Health care providers are required to follow certain standards of care when treating patients. So what happens when they fail to meet these standards? Let’s find out.
According to a John Hopkins study, medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States. Patients under the care of healthcare providers expect to be treated with a certain standard of professional care. When physicians fail to uphold these standards, it amounts to medical malpractice. If you are a victim of medical error, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice claim. With the help of a Houston medical malpractice lawyer, you can get justice and compensation for the injuries and loss suffered.
There are established professional standards to be met by medical practitioners as regulated by the Texas Medical Board. Patients put their well-being and lives in the hands of medical professionals. You entrust them to provide the best possible treatment, but unfortunately, mistakes happen due to fatigue, inattention, or other reasons.
These mistakes cause injuries that might result in disabilities, significant medical bills, pain and suffering, or death. Thankfully, victims have a right to get justice and compensation for the harm suffered. Houston medical malpractice lawyers can be a great help in these complicated cases.
What Is “Medical Malpractice” in Texas?
Medical malpractice is confusing, and not every element that could cause harm may be considered malpractice. Some complications could be regarded as normal and acceptable risks. However, it is not so easy for patients without medical expertise and knowledge to tell the difference.
Before defining medical malpractice, you should understand what negligence means in general. Negligence is a breach of an existing standard of care. Medical malpractice comes in when such a breach results in injury to whom the care is owed. So failure to follow the accepted standard of practice, omitting to take appropriate actions, or giving substandard treatment that causes harm, constitutes medical malpractice.
The standard of care you receive should be comparable to what other medical experts would have done in the same situation. So, if you believe you have suffered medical negligence, seek a second opinion from another physician and contact a law firm.
What Are the Common Types of Medical Malpractice in Houston, Texas?
Several occurrences can lead to a medical malpractice claim in Houston, Texas. Complaints filed to the Texas Medical Board about these medical errors are usually high. Examples include:
Sadly, a surgical error is one of the most common medical mistakes patients experience. Undergoing even minor surgeries can leave one vulnerable to complications, infections, or death. You want to trust that the surgeon is experienced, competent, and up-to-date with the current best practices in their field.
It is malpractice when a medical provider fails to uphold a reasonable standard of care during and after a surgical procedure. Common surgical errors include:
- Operating on the wrong body part
- Delayed or improper treatment
- Leaving a foreign object inside a patient
- Operating on the wrong patient
- Neglecting to follow postoperative procedures
- Administering incorrect medications or dosages
- Anesthesia errors such as insufficient or excess use of anesthesia, etc.
Misdiagnoses occur when doctors fail to diagnose the correct illness. Patients who suffer from life-threatening diseases may have a limited time to successfully treat their condition. So when doctors fail to diagnose their illness accurately, it can rob them of substantial years of their lives. In addition, improper diagnosis can cause existing medical conditions to worsen.
Doctors must note the symptoms patients describe to them and conduct tests to reach a correct diagnosis. However, it is important to state that not every misdiagnosis amounts to medical negligence. Misdiagnoses will only qualify as malpractice if the doctor failed to do what another expert would have in a similar condition and, as a result, caused severe injuries and losses.
This is among the most devastating cases of medical malpractice. Welcoming a baby into the world is a cherishable experience for many. No one plans for the unexpected outcome of birth injuries caused by the negligence of healthcare providers. Birth injuries can even result in the death of the baby or the mother.
Devastating consequences of birth injuries include:
- Brain injury
- Nerve damage
- Cerebral palsy
- Perinatal asphyxia
- Bone fractures, etc.
Prescription and medication errors can result in painful side effects or catastrophic injuries. Unfortunately, these errors often go unreported by patients. Patients entrust healthcare practitioners to give the correct medications, fill their prescriptions, or recognize dangerous drug interactions before medications are taken. Failure to do this amounts to medical malpractice.
Medical Product Liability
Negligent doctors are not the only ones that can be liable for medical malpractice. For example, patients suffer from the use of poorly designed medical devices. If the manufacturer knew or should have known about the product defect, they are liable to pay damages. However, proving this can be difficult, so you should consult with a Houston medical malpractice attorney to examine the fact of your case.
Failure to Warn
Health care professionals are obligated to explain each risk associated with a patient’s procedure or treatment. Most treatment or medical procedure, whether surgery, administration of drugs, etc., carries risks. So if a doctor fails to get your informed consent or warn you of the possible outcome, they will be liable for negligence.
