Virginia: Medical Malpractice – a Lawyer’s Literature

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Effective July 1, 2013, the Virginia General Assembly amended and reenacted Va. Code Ann. §8.01-401.1 by Senate Bill 983. The revision materially affects expert opinion involving “published treatises, periodicals or pamphlets on a subject of history, medicine or other science or art, established as reliable authority,” which “literature” often is relied upon in medical malpractice trials.

It clarifies that proponents need provide only the “specific statements” to be introduced in direct examination, not the entire publication. More significantly, it adds that any medical malpractice and other expert “need not have relied on the statement at the time of forming his opinion in order to read the statement in evidence during direct examination at trial”.