While most medical professionals do their best to provide patients with appropriate care, sometimes they make mistakes or lapses in judgment. Other times, doctors or nurses lack the talent, knowledge, or skill to provide competent care. In either case, the innocent patient pays the price.
If you believe a medical professional provided you with poor treatment that had a negative impact on your health, speak with a seasoned personal injury attorney immediately. A McAllen medical malpractice lawyer could review your case and determine whether you have a viable legal claim against the healthcare provider.
Defining Medical Malpractice
Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 74.001(7) defines medical malpractice as a situation where a medical practitioner deviates from standard medical practice. The patient must suffer an injury or death resulting from substandard care to have a viable medical malpractice case.
It could be challenging for a patient to know whether their care was not as good as most other medical professionals in the area might have provided. Some common allegations in medical malpractice lawsuits include complaints that the medical professional failed to:
- Order necessary tests
- Refer a patient to a specialist
- Provide reasonable follow-up
- Prescribe the right drug in the right dose
- Diagnose cancer or another serious illness
- Fully disclose the risks and benefits of treatment
- Perform a surgical procedure as agreed (the surgeon operated on the wrong body part)
Many other failures could constitute medical malpractice. An experienced McAllen medical malpractice attorney could evaluate a specific situation to determine whether a patient might have a legal case against a medical professional.
A patient who intends to sue a healthcare provider for medical malpractice must also file an expert report with the claim. The report must say that after reviewing the patient’s records, there is cause to believe the healthcare professional failed to meet the standard of care in ways that the report must specify. A licensed medical professional practicing the same specialty as the person the patient is suing must sign the report.
Strict Timeframes Apply to Medical Malpractice Claims
Laws called statutes of limitation describe the timeframe for bringing various types of lawsuits. An adult seeking damages for medical malpractice must file a lawsuit within two years of the act that causes the injury. When the patient is hospitalized or under continuous treatment, the two-year countdown begins on the date of release from the hospital or last treatment.
When a child under 12 suffers an injury or death from a medical error, they have until their 14th birthday to file a lawsuit. A person under 18 has no legal right to bring a lawsuit, so a parent or guardian must act on their behalf.
Sometimes a patient does not discover a misdiagnosis or other error until more than two years have passed. In cases of delayed discovery, the patient could bring a lawsuit two years after they discovered, or should have discovered, the medical error. However, if the last date of treatment was more than ten years ago, the patient has no right to sue.
Limits on Damages in Medical Malpractice Actions
Texas has implemented several measures to protect physicians and other healthcare providers from excessive jury awards. One such measure is a limitation on the damages a patient could collect, even if the healthcare professional is 100 percent responsible for a patient’s condition. A knowledgeable medical negligence lawyer in McAllen could explain how the limitations on damages might impact a specific patient’s case.
Economic damages are the expenses a patient must bear because of their injury, like additional medical bills and lost time at work. Texas law allows a patient to collect compensation for such losses, but they must prove them, and a jury cannot award more than the patient proves.
Courts award non-economic damages to compensate for physical pain, disability, disfigurement, mental anguish, and the other subjective impacts of medical malpractice. A patient can collect no more than $250,000 in non-economic damages from each medical professional and no more than $500,000 if they sue more than one provider for a single incident.
Trust a McAllen Medical Malpractice Attorney to Pursue Your Claim
When a doctor or other healthcare provider you trust does not provide appropriate care, the law provides you with a remedy. You could hold them financially responsible for the harm you suffer.
A McAllen medical malpractice lawyer has the experience and skills necessary to present a winning claim. Contact us as soon as you realize you were a victim of medical negligence.