If you had to name the top causes of death in the United States, you’d probably choose things like cancer or heart disease, car accidents or unintentional injuries.
While this is right, you’d be overlooking something that accounts for about 10 percent of U.S. deaths every year. Medical errors.
In fact, medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in the United States; only cancer and heart disease take more lives.
Medical malpractice can be especially shocking because of how unexpected it is. When you visit your doctor, you expect to get help.
You do not expect harm in any way. Yet doctors make serious mistakes on a regular basis, and sometimes, these mistakes leave patients with catastrophic harm.
Did you suffer harm at the hands of a healthcare professional? You may have a medical malpractice claim for damages. Our medical malpractice lawyers in Texas can help you to explore your options and understand your rights
What Constitutes Medical Malpractice?
When a healthcare professional, including a doctor or a surgeon, breaches the duty of care owed to a patient, and a patient suffers harm as a result, medical malpractice has occurred. Duty of care is the same degree of care another doctor of similar background and training exercises in same situations.
It is important to note that malpractice is not simply an error, nor does a patient have a malpractice claim simply because they have suffered harm or their condition has not improved; rather, malpractice occurs when harm is the result of the healthcare professional’s failure to act in accordance with the medical standard of care.
Common Types of Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice can be committed by doctors of all types and can affect patients suffering from various different conditions. Some of the most common types of medical malpractice–but by no means the only types–include:
● Medication errors. Medication errors are especially common. Examples of medication errors might include prescribing the wrong medication. Other examples are improper administration of a medication, improper or incorrect filling of a medication, failing to provide the patient with instructions for using the medication, prescribing the wrong dosage of medication, prescribing a medication that is not safe for the patient to use (based on other health conditions or prescriptions), and more.
● Diagnostic errors. When a person is suffering from a health condition, they will likely turn to their doctor for a diagnosis and treatment. However, the patient may be misdiagnosed. Or their diagnosis may be delayed. This can result in the proliferation of their disease/the deterioration of their condition. Diagnostic errors happen for a number of reasons. These include failing to refer the patient to a specialist, failing to order or properly interpret tests, failing to get a full list of the patient’s symptoms, and more.
● Surgical errors. Surgical errors are often especially egregious. They might include operating on the wrong patient, operating on the wrong body part, failing to properly sterilize medical equipment (leading to infection), or even leaving a piece of medical equipment within the patient.
● Treatment errors. Sometimes, a patient suffers from a condition that may have various treatment options; other times, there is only one medically-accepted form of treatment. In either case, it is the doctor’s responsibility to treat the patient in a manner that is consistent with the medical standard of care owed to the patient; if the doctor fails to do this and harm results, the patient may have a medical malpractice suit.
Damages Recoverable in a Medical Malpractice Claim
When a healthcare provider causes harm to a patient, the patient deserves compensation for the value of their losses. In a medical malpractice suit, a patient may seek compensation for the full extent of their economic losses associated with the harm. This includes any future medical costs or treatments, lost wages, costs of traveling to and from doctors’ appointments, and more.
A plaintiff may also seek compensation for the value of their noneconomic losses. This includes their pain, suffering, and emotional distress. However, noneconomic damages in a medical malpractice case get a cap in Texas. Plaintiffs can only recover $250,000 in noneconomic losses.
Time Limit for Filing a Medical Malpractice Suit
When a patient thinks that their doctor has committed medical malpractice, they must act quickly to file a claim; otherwise, they may lose their right to pursue damages. In Texas, all medical malpractice claims must file within two years of the date of the act of malpractice. In some cases, there can be an extension for the deadline.
For example, if the harm occurred during the course of ongoing medical care, then the clock on the two-year limit starts ticking from the time that the treatment ends. Or, if you don’t discover the harm until later. For example, if you discover that a doctor left a sponge within you during a surgery from two years ago, then the clock begins from the moment of discovery.
How Does a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Texas Help?
Bringing forth and winning a medical malpractice claim can be difficult work. Even if you can prove that you’ve suffered harm, it can be difficult to establish that it is more likely than not that the healthcare provider in question acted outside of the realm of the medical standard of care. In order to prove this, various experts (other doctors) will need to be in the process. They will need to offer testimony about the standard of care in your case and how breaching it was possible.
You will also need to prove the extent of damages that you have suffered. From there, you need to understand a settlement offer and negotiate a settlement. This will ensure that you recover the maximum amount of compensation available.
When you call our medical malpractice lawyers in Texas, we will handle all elements of your claim on your behalf. We hire experts and pay upfront costs. We also investigate your case, build your claim, evaluate your damages, represent you in negotiations, and more.
Schedule Your Free Consultation Today
Being injured at the hands of a doctor whom you trust can be shocking. But you are not alone. At the law offices of Flores, Tawney & Acosta, P.C., we can help you seek justice and damages for your losses. Please schedule your free consultation by calling our law office directly today.