Medicine is a science, yes, but it is also an “art” involving interpretation and analysis. In treating a patient, a physician has to make decisions; decision-making involves weighing available evidence, making a judgment, and choosing a course of action. The challenge for you, if you are a victim pursuing a medical malpractice case, is that your attorney will need to show that your treatment violated the “standard of care.”

The problem is that there is no “standard.”

Some instances of negligence so obviously violate proper care that defendants will stipulate or admit to the violation. An example is when a surgeon operates on the wrong limb, or in one of my cases, on the wrong side of the face.  In a case like that, the lawsuit can move forward on the damages caused by the negligence and work toward winning fair compensation for the injured.

photo__2220877_matt_profile001Super Lawyers has once again honored our firm attorneys. Firm associate attorney Matt Perushek has been selected to the 2019 Virginia Rising Stars list, an honor he first achieved in 2015. Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor.

Partners Steve Frei and Gary B. Mims were selected to the 2019 Virginia Super Lawyers list, an annual rating of lawyers who have attained “a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.” Each year, no more than five percent of the lawyers in Virginia are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor.

 

Research confirms what most medical malpractice attorneys have experienced for many years — the deck is stacked in favor of doctors in medical malpractice lawsuits.

A study published in Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research examined 20 years of medical malpractice cases and found that the doctor most often wins.  Researchers compared lawsuit outcomes to outcomes predicted by physician reviewers. Remarkably, they found that physicians win 50 percent of the cases that independent reviewers said had strong evidence of medical malpractice.  In other words, they win 50 percent of the cases that they should lose.

This high success rate, according to the study, suggests that more is at play than just the evidence: “Juries may be skeptical of patients who sue their doctors” and “juries tend to give doctors the benefit of the doubt when experts for both sides are credible.” In addition, the study suggests that the defendants are much more likely than plaintiffs to hire experienced attorneys. Obviously, these factors make it difficult for malpractice plaintiffs to win even the strongest of cases.

WSET-TV in Lynchburg took a look at medical malpractice in plastic surgery, finding that some doctors performing plastic surgery operations simply aren’t qualified.  One example is the case of woman represented by partner Gary Brooks Mims whose doctor left her left eye irrevocably damaged.

https://wset.com/news/local/unqualified-plastic-surgeons-loophole-in-va-law-lets-any-doctor-perform-plastic-surgery

Mims presented evidence that the procedure his client needed should have been performed by an ophthalmic surgeon — one who specializes in surgery involving the eye and surrounding tissue.  Through the testimony of expert witness, Mims successfully argued that the plastic surgeon violated the standard of care by performing an operation for which he was not qualified.

The Virginia personal injury law firm of Sickels, Frei and Mims has once again been ranked in the 2019 U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” list.  The firm has earned this distinction every year since the list was first published in 2010.

The firm is especially proud to announce that Sickels, Frei and Mims has earned the top tier ranking for the Washington, D.C. region for both Medical Malpractice – Plaintiffs and Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs.

Firms included in the 2019 “Best Law Firms” list are recognized for professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. Achieving a tiered ranking signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise.

Sickels, Frei & Mims attorneys have again been recognized as among the top 5 percent of lawyers in Virginia by Super Lawyers. Firm attorneys have been named to the list every year since 2007.

Partner Steve Frei was recognized under the category of Personal Injury General, Plaintiff.  Partner Gary Brooks Mims was named as Personal Injury Medical Malpractice, Plaintiff.

Associate Matt Perushek was named to the Super Lawyers Rising Stars roster for the fourth consecutive year.  Matt was recognized under the category of Personal Injury General, Plaintiff. Only 2.5 percent of Virginia attorneys are Rising Stars, which recognizes attorneys who are forty years old or younger or in practice for 10 or years or less.

Why “reasonably calculated” language must be changed.https://www.virginia-injury-lawyer-blog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/144/2018/04/Screen-Shot-2018-04-16-at-10.46.25-AM-300x201.png

The scope of discovery is improperly stretched by insurance companies and defense attorneys to gain overly broad access to plaintiffs’ medical records, according to an article recently published as part of the “Practice Tip Series” on the Virginia State Bar website.  “Reasonably Calculated: Confusion Over the Scope of Discovery” was authored by Sickles, Frei & Mims attorney Matt Perushek.

Perushek argues that “reasonably calculated” language should be removed from Virginia Rules as it has been removed from Federal Rules.  In 2015, Federal Rule 26 was amended to remove “reasonably calculated” because the phrase was used by some, incorrectly, to define the scope of discovery.

by Gary Brooks Mims

oliver-wendell-holmes-300x300When you think of the law, most of us tend to think in terms like “justice,” “equality,” or “fairness.”  Unfortunately, the law is not always fair, nor does everyone receive equal treatment, and often, it does not succeed in meting out “justice.” Virginia medical malpractice law offers at least two examples of this.

The first involves the statute of limitations. Recently, an 18-year old woman came in to the office for a consult. As an infant, she was injured by the negligence of her doctor in a surgery that left her without most of her intestine. She asked me about the statute of limitations.

Partner Gary Brooks Mims has been appointed by Chief Justice Donald W. Lemons of the Supreme Court of Virginia to the faculty for the Virginia State Bar Harry L. Carrico Professionalism Course. The course is mandatory for all members of the Virginia State Bar.

The course must be completed within 12 months of becoming an active member of the Virginia State Bar, as established by the Supreme Court of Virginia in 1987.  The course faculty is drawn from “among the best judges and lawyers in Virginia who have a deep commitment to the principles that underlies the Rules of Professional Conduct and inspire professionalism in the practice of law.”

photo__2220877_matt_profile001Sickels, Frei and Mims, LLP associate Matthew Perushek was named to the “Top 40 under 40” roster by the National Trial Lawyers Association. The honor is by invitation only and is awarded exclusively to civil plaintiff and/or criminal defense attorney.

The Top 40 membership is extended to a select few from each state who exemplify “superior qualifications, trial results and leadership as a young lawyer under 40.” Selection is based on a thorough multi-phase objective process which includes peer nominations combined with third-party research.

A graduate of the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason, Perushek clerked for the Honorable Michael F. Devine of the Fairfax Circuit Court.  He joined Sickels, Frei and Mims in 2013. He is active in the Fairfax and Virginia bar associations and will serve as district representative of the Young Lawyers Conference. He was named a Super Lawyers Rising Star 2015-17.