Proving Liability in Medical Malpractice Cases
Victims of medical malpractice can institute legal action against a doctor or the medical facility. However, to be entitled to compensation, you must build a compelling case against the negligent party. An experienced Houston medical malpractice attorney can help determine if your issue has grounds for a liability lawsuit.
In proving medical malpractice, your Houston medical malpractice attorney must establish these key elements:
- That the healthcare professionals had a legal duty to provide a standard of care
- That the duty of care was breached
- That this breach of duty caused injury or harm
- That your injury or harm resulted in financial losses
How Long Do I Have to File a Medical Malpractice Claim in Houston?
The Statute of Limitations for healthcare liability claims in Texas is two years from the date the malpractice occurred. If the medical error is in the course of continuous medical treatment, the two-year clock begins to run on the last day of the treatment. If the injured victim is a child under the age of 12, you can file a claim on their behalf before their 14th birthday.
In addition, there is a Statute of Repose on medical liability claims. This allows for a case to be brought within ten years regardless of when the negligence was discovered. Any claim filed after this period is statute-barred. So consult a Houston medical malpractice attorney immediately to ensure you do not file your case out of time.
What Is the Average Settlement for Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Houston, Texas?
Injury victims of medical negligence are often concerned about the value of their case. Unfortunately, there is no set value ascribed as each case is treated individually. To estimate the worth of your claim, it is crucial to get a lawyer involved. However, your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, disabilities, etc., are important factors to be considered.
What Compensation Can Houston Medical Malpractice Attorneys Get for Me?
Recovering compensation for negligent medical care without legal representation can be difficult. Texas laws governing healthcare liability claims are complex. In addition, insurance companies and their lawyers will do everything to avoid paying you. So you need an attorney with extensive experience and grit to get you the full compensation you deserve.
Typically, a lawyer will evaluate your case to determine the scope of your economic and non-economic losses. Depending on the extent of your injuries and expected prognosis, they can obtain a wide range of compensatory damages for:
- Ongoing and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Disability benefits
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
- Prescriptions, medical equipment, and adaptive devices
Your Houston medical malpractice attorney could ask the court for punitive damages if the liable party was grossly or willfully negligent. If the injured party dies, the claim becomes a wrongful death action, and the decedent’s legal beneficiaries can commence the suit.
Does Texas Have a Cap on Medical Malpractice Claims?
Unlike most states, Texas law restricts the amount of compensation awarded to injured patients. For example, the state has a cap of $250,000 cap per claim on non-economic damages against a single physician.
For cases against multiple healthcare institutions, there is an overall cap of $500,000. Non-economic damages include compensation for pain and suffering, anxiety, mental anguish, reduced quality of life, etc.
What Can I Expect From a Houston Medical Malpractice Attorney?
Even though the liability of medical professionals after malpractice is obvious, proving these claims can be challenging. It would help if you had an attorney who has in-depth knowledge of medical malpractice law. Their ability to use your medical records and scientific expert testimony can significantly impact your case.
In addition to the above, Houston personal injury attorneys can help you:
- Investigate your case and gather sufficient evidence to determine the responsible party’s fault
- Build a solid case
- Consult medical expert witnesses to testify on your behalf
- Evaluate your case to determine your scope of damages
- Handle all communications and negotiations with insurance companies
- File a medical malpractice lawsuit if insurance settlement negotiation fails
- Represent you in a trial if necessary
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Houston Medical Malpractice Attorney?
Faced with staggering financial losses, medical malpractice victims are usually hesitant to get legal representation. It only makes sense for them to avoid more bills. However, the fear of a lawyer’s fees should not deter you from getting justice.
Thankfully, most medical malpractice lawyers represent clients on a contingency fee basis. This means a lawyer’s fee is paid as a percentage (usually 33%- 40%) of the settlement. If the lawyer loses your case, you are not obligated to pay. With this, there is no risk in consulting with an attorney to see if they can help you.
Begin Your Claim With an Experienced Houston Medical Malpractice Attorney Today!
We turn to healthcare providers in our most vulnerable moments. We entrust them to uphold a standard of care for our health and well-being. So it can be shocking and devastating when their negligent actions hurt us. If you or a loved one is a victim of medical negligence, you deserve justice and compensation.
At West Loop Law, we have the resources to protect your rights and provide quality legal support. We will fight to get you the maximum compensation you deserve. In addition, we work on a contingency basis, so you don’t pay until we win your case. Schedule a free consultation with our medical malpractice lawyers today.