Doctors are normally reputable individuals who we trust with our health. Having the assistance of a skilled doctor or medical professional can significantly ease any suffering. On the other hand, having a grossly negligent doctor can alter your life forever.
According to a 2016 study by John Hopkins Hospital, medical errors resulted in 250,000 deaths in the United States. Doctors or medical personnel who commit medical malpractice can change a patient’s life forever. A medical mistake can worsen or even add on to any preexisting conditions you already struggle with. If you believe that you are a victim of medical malpractice, it’s highly recommended that you seek trusted legal representation.
Houston Attorney for Medical Malpractice in Texas
In 2017, the Institute of Healthcare Improvement (IHI) found that approximately 41 percent of people in the United States have experienced a medical error. Health care professionals must be vigilant about their practice to avoid medical malpractice. Doctors or medical professionals who don’t take precautions may be considered legally responsible.
Everyone makes mistakes. However, there is no excuse for negligent or careless behavior in the medical field. Matthew Horak is an experienced personal injury attorney who puts his clients first. He is compassionate with clients and aggressive in the courtroom. Find an attorney who can help you recover at Horak Law.
Call us now at (713) 225-8000. Matthew Horak accepts clients throughout the greater Houston metropolitan area and surrounding communities including Sharpstown, Gulfton, Magnolia Park, Houston Heights, and Meyerland.
Overview of Medical Malpractice in Texas
- Can I Sue for Medical Malpractice?
- Types of Medical Malpractice
- When Should I Sue for Medical Malpractice?
- What do I Get From a Medical Malpractice Claim?
Can I Sue for Medical Malpractice?
The U.S. National Library of Medicine defines medical malpractice as the act or omission by a physician while treating a patient that deviates from accepted practices. Medical malpractice can range from minor errors such as using wrong identifying information such as misdiagnosis.
The first step to receiving compensation for medical malpractice is to file a claim. It’s highly advised that you hire an attorney to assist you with the process. A skilled personal injury attorney can assess your case, collect evidence, and handle the paperwork related to your case.
If you’d like to file a medical malpractice claim, you must prove the following:
- The plaintiff was former patient of the defendant;
- The defendant was treating the plaintiff for a specific medical condition;
- The defendant did not uphold their standard duty of care and made a medical error; and
- That medical error led to harm, injury, or death to the victim.
Types of Medical Malpractice in Texas
Medical malpractice can happen in any type of medical profession. Damage settlements vary based on the circumstances of the error itself. It’s crucial that you document your experience as much as possible for evidence. The following are some common types of medical malpractice.
A 2017 report by the John Hopkins School of Medicine stated that a third of medical malpractice reports originate from a wrong diagnosis. A medical misdiagnosis can lead to a variety of health issues. You may be having harmful treatments for no reason, pay for unneeded medical costs, or have newly added conditions from the medications.
Doctors must evaluate you thoroughly before making a diagnosis. Any doctor who ignores obvious symptoms or doesn’t inform a patient of an underlying condition is considered medically unethical. Conditions that are commonly misdiagnosed include:
- Cerebral palsy;
- Stroke or heart attack;
- Brain tumor;
- Pulmonary embolism; or
- Sexually transmitted diseases.
Pregnancy and the childbirth process are incredibly complex. Physicians who are negligent can make medical errors that result in injury to both mother and child. Some examples of medical malpractice related to pregnancy and child birth include:
- Premature babies;
- Cerebral palsy or Erb’s palsy to the child due to childbirth;
- Shoulder dystocia or another type of nerve injury to the child during labor;
- Negligently administering anesthesia during a Caesarian section;
- Unnecessarily long labor that leads to injury;
- Surgical errors or negligence during a Caesarian section; and
- Hemorrhage to mother or child during pregnancy or labor.
Prescription Drug Errors
A prescription drug error is when a health care professional is negligent in administering medication to a patient. Prescription errors can be made by doctors, nurses, pharmacists, or the pharmacy itself. Errors involving medication can result in severe injuries, added health issues, and even worsen your initial condition.
Medication errors can happen in a multitude of ways. A physician may prescribe the wrong medication, the wrong dosage, or not thoroughly inform the patient of any possible side-effects. Additionally, the patient may not know he or she is allergic to the medication. Doctors, nurses, or pharmacists who make deadly prescription drug errors may be held legally responsible.
Surgeons and anesthesiologists must be incredibly vigilant during surgery to avoid any negative after-effects. Errors or reckless actions during surgery can lead to devastating results. Some common surgical errors include damaging a muscle or nerve, puncturing an organ or blood vessel, leaving a foreign body behind, or operating on the wrong body part.
Anesthesia-related medical errors can be just as harmful. Patients cannot receive too much or too little anesthesia or medical errors can occur. Poorly administered anesthesia can result in brain injuries or even death. In addition, anesthesiologists are in charge of moving the patient during the surgery. Anesthesiologists that don’t do this or make disastrous errors can result in additional health problems for the patient.
When Should I Sue for Medical Malpractice?
Victims of medical malpractice must act quickly. Texas civil law has a time limit for plaintiffs to file a claim for damage recovery, which is referred to as a “statute of limitations.” A statute of limitations begins on the day of which you discovered the medical malpractice or if the harm occurred after treatment it begins once the treatment is completely finished.
The statute of limitations for medical malpractice is two years. So, once you’ve uncovered that you’re a victim of medical malpractice you have two years to file a claim for compensation. Texas also has a “statue or repose” that acts as a larger catch-all deadline. If ten years has passed then the plaintiff has lost all ability to file for medical malpractice.
What Can I Get for Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim?
In a personal injury claim you are seeking compensation for damages. Basically, you are asking for compensation because of the losses your injury created. A person can receive a monetary award for both economic and non-economic damages. The following are some economic damages you may receive compensation for.
- Treatment costs;
- Hospital visit bills;
- Rehabilitation expenses;
- Physical therapy treatments;
- Nursing home bills;
- Prescription drugs;
- Medical equipment;
- Lost wages;
- Handicap house fixtures; and
- Increased living expenses.
In addition to economic damages, you may receive compensation for non-economic damages such as:
- Pain and suffering;
- Mental anguish;
- Loss of consortium;
- Loss of enjoyment of life; and
Texas law does have caps for medical malpractice claims. Texas caps only apply to non-economic damages and are dependent on who the plaintiff is filing a claim against. The following are the caps for non-economic damages in a medical malpractice suit.
- Against a singular physician or health care provider – $250,000
- Against a single health care institution – $250,000
- Against multiple health care institutions – $500,000
Texas Medical Liability Laws – Visit the official website for Texas civil laws and procedures. Find more information surrounding medical liability, the Texas Medical Disclosure Panel, the duties of a health care provider, and more on the statute of limitations for medical malpractice.
Health Care – Visit the official website for the Attorney General of Texas, Ken Paxton. Gain access to resources for health care and hospital fraud and abuse. Learn about your rights as a patient, a list of agencies that look into health care complaints, and access the health care complaint form in PDF.
Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Harris County, Texas
If you believe that you may be a victim of medical malpractice, you may be entitled to compensation. Matthew Horak is an experienced personal injury attorney who has litigated in multiple medical malpractice claims. He has the resources, knowledge, and drive to do whatever possible for you to get what you deserve.
Don’t suffer alone and let the ones responsible go without any consequences. Get in contact with Matthew Horak at (713) 225-8000 to schedule a free consultation. Horak Law practices law throughout the greater Harris County area and surrounding counties including Brazoria County, Liberty County, Montgomery County, and Galveston County.
This article was last updated on November 27, 2018.