Adorned with whitecoats and modern equipment, healthcare providers project skill and competence. Moreover, modern medicine has extended the human lifespan and made the impossible possible. However, no profession is perfect.
In 1999 the Institute of Medicine estimated that 98,000 people died in hospitals each year because of medical errors. By 2016, a John Hopkins study estimated that medical error deaths had risen to 250,000 people a year.
The 2016 study was so shocking that John Hopkins Medicine sent a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention begging it to change how it collects health statistics. According to John Hopkins, medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the United States.
Further complicating matters is Texas tort reform. In 2003, Texas passed a bill that tilts lawsuits in favor of healthcare providers. The law in Texas is so favorable to healthcare providers that doctors relocate to the metroplex to benefit from tort reform.
However, Carrollton medical malpractice attorneys can navigate the harsh Texas laws and help you get compensation for medical negligence. The Hartley Law Firm compassionately represents injured clients and has successfully obtained many favorable verdicts.
Medical Negligence Defined
A healthcare provider (doctor, nurse, surgeon, dentist) can commit medical malpractice if their failure to provide a standard degree of care results in a medical error that causes an injury. Generally, the law requires a healthcare provider to perform a degree of care similar to what another healthcare provider in a similar position and with similar training would have performed.
Moreover, Texas law requires healthcare providers to disclose—in writing—the risks and hazards associated with any medical procedure the healthcare provider recommends.
When Does a Healthcare Provider Commit Medical Negligence?
According to the National Center for Biotechnology (NCBI), medical negligence has recurring themes. These themes revolve around poor professional judgment and failure to diagnose. Furthermore, medical negligence can occur when a healthcare provider fails to:
- See the patient (excessive reliance on nurses or assistants),
- Quickly respond to medical emergencies,
- Adhere to a treatment plan,
- Respond to a misdiagnosis,
- Order necessary tests,
- Give the proper medications,
- Properly dose medications,
- Provide necessary aftercare,
- Direct care among other providers, or
- Monitor vital signs.
The NCBI attributes medical errors to lack of patient care, poor communication, inadequate skills, and deviation from protocols. Common medical errors include:
- Adverse drug interactions,
- Injury from falls,
- Catheter infections,
- Blood infections,
- Surgical site infections,
- Blood clots, and
- Ventilator-associated pneumonia.
Nonetheless, a negligent medical error does not mean you necessarily have a medical malpractice case. To recover compensation for a medical error, you must have suffered an injury.
When Does a Medical Error Cause an Injury?
Generally, the two elements of medical malpractice in Texas are liability and damages. If a healthcare provider fails to provide a standard degree of care, they may be liable to you.
Damages refer to economic and non-economic injuries caused to you by a negligent healthcare provider. Damages can include:
- Medical costs (future and past),
- Lost wages,
- Pain and suffering, and
- Loss of quality of life.
To collect damages, you must have proof. Therefore, it is essential to keep track of names, dates, and times. Furthermore, when speaking with healthcare providers, you should take notes. Also, if possible, you should take pictures of injuries caused by healthcare providers.
Are There Limits to Damages?
Yes. Unfortunately, when Texas passed tort reform, it capped damages. The law limits non-economic damages to $250,000 per healthcare facility. However, if there are two or more facilities involved, you may be able to collect $500,000. The law limits non-economic damages against providers to $250,000—regardless of how many health care workers were involved. Nevertheless, there is no cap on economic damages.
Is There a Time Limit to File a Claim?
Yes. Texas has one of the shortest time limits for medical malpractice claims. Texas law requires you to file your claim within two years of the occurrence of the medical error or your completion of treatment. However, if two years have passed, you should consult with an attorney, as there may still be ways to file a claim.
Why Do You Need to Hire Carrollton Medical Malpractice Attorneys?
Medical malpractice claims in Texas are complex. The law requires an expert witness and places a time limit on when the expert can file a report. Therefore, time is of the essence.
Our experienced lawyers also handle other types of cases, including:
- Injury Cases
- Auto Collision
- Trucking Accident
- Motorbike Accident
- Work Site Accidents
- Wrongful Death Claim
- Sexual Violence
- Nursing Home Negligence
However, experienced Carrollton medical malpractice lawyers can guide you through the complex Texas medical malpractice laws and help you determine whether you have a claim. The Hartley Law Firm prides itself on being accessible to its clients. We handle every aspect of your claim and fight to hold the other side accountable so you can focus on getting better. Contact today or use our online form to schedule a free consultation.