Everyone makes mistakes but medical professionals are understandably held to higher standards of care than most.
Medical errors or negligence can severely affect a person’s life or even result in death. Indeed, surprisingly for many, medical mistakes are a major cause of death in Texas.
Medical malpractice cases can result from a variety of causes but usually involve some form of negligence from a healthcare professional during treatment (or due to a lack of treatment) of a patient in their care.
Such cases are complex and the burden of proof is high in Texas. Litigation is not to be attempted without the assistance of an experienced medical malpractice lawyer.
Ryan DeHoyos can represent victims of malpractice or their families, holding the negligent party or parties responsible and obtaining justice in the form of the maximum compensation possible.
When patients enter medical facilities, there is a reasonable expectation that the people checking, diagnosing and treating them are competent professionals. In some cases, they are literally placing their lives in the professional’s hands.
So, if the duty of care is breached in such a way that results in an injury or damage to one’s health, due to the professional’s negligence, it is understandable to want to seek justice.
Careless errors among nurses, doctors, surgeons, and other medical professionals are so common in Houston that they represent a leading cause of death. In fact, across the country, death by medical error or accident is the leading cause of death from accidents — even exceeding accidents on the roads.
Yet many cases go unreported, uninvestigated, and unknown. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that when a person dies from a medical error, the cause of death is listed as the physical reason for death rather than “medical error”.
Medical professionals and their employers are extremely reluctant to admit errors or negligence, so these matters can be challenging to bring to court and secure justice for. That’s why you need an experienced medical malpractice attorney on your side.
If a patient has a life-threatening disease where the symptoms are missed (despite visits to a medical professional) and an accurate diagnosis is not made, it may be too late to prevent serious consequences or even death.
As part of a doctor’s duty of care to patients, symptoms should be carefully noted, tests conducted, and the applicable treatment offered. A lack of thoroughness in diagnosis can lead to an accusation of medical negligence.
Sometimes, the communication between a group of medical professionals breaks down and leads to a medical error. This especially applies to patients who receive an extended period of care and are seen by multiple professionals throughout their treatment.
Careful note-taking and the passing on of information is a basic requirement of medical teams and failure to demonstrate this can lead to claims of negligence.
Doctors prescribing medicines should be aware of potential side effects, contraindications, and harmful interactions with existing medicines, and advise patients accordingly. Failure to do so can have serious ramifications for a patient’s condition.
This duty of care extends to pharmacists fulfilling prescriptions accurately using the right medications and advising the right dosages for customers.
Is there a time limit to file a medical malpractice claim in Houston?
The statute of limitations for filing a medical injury lawsuit in Houston is two years from the date of the error or negligent incident.
In cases where no precise date is known, the time limit is based on two years from the date of the end of treatment or hospitalization.
As a general rule, it’s best to start the claims process as soon as possible after speaking with an attorney and confirming that you have a valid medical malpractice case. Your attorney will need to start the investigation process and it will take time to gather the necessary evidence to litigate the case.
What do you need to prove in a medical malpractice lawsuit?
In a medical malpractice lawsuit, you must be able to prove four distinct elements:
A medical professional or facility violated the standard of care
You suffered an injury
Your injury resulted directly from the negligence of the medical professional/facility
The injury resulted in significant damages
Should you file a medical malpractice claim for minor injuries?
Under Texas law, there are caps on compensation amounts and medical malpractice cases are challenging and expensive to litigate. They generally require expert review and testimony from medical professionals, which gets expensive, as well as many hours of deposition.
This makes small claims impractical and inadvisable. In fact, you will struggle to find a lawyer to work on such a case on a contingency basis (no win no fee) as the potential costs may outweigh what you would receive in damages.
What are the compensation caps for medical malpractice cases in Texas?
Since 2003, caps have been placed on the total amount of “non-economic” damages that plaintiffs can receive in medical malpractice cases in Texas.
Non-economic damages are paid for physical pain and suffering, mental pain, emotional anguish, loss of consortium, disfigurement, physical impairment, loss of companionship and society, inconvenience, loss of enjoyment of life, injury to reputation, and so on.
The caps for such damages are:
A maximum of $250,000 total from all health care providers involved
A maximum of $500,000 for all healthcare facilities involved
So, the absolute maximum of non-economic damages is $750,000.
Additionally, you can receive “economic” damages that cover medical costs, lost wages and, in rare cases, punitive damages that punish a healthcare professional who has committed malpractice with malicious intent.
Your best chance of claiming the maximum possible compensation for medical malpractice cases in the Houston area is with the assistance of an experienced personal injury lawyer like Ryan DeHoyos. Contact us today for a free consultation to evaluate your case.
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DeHoyos Law Firm, PLLCDeHoyos LawDeHoyos Law Firm, PLLC is a Personal Injury law firm in Houston, TX. We have helped countless accident and injury victims obtain the fair compensation they deserve across Texas.