Experienced Texas Medical Malpractice Attorney
Medical Malpractice in Texas
Most of us believe our healthcare providers are trustworthy—after all, they perform modern miracles every day, but the medical profession is not perfect. According to a study done by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States, following heart disease and cancer.
Despite the challenges and complexities associated with pursuing a medical malpractice claim in the state of Texas, The Brothers Law Firm has helped many individuals that have been injured through the negligence of a healthcare provider obtain justice in the form of compensation. At The Brothers Law Firm, we believe strongly in protecting your rights and your future.
What Does Medical Malpractice Encompass?
The Texas Medical Board receives as many as 7,000 complaints every year from patients and their families regarding healthcare providers in the state. About one-fourth of these complaints are investigated, with professional discipline being issued to the worst offenders; however, the victims are not compensated for their injuries. Medical negligence generally falls under one of these three categories:
- Failure to diagnose
- Negligent treatment—the doctor made a mistake that a reasonably competent doctor would not have made
- Failure to warn a patient of known risks
Medical Malpractice Statutes of Limitations in Texas
Like all states, Texas has statutes of limitations, which govern the amount of time an injured party has to file a claim against the negligent party. The statute of limitations in Texas for medical malpractice claims is two years from when the negligent act occurred, but there are exceptions. If the injured party is a minor, the statutes of limitations become much more complex, requiring a legal professional to determine whether the statutes have run. If the negligent healthcare provider is a government employee, then the claim must be brought within six months from the time the injury occurred.
If the negligence was not discovered until after the statutes have run, then under certain circumstances, the claim may be filed within a reasonable time following the discovery of the injury caused by negligence. If the healthcare provider treated the injured individual over some time, he or she might be able to claim that the two-year statute of limitations began running at the end of treatment, rather than at the beginning.
An injured party can also “toll” the medical malpractice statutes of limitations by 75 days by sending a notice letter to the negligent healthcare provider within the two years. While two years may seem like a long time, it is vital that you contact an attorney from The Brothers Law Firm as quickly as possible after the injury is discovered.
What Constitutes Medical Malpractice in the State of Texas?
A strong medical malpractice case in the state of Texas must show the following elements:
- There was a doctor-patient relationship between the healthcare provider and the patient, thus invoking a duty of care on the part of the healthcare provider.
- The healthcare provider breached his or her duty of care—that is, the provider failed to act in a way that another similarly trained provider would have done, given the same set of circumstances.
- This breach of duty of care resulted in injury to the patient.
- The patient suffered damages as a result of the injury caused by the negligence of the medical provider.
Is Medical Malpractice a Criminal or Civil Matter?
In general, medical negligence will be a civil matter, tried in a Texas civil court to secure compensation for the victim of the negligence. If a medical provider’s actions were grossly negligent, indifferent to the patient’s health, or incompetent, then criminal charges could be filed. The difference lies in a concept known as mens rea, referring to intent.
In most medical malpractice civil claims, the medical professional may have exhibited negligence and may have failed to live up to the standard of care the patient deserved but did not willfully harm the patient. A criminal case might be filed in a situation where the medical professional was practicing while severely impaired by drugs or alcohol, clearly abused the patient, performed an illegal activity while on the job, or ignored important information that would threaten the patient’s life.
What Damages Can Be Awarded in a Texas Medical Malpractice Claim?
An injured patient or, in the case of a deceased person, their family or estate may be able to recover:
- All medical expenses related to the injury, including hospital costs, physician and surgical costs, doctor visits, rehabilitative therapies, prescription medications, and assistive aids.
- Lost wages, if work is missed as a result of the injury. If the injured patient is unable to ever return to work, then lost future wages could also be part of the compensation.
- Impairment payments if the injuries have resulted in a partial or total disability, leaving the patient unable to participate in prior activities.
- Payment for disfigurement, if the negligence resulted in scars, missing or deformed body parts, or other types of disfigurement.
- Pain and suffering for any physical pain resulting from the negligence and the resulting injury.
- Mental anguish, including depression, distress, anxiety, or PTSD resulting from the injury.
- Loss of consortium encompasses loss of physical intimacy or companionship resulting from the injuries.
- Lost care, maintenance, services, support, advice, and counsel the deceased would have provided his or her surviving family member.
- Lost love, companionship, comfort, and society.
- Lost inheritance, including what the deceased would likely have saved and left to surviving family members if he or she had lived a normal expected lifetime.
Many states have caps on the damages that can be awarded in a medical malpractice claim—Texas is one of those states. Texas places a cap of $250,000 for non-economic damages per plaintiff in cases against a physician or healthcare provider or against a single healthcare institution. An overall cap of $500,00 per plaintiff exists in claims where more than one healthcare institution is involved, with no single institution being liable for more than $250,000 in non-economic damages per plaintiff. These caps can make your Texas medical malpractice claim more complex, making it even more vital that you work closely with John Brothers from The Brothers Law Firm. He can use his experience and resources to secure the compensation you deserve.
How The Brothers Law Firm Can Help Those Injured by Medical Malpractice
If you or a loved one suffered an injury due to a doctor or other medical provider’s negligence, it is crucial that you know The Brothers Law Firm is here for you. We understand what you are going through, and we have one goal—to ensure you receive the settlement you deserve to get your life back on track, along with the medical treatments you need. We only handle medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury claims. This focus, along with our extensive resources, gives you an immediate advantage, and our tenacity against insurance companies, will help you get the justice you deserve. Contact The Brothers Law Firm today!