What is a Medical Malpractice and Do I Have a Case?
The Legal Definition of Medical Malpractice & How to Know if You Have a Valid Case
If you've been injured after receiving medical treatment, you might be wondering what legal options are at your disposal for redressing your injuries. Many victims of a healthcare provider's negligent or reckless conduct obtain relief for their injuries by asserting a medical malpractice lawsuit. Although many lawyers claim expertise in this area of law, recent changes in Texas law, specifically tort reform, and the changes presented by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act necessitate injured patients to retain an attorney that is both experienced in medical malpractice law and can easily apply these new laws to their case. The attorneys at Grossman Law Offices have more than 20 years of experience in successfully representing victims of medical malpractice and pride themselves on knowing how Texas tort reform and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act affect medical malpractice cases.
Medical Malpractice Defined
Medical malpractice is a broad term used to embody a healthcare provider's breach of their duty of care to their patients, and liability occurs when a healthcare professional breaches the duty of care and causes injuries as a result. The requirements of proving a successful medical malpractice case are discussed in detail below, but as a general matter, are often difficult to prove and require expert testimony regarding the cause and extent of your injuries. Thus, if you suspect you're a victim of medical malpractice, you need an experienced Dallas medical malpractice lawyer on your side to interpret your expert's report to the jury and discredit the testimony of the healthcare provider's expert.
Healthcare Providers Have a Duty to Provide Competent Medical Care
Proving that a healthcare provider owed you a duty while you received medical care is usually very simple, as the requisite duty of care required in tort law is automatically created when you and a healthcare professional enter into a relationship for the purpose of obtaining and administering medical treatment. Healthcare professionals generally owe their patients a duty to act as a reasonable professional with his experience and education. However, you should note that a healthcare specialist, such as a surgeon or oncologist, usually owe their patients a heightened duty of care to provide their patients medical services in a manner that ordinary specialist in the profession would.
Healthcare Providers Breach Their Duty of Care When They Don't Act as a Reasonable Professional Should
To prove that a healthcare professional breached the above duty of care, an injured patient will have to prove that they didn't act in compliance with the reasonable professional standard discussed above. This usually requires testimony from an expert, who will conduct tests and investigations to determine how the healthcare professional committed malpractice. You should note that the healthcare provider will also usually retain an expert of their own for the purpose of proving that the healthcare professional didn't commit malpractice. Thus, the process can quickly become complicated and often turns into a battle testimony between the experts. Retaining an experienced medical malpractice attorney is often beneficial when this happens, as he knows how to present the expert's analysis most case favorably to a court, knows how to retain the best experts on your behalf, and knows how to discredit the testimony and credentials of the other side's expert.
The Healthcare Provider's Actions Must Have Caused Your Injuries For You to Recover in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
Simply put, if the healthcare's actions or inaction didn't actually cause your injuries, you won't have a valid medical malpractice claim. For example, if you suffered injuries from an infection that resulted after a surgeon operated on you without sterilizing his instruments, proving the causation element might be relatively easy. Unfortunately, most cases are not this clear, such as a delayed diagnosis of 10 days that you have a terminal disease, where the delay in diagnosis did not change that the disease was terminal or prescribe a different method of treatment.
To Recover in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit, You Must Have Suffered Physical or Emotional Damages
Finally, to recover monetary damages in a medical malpractice case, a patient must prove that they suffered monetary damages as a result of the healthcare professional's misconduct. Such damages could include lost wages, earning capacity, medical bills, and emotional distress. Although economic damages are somewhat easy to prove, you will likely need expert testimony to quantify your emotional damages.
Damages Available in a Successful Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
A successful claimant in a medical malpractice case may recover compensatory damages, or economic and non-economic damages, for his case. Economic damages include lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, and cost of current and future medical treatment. Non-economic damages include those associated with mental anguish, as well as injuries that can't be quantified like loss of an appendage, sight, or sound.
Non-compensatory damages may be available in Texas if the healthcare professional's reckless or intentional actions caused your injuries. Under Texas tort reform laws, recovery for non-compensatory damages (special and punitive damages) have been capped at $250,000 for all of your injuries, regardless of how many people are at fault for causing them.
If you've been injured as the result of the negligent or reckless actions or inactions of a doctor, nurse, or other medical professionals, you deserve to be compensated for your injuries. However, hospitals and medical malpractice insurers often employ a large legal team for the sole reason of defeating claims like yours. If you suspect that you've been injured due to a healthcare professional's malpractice, you need a smart and experienced medical malpractice attorney like those at Grossman Law Offices on your side. Our attorneys are available any time, day or night, to provide a free consultation regarding your injuries at 1-855-326-0000.
Below is a Sample of Our Recent Successful Verdicts & Settlements