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Filing a Texas Medical Malpractice Claim – Call (214) 747-5240 for Help Now!
Our Dallas medical malpractice lawyers have been fighting for the rights of Texas medical negligence victims for 35 years. We have the knowledge, skills, experience, and financial stability to take on medical professionals and the big insurance companies they are aligned with.
Call (214) 747-5240 for a free consultation now.
All of us rely on doctors and other medical professionals to render their services in a safe and reasonable manner when we are sick or injured. The vast majority of times the services rendered are professional and competent. Sometimes, however, the standard of care is violated and people are injured or killed in negligence claims involving doctors, hospitals, surgical facilities, nurses, nursing homes, or other healthcare facilities.
Texas Medical malpractice claims are often challenging due to changes in the law specifically designed to cut back on these types of cases.
It is imperative that you contact an experienced Dallas attorney as soon as you suspect medical negligence has occurred. Many times malpractice happens in one of the following medical situations:
- A doctor offers an incorrect diagnosis
- A doctor fails to diagnose something they should have
- An error is committed during a surgical proceeding
- Wrong medication is prescribed or handed out
- Medication is prescribed without regards to possible side-effects or without considering other prescription drugs a person is currently taking
- Services are provided to the wrong patient
- Procedure is not followed correctly or proper procedures were not in place
- Baby was delivered incorrectly
- Patients suffered abuse or neglect
- Patients were not properly monitored or supervised
The above list is not exhaustive. Any treatment below the minimum standard of care could be the basis for a Texas medical malpractice claim. If you were injured, or a loved one was killed, due to possible medical negligence, please call our Dallas attorneys as soon as possible for a free consultation.
The Ultimate Guide to Filing a Texas Medical Malpractice Claim
Do you have a medical negligence claim? Learn whether you have one, and some of the ins and outs of filing one below.
Something bad happened when you got treatment from your doctor. Do you have a Texas medical malpractice claim you can win in court? Maybe… maybe not. To prove medical negligence actually happens, you have to show your treating professional deviated from the “standard of care.” The “standard of care” describes what a reasonably prudent medical professional would or would not have done under the same circumstances.
Medical negligence is one of the most difficult types of malpractice claims to prove.
According to a Forbes post, medical errors kill 200,000 US patients per year, but only 15% of all personal injury suits filed are based on medical negligence. Plus, 80% end up in the client not getting any financial compensation at all. You must have a very strong trail of evidence to prove medical negligence actually happened.
What Else Do You Have to Show to Win a Texas Medical Malpractice Claim?
Here are the additional basic requirements you must show to win your case:
- A Doctor-Patient Relationship Existed: You have to show you hired the doctor and that he/she agreed to be hired. For example, if you have a consulting doctor who doesn’t treat you directly, you may not be able to sue them for medical negligence.
- Your Doctor Acted with Negligence: We talked about this above. In addition to taking action that a reasonable doctor would take under the same circumstances, you should also know you’re not entitled to get the best care possible. Your doctor’s care simply must be “reasonably skillful and careful.” If your doctor doesn’t act in that way, then you may have a good medical negligence claim.
- The Doctor’s Negligence Must Cause Your Injury: If you’re already sick or physically injured and you get treatment, did your current ailments cause further problems, or did your doctor’s actions cause them? If you’re seriously sick with cancer, it could be hard to show your doctor’s negligence caused additional problems. Usually, this means getting a medical expert to testify it’s “more likely than not” your doctor’s negligence caused your injury.
- Your Injury Led to Specific Damages: Even if your doctor took negligent action, you can’t suit him if his actions didn’t cause any harm. If you experience additional physical pain, mental anguish, medical bills, and lose your ability to work, you may have a provable medical negligence claim.
What Is The Statute of Limitations in a Texas Medical Malpractice Claim?
In Texas, you have 2 years from the date of injury (or death in the case of wrongful death claim) to file. If you wait longer than 2 years, you can never file a lawsuit for that particular injury again. Most injury lawyers offer free consultations for medical malpractice claims. If you believe you were the victim of medical negligence, get in touch with a qualified attorney today at (214) 747-5240.
Depending on the type of medical negligence damages, you have certain limits you can recover in Texas claims.
With Texas medical malpractice claims, what’s one of the first things that goes through practically everyone’s mind? Big dollar value payouts to victims and their survivors. However, these settlements are not as common as they seem. That’s because they’re sensational stories, the kind people pay attention to in the media. So they get reported the most and appear to be typical. The truth? I’m not sure anyone knows exactly if those situations are really out of control.
However, legislators in Texas believed unfairly large settlements to medical malpractice victims inflated physician insurance premiums too much. So in 2003, and in the years since, they passed tort reform in Texas that caps the amount of damages you can get.
