Medical malpractice is most commonly associated with some type of medical professional performing some medical act incorrectly or with negligence. However, medical malpractice can include a number of areas, such as failure to diagnose an illness or injury correctly, failure to treat an injury or infection correctly, mistakes made while prescribing or filling medical prescriptions, cerebral palsy due to a medical practitioner’s mistake, pulmonary embolism due to a medical personnel’s mistake, birth injuries that resulted from a doctor’s negligence or mistake, and/or errors that were caused by plastic surgery or dental mistakes.
If you have been injured due to the negligence or error of a medical practitioner or health care provider, it is important to consult with an experienced Houston personal injury attorney immediately. Most medical malpractice cases in Texas have a statute of limitations (SOL) of two years from the date of injury. This means if you do not file a lawsuit for your injuries within this period, any lawsuit for damages may be barred under Texas law.
Houston Medical Malpractice Lawyer
The injuries a person can suffer after a mistake by a medical professional can be debilitating. If you’ve been the victim of medical negligence, it is important that you act quickly. A Houston medical malpractice lawyer from Ben Bronston & Associates can assist you in obtaining recovery for your injuries.
Call 713-CALL-BEN or (713) 225-5236 to set up a free and confidential consultation today. Ben Bronston & Associates represents people throughout the Gulf Coast region.
Houston Medical Malpractice Information Center
- Medical Malpractice Claims in the Gulf Coast Region
- Examples of Harris County Medical Providers and Institutions
- Elements to a Houston Medical Malpractice Claim
- Medical Malpractice Damages in Texas
- Resources for Houston Medical Malpractice Issues
Medical Malpractice Claims in the Gulf Coast Region
Medical malpractice claims in Houston are most commonly brought as a result of injuries sustained from the negligence of a medical practitioner, health care provider or a medical institution. Negligence for medical malpractice purposes is defined under Texas law as departing from the generally accepted standard of medical or health care. This type of claims is usually brought due to the recklessness or carelessness of a medical provider or medical institution.
Informed consent may also be a basis for a medical malpractice lawsuit in Texas. If a doctor fails to provide their client with all of the potential benefits, risks, negative repercussions and alternative procedures or forms of treatment to a medical procedure, i.e. informed consent, and the client has sustained some damage as a result of this failure, the client may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
A lawsuit for medical malpractice must be brought within two years of the date of injury or the claim may be barred, which means the injured party will not be able to recover damages from the person who caused the injury. However, according to the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 74.251, an individual who is under the age of 12 at the time of their injury has until their 14th birthday to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
In situations where the plaintiff was unable to discover their injury until a much later date, Texas law provides for an absolute SOL of 10 years from the date of the act or omission giving rise to the claim. This gives individuals who are unaware of their injuries the opportunity to file a lawsuit for damages they may have sustained.
Examples of Harris County Medical Providers and Institutions
According to Chapter 74 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, an individual that has a health care liability claim can file a lawsuit if a health care provider or physician departed from the accepted standards of medical or health care when providing treatment, failure to provide treatment, or any other deviation from accepted medical standards. A health care provider is defined in Texas as:
- A dentist,
- A registered nurse (RN),
- A chiropractor,
- A podiatrist,
- A pharmacist,
- A doctor,
- An optometrist, or
- A health care institution.
Texas law defines a health care institution as:
- A hospice,
- A hospital system,
- An emergency medical services provider,
- An ambulatory surgical center,
- An assisted living facility,
- A hospital,
- A home and community support services agency,
- A nursing home,
- An end stage renal disease facility,
- An intermediate care facility for the mentally disabled, or
- A health services district.
Elements to a Houston Medical Malpractice Claim
According to section 74.051 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, an individual (or their attorney) who believes they were injured while under the care of a medical provider must provide each health care provider and physician a written letter at least 60 days before the filing of a lawsuit notifying them of the potential claim and lawsuit. The injured party should also send this notice to all hospitals or medical institutions involved in the suit. If the notice is provided correctly, the SOL on the claim will be extended for up to an additional 75 days.
Additionally, it is important to provide all relevant medical records to your attorney, as they are typically necessary in a medical malpractice lawsuit. The injured party is entitled to receive from any other party in the lawsuit all complete and unaltered copies of their records within 45 days of submitting a written request for the record.
It is best to hire an attorney who will provide notice to all parties and file all required forms and pleadings on your behalf. Once all medical providers named in the lawsuit have been informed of the pending action against them, they will do everything to dispute the allegations. Therefore, it is important to hire an attorney to ensure all necessary steps in your case are preserved and no errors are made that could possibly cause your lawsuit to be dismissed.
If you need additional medical care due to another person’s malpractice, it is important to receive this care, even if you do not have insurance, Medicaid, Medicare or another form of payment. If you sustain additional injury as a result of your failure to receive medical care, you may be required to pay for this coverage on your own since you failed to seek additional medical care. Also, your attorney may be able to assist in getting the medical care you need under a letter of protection, or LOP. This is a letter from the attorney that promises to pay the medical provider from any settlement or judgment awarded in your lawsuit.
Medical Malpractice Damages in Texas
In a medical malpractice action, a plaintiff (the person suing) in Texas may be awarded an amount of economic damages limited only by the amount that can be proved. Economic damages are the tangible costs of negligence; damages for which you can provide a bill or a paycheck to prove. These can include hospital bills, rehabilitation costs, lost wages, lost ability to work and more.
However, in 2003, the Texas legislature made the decision to reduce the amount of awards for noneconomic damages in medical malpractice claims. Unfortunately for almost all plaintiffs, claimants or the injured parties, this amount was reduced to a maximum of $250,000 for each claimant and $250,000 for each medical institution that was negligent, but not more than a total of $500,000. These are claims for damages for pain and suffering, mental anguish and other damages that are very real but are less tangible.
For wrongful death in a malpractice case, the statutory limit for damages under Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code, Section 74.303(a) is $500,000.
It is also important to know that in a medical malpractice claim in Texas, the injured party’s damages cannot be reduced because they were already compensated or paid from another party, such as an insurance company. This is known as the Collateral Source Rule in Texas.
Resources for Houston Medical Malpractice Issues
American Association for Justice Report on Preventable Medical Errors: The AAJ, an organization devoted to promoting a fair and effective justice system, issued this report on the prevalence of medical errors.
The Medical Malpractice Myth (Excerpt): Tom Baker, a law professor at the University of Connecticut, wrote this book criticizing laws like Texas’ that limit the compensation medical malpractice victims can receive.
Texas Advocates for Patient Safety: This nonprofit organization seeks to advocate for laws in Texas that hold doctors and hospitals responsible for preventable errors.
Finding the Best Medical Malpractice Attorney in Harris County
The negligence of doctors and nurses can cost its victims, not just in pain and suffering, but also in hospital bills and rehabilitative therapy to return to as close as possible as they can to their previous state and in lost wages and lost ability to work.
A Houston medical malpractice lawyer can fight for your if you’ve been the victim of preventable errors by medical professionals in Harris County. Call 713-CALL-BEN or (713) 225-5236 today to set up a free and confidential consultation.