DALLAS MEDICAL MALPRACTICE
Q: What is medical malpractice?
A: Medical malpractice means the failure of a health care provider to practice medicine within the accepted standard of medical care expected of reasonable and prudent healthcare providers.
Q: Who can be liable for medical malpractice?
A: Doctors, dentists, technicians, nurses, pharmacists, hospital employees, hospitals, nursing homes, and nursing home employees.
Q: Will my healthcare provider tell me if they made a mistake?
A: Healthcare providers admit mistakes to patients. Even healthcare providers that treat or repair mistakes made by others will not criticize the original treating healthcare providers. Mistakes or malpractice will usually need to be found in the medical records.
Q: How common is medical malpractice?
A: National studies have shown that 90% of malpractice cases are not asserted by patients as claims.
Q: Are all bad medical outcomes considered malpractice?
A: No. To establish medical malpractice, one must show through expert testimony:
- the healthcare provider did not meet the required standard of medical care,
- this failure to meet the standard of medical care was the cause of the injury;
- and the injury resulted in damages.
Q: What should you do if you like you or a loved one has a medical malpractice claim?
A: You should contact an attorney and bring all available medical records. The medical records will be needed to be gathered and sent to a medical expert to determine if there is malpractice.
Q: What types of compensation can I receive for medical malpractice?
A: You can receive compensation for lost wages, medical bills, future medical care, loss of earning capacity damages, pain, mental anguish, disfigurement, and impairment.
Q: Does Texas have a medical malpractice cap that will limit my recovery?
A: Yes. There is a cap on the recovery of non-economic damages, which include damages for pain, mental anguish, impairment, disfigurement, loss of companionship. Depending on the facts of the case, the damages cap can range from $250,000 to $500,000. There is not a cap for economic damages, which includes: medical expenses, future medical care, lost wages, future lost earnings, and funeral expenses.
Q: What are the types of medical malpractice?
A: Medical malpractice can arise from:
- failure to diagnose a condition or disease,
- misdiagnosis of a condition or disease,
- wrong diagnosis,
- delay in medical treatment,
- laboratory testing mistakes,
- prescriptions errors,
- surgical mistakes and failure to recognize and correct surgical mistakes,
- birth injuries,
- anesthesia errors , and
- Unexpected side effects, illnesses, or disabilities after medical treatment may be caused by medical malpractice.
Q: Are all surgical injuries considered malpractice?
A: Not always. Some unexpected surgical outcomes can occur without negligence or malpractice. It is always worthwhile to investigate an unexpected surgical outcome and contact a medical malpractice attorney. Some examples of surgical malpractice may include: surgery on wrong side of the body, leaving of surgical instruments after surgery, injuries to organs and vessels near the surgical site, and failure to recognize post-operative bleeding.
Q: What is a “consent” form and will it waive my right to bring a malpractice case?
A: A “consent” form is a document that explains the risks associated with certain procedures and surgeries. These forms do not excuse a doctor or hospitals malpractice and they still may liable for malpractice.
Q: Is a misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose always considered malpractice?
A: Not always. Some diseases or conditions are difficult to diagnose and may not be diagnosed with a single test.
Q: When does a misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose become malpractice?
A: A misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose may be malpractice if:
- a doctor fails to get an accurate medical history,
- fails to recognize symptoms of a disease or condition,
- fails to order appropriate tests such as blood tests, urine tests, imaging procedures,
- misinterprets test results, or fails to act upon tests results such as medical conditions found in x-rays, MRIs, CT scans, and ultrasound.
Q: Why are attorneys turning down my malpractice case?
A: Malpractice cases take time and money to litigate. Attorneys can expend anywhere from $10,000.00 to over $100,000.00 in case expenses to work on a medical malpractice case. Most attorneys will not handle malpractice cases with small damages such as injuries that heal quickly without extensive medical treatment because the case expenses may exceed amount of recovery on a medical malpractice claim.
Q: If I cannot find an attorney, what else can I do?
A: You can file a complaint with the Texas Board of Medical Examiners at (800)248-4062.
Q: How does a law firm determine if it will accept a medical malpractice case?
A: Law firms will look at: (1) can experts be located to testify a doctor, nurse, or hospital committed malpractice; (2) is the medical malpractice apparent in the records or will it come from disputed testimony; (3) did the patient not follow the doctors recommendations; (4) did the error cause the patients injury; (5) what is the nature of injuries and value of potential damages; and (6) will damage caps affect the patients compensation.
Q: Why are expert witnesses needed in medical malpractice cases?
A: Experts witnesses are needed to educate the jury on the standard of care required by healthcare providers, explain to the jury how or why the healthcare provider deviated from the standard of care, and how this deviation caused the patient be injured and incur damages. Experts may also be needed to explain and quantify the damages caused by the medical malpractice.
Q: If a patient dies from medical malpractice, can a claim still be filed?
A: Yes. Relatives such as children, spouses, and parents can assert a medical malpractice case through a wrongful death and survival claim.
Q: What if a doctor or hospital will not release the records?
A: If a medical provider will not release records, you should contact a medical malpractice attorney. Federal law mandates that medical providers release patients records to the patient, representative, or certain family members.
Q: What is the difference between malpractice and negligence?
A: None. Negligence is used to describe various accidents such as auto accidents, truck accident, work accidents and malpractice is used to describe negligence committed by professionals such as doctors, lawyers, and accountants. In both cases, one must show a person or entity did not act as a reasonable and prudent person or entity.
Q: Should I stop getting medical care if am injured by medical malpractice?
A: You may stop getting medical treatment from the doctor or hospital that you believe committed malpractice but you should continue your medical treatment with new doctors or hospitals.
Q: What should I do if I believe I was injured due to medical malpractice?
A: You should first seek any necessary medical treatment to address your injuries. The type of injury will dictate how quickly treatment is needed, whether you should go to the hospital, whether you should see a specialist. Once your medical condition is stabilized, you should contact a medical malpractice attorney to obtain legal advice on your medical malpractice claim.