Texas Medical Malpractice Attorney
Scope of the Problem
Medical Malpractice is the third highest cause of death in the United States, behind heart disease and cancer. Deaths as a result of serious medical error are estimated to be between 250,000 people a year to as high as 440,000 people a year. The uncertainty as to how much of the annual death rate is driven by medical error is due to the fact that it is currently not required to report medical errors on death certificates.
The medical malpractice issue is therefore systemic and endemic to the point that we can’t even accurately track medical malpractice as it happens. There is effectively no national oversight or trend analysis – the only recourse for a victim or the victim’s family is essentially through retaining legal counsel.
Using the Johns Hopkins study’s estimated death rate of 250,000 people annually, this represents nearly 10% of all deaths due to medical error.
The top five malpractice allegations stem from misdiagnosis (33%), surgical intervention, 23%; general (non-surgical) treatment course, 23%; obstetrics & gynecology, 10%; and medication (including anesthesia), 10%.
40% of doctors acknowledge that errors can be tied to their monthly patient volume.
With obesity on the rise (the majority of Americans are overweight or obese), a large ageing population as the Baby Boomer generation enters their golden years, and a continual shortage of medical care providers, we can only expect a rise in poor outcomes and injuries caused by medical malpractice.
What Constitutes Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice refers generally to medical error by healthcare providers that result in injury to the patient. Any claim must at minimum include the element of negligence on behalf of the provider – an error or failure to act where a reasonable medical professional would have acted differently which is the cause of the patient’s injury.
There are three broad categories under which to bring a claim:
Failure to diagnose – this occurs when a doctor fails to diagnose or misdiagnoses a patient’s condition. This can lead to disastrous consequences for a patient’s recovery, in some cases failing to diagnose a terminal illness, for example cancer and resulting directly in a patient’s death. If a reasonable medical professional would have caught the condition and provided alternate care that would have prevented the outcome, the patient may be able to sue for medical malpractice.
Failure to warn – your doctor must disclose all of the potential side effects or risks for any treatment or procedure. If the patient would have refused the treatment had they known of the risks, and they suffered injury as a result of undisclosed risk, this may result in a claim.
Improper treatment – this occurs in cases where a doctor provides an unreasonable course of treatment or performs a correct treatment improperly, leading to injury as a result. This applies if the medical caregiver mistreats a patient at any point in their care, resulting in negligent medical malpractice.
Are There Limits on Filing Medical Malpractice Lawsuits in Texas?
In Texas, your ability to file a claim for injury due to medical malpractice may be subject to a time limit bar known as the Statute of Limitations. This governs when to “start the clock” for how long a patient has to sue for an injury following malpractice.
A claim for medical malpractice must be filed within two years of the actual incident, or two years following the end of an extended hospitalization which gave rise to the injury. If the afflicted person is a minor under the age of twelve years, they have until their fourteenth birthday to file a claim. If the injury is not discovered immediately after the incident, a patient has ten years from the time of the incident to file a claim – this means that if the injury is not discovered within ten years of the original event, a patient cannot file a claim for malpractice.
Two Years is the Standard Time Limit for Texas Personal Injury Lawsuits
The Texas personal injury statute of limitations is codified in the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code section 16.003, which says that any civil action for “personal injury” must be filed “not later than two years after the day the cause of action accrues” — that means two years from the date of the accident that led to the injury. Bottom line, after another person’s careless or intentional act causes you injury, if you want to ask Texas’s courts for a civil remedy in other words money damages for your injuries, this two-year deadline applies, whether the case is due to negligence or intentional tort (which applies to civil assault and battery and other purposeful conduct).
Pain and Suffering Capped in Texas for Medical Malpractice
Texas imposes a recovery cap for non-economic damages in medical malpractice suits. Non-economic damages include any claims of harm that aren’t measurable, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of companionship, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life. Texas also caps medical bills economic damages to the amount actually paid for or lost by the patient and nothing more.
