We trust that our medical professionals are careful in their decisions to treat us for various medical conditions. We also trust that these medical professionals use the most up-to-date methods for procedures and treatment, and that they carefully monitor us for signs of illness.
However, thousands of individuals are injured or even die every year due to medical malpractice. In fact, medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States, behind only heart disease and cancer. If you believe that you have been injured by a medical error, or that a loved one has died because of a medical error, you should speak with an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your claim.
Proving Medical Malpractice in Texas
To prevail in a medical malpractice claim in Texas, certain elements must be proven. If the claimant cannot provide evidence of each element, the claim fails—and the claimant likely will not be entitled to any compensation.
The injured claimant must show:
- The medical professional owed the patient a duty;
- The duty was breached when the medical professional violated the standard of care; and
- Due to this breach, the patient suffered damages.
A notice of the medical malpractice claim must also be filed by the patient before an actual lawsuit may be filed in Texas. In addition, an expert report must be filed. In the expert report, a qualified expert must explain the applicable standards of care in the relevant medical field, how those standards were not met, and how such a failure caused injury to the patient.
Generally, medical malpractice claims must be filed within two years of the date the injury was or should have been discovered. This two-year period may go by quickly, as it takes a significant amount of time to compile medical records and consult with experts. Therefore, it is necessary to meet with an attorney as soon as possible after suffering harm due to a medical error.
Who Are the Possible Defendants in a Medical Malpractice Claim?
Medical malpractice claims are not reserved exclusively for physicians, though many such claims are certainly filed against doctors. Medical malpractice claims may be filed against a number of medical professionals, including:
- Physical therapists
- Medical offices
- Physician’s assistants
- Nurse practitioners
Essentially, any medical professional who negligently or recklessly injures a patient may be liable for the patient’s injuries. The facilities in which these patients were treated may also be responsible.
Damages in a Texas Medical Malpractice Claim
No two medical malpractice claims are the same; therefore, the damages available in a medical malpractice claim vary from case to case. However, damages may include:
- Medical expenses that stem from the medical professional’s negligence (for example, additional surgeries or physical therapy)
- Lost wages
- Loss of employment benefits
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- The cost of altering a home (installing hand rails, for example) to accommodate an injury or disability
Texas does have a non-economic damages cap, however. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other harm that does not have a firm number associated with it (unlike medical bills). The cap on these damages is $250,000 for one claimant against one individual or entity and if multiple parties are involved, the cap is $500,000.
There is no cap on economic damages, such as medical expenses and lost wages.
Are Texas Medical Malpractice Claims Hard to Prove?
Medical malpractice claims are quite challenging—many attorneys refuse to take medical malpractice claims because they are complex and expensive.
Medical malpractice claims require an advanced understanding of illnesses and injuries and how these illnesses and injuries occur. Linking these conditions to Texas medical malpractice laws requires experience and training.
Therefore, medical malpractice claims are difficult in many ways, but with the assistance of a skilled Texas medical malpractice attorney, injured patients are more likely to be compensated for their injuries.
Call Brooker Law, PLLC Today to Discuss Your Medical Malpractice Case
The medical malpractice attorneys at Brooker Law, PLLC have assisted clients with claims against many different medical professionals and medical facilities. To schedule a free consultation with our excellent legal team, contact or call (214) 217-0277 today.