When pursuing a medical malpractice case in Texas, the victim must provide evidence to show that the doctor, another medical professional, or the medical care facility acted negligently and caused injuries or financial losses. The facts they must prove are known as the four elements of medical malpractice. According to Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, the four elements of medical malpractice include:
- The accused owed a professional duty to the victim
- A breach of that duty occurred
- This breach caused an injury
- The victim incurred damages as a result of the breach
Understanding the Four Elements of Your Medical Malpractice Case
By gathering evidence of your injuries and linking them to a negligent medical professional, we will work to help you demonstrate that the following four elements exist in your case.
The Accused Owed a Professional Duty to the Victim
When a patient sees a doctor or another medical professional, the doctor owes a professional duty to that patient to:
- Provide an acceptable standard of care
- Not deviate from the protections and protocols their training calls for them to follow
- Not act in a careless or reckless way that could cause harm
A doctor-patient relationship is generally assumed in medical malpractice cases because it is easily established if the patient ever saw that doctor. This could include a general practitioner, a family doctor, a specialist in a clinic, or an attending physician in an emergency department, in addition to many other scenarios.
A Breach of Duty Occurred
Of the four elements of medical malpractice, the only one that may not be apparent from a quick look at the victim’s medical records is that a breach of duty occurred. This is because one must first know what an acceptable standard of care would look like, and there are many factors that play into this.
For this reason, most states require support from a medical expert to prove this element. You will need to work with a medical professional who understands the standard of care near you and can testify to what a doctor with your doctor’s training and experience should have done. This expert will:
- Examine your relevant medical records and related documents
- Analyze your symptoms and injuries to determine what happened
- Sign an affidavit or testify under oath that they believe a breach of duty occurred
Without strong evidence that a breach of duty occurred, you will not be able to prove medical negligence or recover compensation in your case.
This Breach Caused an Injury
Medical malpractice can cause injuries in several ways. Your medical records will need to reflect that you:
- Were hurt because of the care you received
- Your illness worsened because of your doctor’s actions
- You suffered preventable complications because of something the doctor did or did not do
The Victim Incurred Damages as a Result
Before you can recover compensation for your injuries, you will need to document your economic and non-economic losses. These are both recoverable damages in a medical malpractice case. If you cannot show that the malpractice caused you or your family to suffer injuries, preventable pain and suffering, or financial losses, you will not be able to move forward with a claim.
Building a Medical Malpractice Claim in Texas
Texas has complex laws about how a malpractice victim must approach demanding a payout based on their injuries. This includes a specific timeline for taking action, a process you must follow, and how you must prove medical negligence occurred. These rules are outlined under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §74.
Your attorney can help you build a case, including working with medical experts. They will also help you put a price on your damages and seek a fair settlement based on that estimate. Under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §74.301, there are some limits that could apply to your non-economic damages.
Additionally, there is a two-year statute of limitations that applies to filing a medical malpractice lawsuit per Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §74.251. There are exceptions to this rule for birth injuries and some other circumstances. We can ensure your case complies with these and other rules and deadlines.
Why You Should Turn to a Medical Malpractice Attorney
Because of the complexity involved in proving medical malpractice and the reliance on medical expert witnesses, you may not want to try to navigate the process on your own unless you are familiar with these laws.
At Underwood Law Office, our team will review your possible medical malpractice case for free. We provide complimentary assessments that uncover the strength of your case and help you understand your next steps in holding the doctor or hospital accountable.
Speak with a Team Member from Underwood Law Office Today
Reach out to our team today by calling (972) 316-4236. We are a contingency-fee firm, and all consultations are free and confidential.