Medical malpractice is when a medical professional or entity takes negligent actions that cause harm. Medical malpractice can include several different types of personal injury. You might have experienced medical malpractice when a doctor harmed you directly or indirectly, such as through a failure to diagnose your condition. A personal injury lawyer can help determine this.
An Allen, Texas medical malpractice lawyer from Underwood Law Office can help you pursue compensation for the harm you suffered. Contact the team at Underwood Law Office at (972) 535-6377 for a free consultation about your medical malpractice case.
What Medical Malpractice Is
Medical malpractice is a legal subset of personal injury cases. Personal injury is physical harm suffered because of someone else. However, not all injury that occurs in a health care setting is a medical malpractice case.
In Texas, the medical provider must have been negligent for their actions to qualify as medical malpractice. Medical negligence occurs when someone fails to perform a reasonable standard of medical care.
Some examples of medical malpractice include the following:
- Misdiagnoses or failure to diagnose
- Ignoring or misreading tests and results
- Unnecessary surgery and surgical errors
- Wrong medication or dosage
- Premature discharge or poor follow-up care
- Failure to recognize or address symptoms
- Failure to obtain patients’ medical history
Medical malpractice can occur in an emergency room, a primary care physician practice, a nursing home, and many other health care locations. It can occur at the hands of a single medical professional, the collective actions of an entire staff, or due to poor management of a facility.
The above list is only a few illustrations of medical malpractice. Before pursuing a lawsuit, you will need to find out who the liable party is.
Liable Parties in a Medical Malpractice Case
Doctors are common defendants in medical malpractice lawsuits. In fact, many medical professionals have insurance coverage to protect them if and when they are responsible for paying financial damages in a medical malpractice case.
The facility where you or your loved one received medical care might also be the responsible party in your medical malpractice case. Hospitals and other health care institutions have the duty to maintain a clean and safe environment. If the organization’s negligence caused you harm, it can be legally responsible for compensating you for your losses.
For example, a hospital may be guilty of medical malpractice if it failed to test blood used in infusions and infected patients with diseases or illnesses. Health care facilities can also become breeding grounds for germs and bacteria if management and staff members do not adhere to standard hygienic practices.
Like medical professionals, facilities and organizations have insurance coverage to shield themselves from paying lawsuit costs out of pocket. In most cases, your medical malpractice case will begin with a claim through the defendant’s insurance company before you and your lawyer consider filing a lawsuit and going to court.
Evidence Used in Medical Malpractice Cases
For your case, your attorney may need to prove that there was a standard of care violation, the defendant caused the harm, and the injury resulted in significant damages. A strong case will have proof of these three points. Types of evidence in a medical malpractice case may include:
- Photos and videos
- Medical records
- Professional testimony
- Witness statements
- Other documents, like death certificates
Your attorney can review and investigate your claim to determine who is liable for your damages and which evidence may be most beneficial for your case. To find out more in a free case review with our medical malpractice team, call at Underwood Law Office at (972) 535-6377.
Damages in a Medical Malpractice Case
Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §74.251 states that you typically have two years to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. This may allow you to recover both non-economic and economic damages.
Non-economic damages are losses that do not have a set price associated. For example, pain and suffering is non-economic damage. Other non-economic damages may include:
- Disability, for permanent limitations to your body
- The mental agony and distress of dealing with a prolonged injury due to medical malpractice
- The loss of enjoyment of life from no longer being able to participate in your favorite activities
An Allen medical malpractice lawyer from Underwood Law Office can estimate the value of your non-economic losses. Per Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §74.301, there is a limit of $250,000 for non-economic damages in a medical malpractice case. There is no such limit, however, on economic damages.
Economic damages—losses that have a dollar amount—are typically easier to prove than non-economic losses. Your economic losses can include medical bills, costs for medical treatments, and expenses for continual treatment and care. Other economic damages can include the following:
- Passed lost wages from missing work
- Future lost earnings from not being able to return to your profession
- Past or future lost income because of the death of a family member
Pursuing Financial Awards from Medical Malpractice
Most medical malpractice claims first go through the defendant’s insurance company. With typical insurance policies, the coverage provider may agree to pay a negotiated sum out of court. This financial award is also called a settlement, and accepting it usually requires you to release the responsible party of any further liability for your damages.
Defendants in a medical malpractice lawsuit may be willing to settle a case because medical professionals and facilities may not want their name and reputation damaged by a public lawsuit. Insurance companies may prefer a settlement to reduce the expense of legal costs. However, if the responsible party does not make you a fair offer to settle your case, Underwood Law Office will help you take your case to trial.
How the Underwood Law Office Can Help You
Seeking compensation for a medical malpractice claim can be difficult if you are unfamiliar with your rights and Texas law. An Allen, Texas medical malpractice lawyer from Underwood Law Office can review your case and fight on your behalf for the compensation you need to recover.
Contact us at (972) 535-6377 to speak to one of our team members about getting reimbursement for your losses from medical malpractice.