You went to the doctor to get better. However, due to medical negligence, you left in worse health than when you arrived. If this describes your situation, you are not alone. According to a 2017 Institute for Healthcare Improvement study, one in five Americans reports experiencing a medical error.
At the Hartley Law Firm, our dedicated team of Plano medical malpractice lawyers helps patients and their families hold negligent medical providers accountable. With our help, you can effectively pursue a claim for compensation in hopes of securing the financial damages you need and deserve, given everything you’ve been through.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is the term used to describe professional negligence committed by healthcare providers. While many medical malpractice lawsuits are filed against doctors, these claims are not limited to holding doctors accountable. Nurses, pharmacists, physical therapists, home health care aides and nursing home employees can all be liable for medical malpractice.
Of course, not every adverse health outcome serves as the basis for a medical malpractice claim. To successfully bring a medical negligence case, a patient must prove the following elements:
- A doctor/patient relationship existed;
- The doctor provided care that fell below the generally accepted standard;
- The doctor’s inadequate care resulted in the patient’s injuries; and
- The patient suffered damages.
While it may seem that issues of medical negligence are cut and dried, that is rarely the case. Medical malpractice claims are often hotly contested, both by the healthcare professional and their insurance provider.
Types of Medical Errors
Legally speaking, a medical error occurs whenever the care rendered by a healthcare provider falls below the generally accepted standard of care. This standard is fluid in that it changes based on the location, experience, training, and specialty of the doctor. Below are a few of the most common examples of medical errors:
- Failure to diagnose;
- Surgical error;
- Medication mix-up;
- Preventable infection; and
- Misreading medical tests.
Of course, these are just a few examples; there are many more. If you believe you suffered injuries as a result of medical negligence, the Hartley Law Firm can help you understand your rights.
Medical Malpractice Filing Requirements
Given that there are so many medical errors, courts tend to get flooded with these claims. Thus, lawmakers enacted strict procedural requirements patients must follow.
Statute of Limitations
Any Plano medical malpractice lawsuit must be filed within two years of the date of treatment or the from when the provider stopped treating you. Failure to file a medical malpractice case within this two-year time period will almost certainly result in the court dismissing your claim. However, children under 12 have until their 14th birthday to file a claim.
Before you can file a medical negligence claim, you must comply with the pre-suit requirements of C.P.R. § 74.051. More specifically, this statute requires that patients provide written notice to all defendants 60 days before filing a claim. You must also include a release of protected health information so the defendant practitioners can review your medical records. While forgetting to file this notice before filing your case will not preclude you from serving the notice and then filing the claim again, such a mistake may mean you miss the statute of limitations.
Retaining an expert witness is not required in every medical malpractice case. However, if your claim presents issues that require specialized knowledge to understand, you will need an expert witness. Texas has very strict laws about who can serve as an expert witness in medical malpractice cases, so it is best to consult with an experienced attorney prior to selecting an expert.
Damages in Medical Malpractice Cases
Patients who successfully bring a medical malpractice claim can recover for their economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include those things such as medical expenses, lost wages, and a decrease in earning capacity. Non-economic damages are intended to compensate you for the emotional and psychological effects that the event had on your life. For example, non-economic damages commonly include compensation for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of familial relationships. However, Texas limits the amount of non-economic damages. Generally, this limit is equal to $250,000 per provider, up to $500,000 in cases involving multiple providers.
Are You Suffering in the Wake of a Medical Error? Contact Our Plano Medical Malpractice Attorneys
If you believe that you are the victim of medical malpractice, reach out to the Plano medical malpractice lawyers at the Hartley Law Firm to schedule a free consultation. At the Hartley Law Firm, we proudly represent patients and their families in all types of medical negligence cases. As a lifelong Texas resident, Attorney Austin Hartley understands the priorities of his fellow Texans and how to effectively advocate on their behalf. To learn more and to schedule a free consultation. You can also connect with us through our online contact form.