In Texas, malpractice awards are capped at $250,000 in cases against a single hospital or doctor and $500,000 in cases involving multiple defendants. These Texas’s caps apply only to noneconomic damages. There is a per-claimant $250,000 cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases against a doctor or health care provider. For medical malpractice cases against a single health care institution, there is a per-claimant $250,000 cap on non-economic damages. For cases against multiple health care institutions, there is an overall cap of $500,000 in noneconomic damages for each claimant, and no single institution can be liable for more than $250,000 in noneconomic damages, per claimant.
Texas Does Not Cap Economic Damages
Texas does not cap economic damages, which consist of payment for past and future medical care, reimbursement of lost income, compensation for lost earning capacity, and other financial losses that can be attributed to the malpractice on which the lawsuit is based.
But, it is worth noting that if the economic damages are high, they may not be enough malpractice insurance carried by the health care institution, doctor or health care provider.
Who is Responsible in a Medical Malpractice Claim?
In Texas, the law allows claims against both healthcare institutions and healthcare providers. A healthcare provider includes any person, institution, facility, corporation, or professional association that is licensed or certified to provide healthcare in Texas. This includes physicians, registered nurses, dentists, chiropractors, and healthcare institutions such as hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities.
Injured by Medical Malpractice?
As a Texas medical doctor and Dallas Personal Injury attorney, I am providing this information and commentary. The Dr. Shezad Malik Law Firm focuses on personal injury and wrongful death as a result of medical malpractice and hospital negligence. Dr. Shezad Malik has practiced Cardiology and Internal Medicine in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and now is a medical malpractice trial attorney since 2006. Dr. Shezad Malik is also Board Certified in Internal Medicine and has over 25 years of experience as a licensed medical physician.
We represent the victims and families of medical malpractice and hospital negligence throughout the Dallas–Fort Worth and North Texas areas, medical malpractice lawyer Dr. Shezad Malik, is committed to helping you receive the compensation you and your family deserve.
Experienced Fort Worth-Dallas Medical Negligence Lawyer
Medical malpractice claims are complex and require your attorney to have the financial resources and understanding of medical malpractice claims to provide you with the leverage you need when facing multimillion dollar hospitals and insurance companies.
We can assist you with a wide range of medical negligence claims:
- Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose, including failure to properly diagnose cancer or a heart condition
- Surgical errors, including removal of the incorrect organ, operating on the incorrect site, amputation of the incorrect limb, anesthesia errors, and post-operative mistakes such as leaving a medical devise or other foreign object inside a patient
- Emergency room errors, including failure to properly triage, delays in treatment and failure to properly diagnose the seriousness of a condition
- Medication errors, including failure to administer the proper medication or the proper dosage
- Anesthesiology mistakes
- Nursing negligence, including failure to properly monitor a patient’s condition and medical chart errors
- Birth injuries, including injury from forceps, delivery errors, Erb’s palsy, and cerebral palsy
In 2004, Texas enacted special laws (statutes) regarding medical malpractice lawsuits and wrongful death claims due to medical malpractice, that make the filing and prosecution of medical malpractice lawsuits more difficult. Furthermore, there are now monetary caps for non-economic damages. We now are limited to $250,000 for pain and suffering, no matter how severe the case.
Because of the complex nature of these types of cases, and because of Dr. Malik’s medical knowledge, Dr. Shezad Malik Law Firm is one of the few law firms that continues to actively pursue medical malpractice litigation in Texas.
Dr. Malik personally reviews each and every case in depth during the evaluation period, to determine whether or not a viable claim exists. If we feel that there is a viable case, then the Dr. Shezad Malik Law Firm will actively and aggressively litigate each and every case.
Practice Areas: Medical Malpractice, Texas Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations, Hospital Mistakes, Hospital Negligence, Surgical Injuries, Cancer Misdiagnosis, Birth Injuries, Medication Errors, Wrongful Death, Emergency Room Negligence, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Spinal Cord Injury.
Put a medical doctor-lawyer with experience to work for you if you have been injured by the fault of a physician, hospital employee(s), or other medical personnel or facility. Submit your case now for a free evaluation by the medical doctor-attorney. If you or a member of your family has been injured because of hospital or doctor negligence or error or if a loved one has died because of medical malpractice, you need a lawyer with strong trial experience, exceptional medical malpractice settlement negotiating experience, a knowledge of medical science and technology and a network of experts in medical fields.
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