Here’s how it works right now:
- “Non-Economic” Damages are Limited: “Non-economic” damages refer to damages you can recover that are not financially related. Think pain and suffering here. For example, you experience blindness, loss of your limbs, or disfigurement as a result of medical malpractice. This could also be emotional distress or loss of enjoyment of life. Those are “non-economic” damages.
You can recover $250,000 from each doctor, healthcare provider, or hospital, and a maximum of $500,000 total. And, these amounts are not adjusted for inflation. So even though the cost of living rises, and money loses its purchasing power over time, you can’t recover funds to make up for that difference (many personal injury laws let you do this. Check out wrongful death next).
If this sounds unfair to you, it is a highly controversial law. So you wouldn’t be the only one disagreeing with it.
- Wrongful Death and Survival Claims Have Caps Too: In Texas, each claimant can recover $500,000 for a successful wrongful death or survival claim. But in this case, that amount adjusts over time for inflation.
That $500,000 amount was set in 1977. Today, because of inflation, you can recover approximately $1.8 million for a wrongful death or survival action. If you don’t understand inflation, just know that $500,000 in 1977 buys about the same amount of goods and services as $1.8 million did in 2015.
- And Finally, Punitive Damages Have Limits: If a doctor is particularly outrageous or malicious in their actions, punitive damages can get assessed simply to punish them. The idea is to deter them from acting that way again in the future.
In Texas, the cap for punitive damages is $200,000. Or, you can also recover twice the amount of economic AND non-economic damages, up to a limit of $750,000. You can recover whichever of the two amounts is greater.
- But, Economic Damages are Not Limited: “Economic damages” refer to your cost of past, present, and future medical care, reimbursement of lost income, compensation for lost earning capacity, and any other financial loss directly attributable to the medical professional’s negligence.
Those types of damages are not capped in Texas. You can recover them for the rest of your life, if your injuries affect you that long.
5 Common Types of Texas Medical Malpractice Claims
Do you have a Texas medical malpractice claim? They’re tough to prove. But if any of these happened to you, you likely have a viable case.
Time for a little honest, straight talk here (Bet you wish you got more of that with lawyers, don’t you?). Texas medical malpractice claims are super-tough to prove. Many personal injury lawyers make you answer a barrage of questions to see if they have a good chance of winning your case.
They do that for a couple of reasons:
- The law makes it purposefully difficult to prove medical malpractice to reduce frivolous lawsuits and insurance costs for medical professionals
- It takes a lot more money out of lawyers’ pockets to hire expert witnesses to prove your case, so there’s more risk on their part
While we have a great legal system here in the US, it’s not perfect. So it’s best to know that reality up front. That being said, there are types of medical malpractice cases personal injury lawyers routinely take on because they know they have a high chance of winning them for you.
Here’s some of those kinds of Texas medical malpractice claims:
- Negligent Prenatal Care: Both the child and mother can experience harm if doctors are negligent in this way. And most often, doctors fail to identify a mother’s medical condition, birth defects present in the baby, failing to identify an ectopic pregnancy (one where the baby develops outside the Fallopian tube), and failing to diagnose a disease that the baby could catch.
- Negligence During Childbirth: Usually, the news isn’t good when birth injuries happen. They dramatically affect a child’s life for years, and sometimes their entire lifetime. These birth defects can also cause serious harm to the mother too. Doctors often cause medical errors by failing to anticipate birth complications, failing to respond to signs of fetal distress, failing to order a cesarean section, or incompetent use of a forceps.
- Medication Errors: Doctors make more than 1.5 million medication errors that harm Americans each year. Medication errors usually happen when the incorrect dosage is given. The nurse may give the patient the wrong amount. The doctor could simply write the wrong dosage. Or the equipment that provides the medication malfunctions.
- Misdiagnosis: As of 2015, this may be the leading cause of medical malpractice. Infections, tumors, heart attacks, blood clots in your lungs, and heart disease are the most commonly misdiagnosed conditions. Unfortunately, these conditions are complex and don’t have consistent, straightforward symptoms in every person. So errors are often made.
- Surgical Errors: Here, we’re not talking about amputating the wrong body part (most of the time). Those stories make the headlines, but that’s because they’re sensational. They rarely happen (although they do in some cases). But they definitely qualify as medical malpractice. More commonly, a surgeon damages a nerve, fails to control bleeding, or leaves some sort of medical product in the patient.
If you’re considering filing a Texas medical malpractice claim, contact our lawyers to discuss your potential case now at (214) 747-5240. We have offices in Dallas, Plano, Frisco, and Fort Worth, and offer a reduced 29% contingency fee for cases that settle without the filing of a lawsuit.