’s injury is later made worse by the negligence of the injured person’s doctor, can the injured person seek recovery from the negligent driver for the aggravation of the injury caused by the injured person’s negligent doctor?

The below information was written by our personal injury lawyers in Virginia Beach.

Maybe. A plaintiff, free of negligence on his or her part, who is injured due to the negligence of another driver is entitled to compensation for his or her injuries. To learn more about the items an injured person can seek compensation for in Virginia, click here. Additionally, a person injured in a car accident due to the negligence of another driver can seek compensation for the aggravation of a pre-existing injury, but not the pre-existing injury itself. To learn more about compensation for aggravation of pre-existing injuries in Virginia, click here. If a person is injured in a car accident due to the negligence of another driver and that person’s injury is later made worse by the negligence of the injured person’s doctor, the Virginia Supreme Court has written that the injured person can seek recovery from the negligent driver for the aggravation of the injury caused by the negligent doctor under certain circumstances. According to the Virginia Supreme Court:

“[t]he general rule is that if an injured person uses ordinary care in selecting a physician for treatment of his injury, the law regards the aggravation of the injury resulting from the negligent act of the physician as a part of the immediate and direct damages which naturally flow from the original injury.” *492 Corbett v. Clarke, 187 Va. 222, 224–25, 46 S.E.2d 327, 328 (1948); accord Washington v. Williams, 215 Va. 353, 357, 210 S.E.2d 154, 157 (1974); Powell v. Troland, 212 Va. 205, 212, 183 S.E.2d 184, 188 (1971); Fauver v. Bell, 192 Va. 518, 522, 65 S.E.2d 575, 578 (1951). The rationale underlying this rule is “that the aggravation of [an] injury by the negligent treatment of [a] physician is a result that might reasonably have been anticipated” by the original tortfeasor. Corbett, 187 Va. at 225, 46 S.E.2d at 328; accord Powell, 212 Va. at 212, 183 S.E.2d at 188.

Questions regarding injuries a plaintiff can seek compensation for, including an aggravation of an injury caused by a negligent doctor, are specific to the facts of the individual personal injury case, and we encourage you to contact one of our personal injury lawyers in Virginia Beach.  We can determine whether the requirements for making a claim for an aggravation of an injury by a treating doctor have been met. Also, the experienced personal injury lawyer can advise as to whether the injured person might have a medical malpractice claim that could be made as a result of the negligence of the hypothetical negligent doctor discussed above. As in all personal injury cases, experienced personal injury lawyers can also advise the injured person as to the value of the personal injury claim, can guide the injured person through the process of making an injury claim with the applicable insurance company or companies, and can represent the injured person in the litigation of the personal injury claim, if a personal injury lawsuit becomes necessary.

Waiting can hurt your case. To find out how our personal injury lawyers in Virginia Beach can help you, please contact us at (757) 486-2700.

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