WHAT IS A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CLAIM?
A medical malpractice claim is a claim of negligence committed by a professional health care provider — such as a doctor, nurse, dentist, technician, hospital or hospital worker — whose treatment of a patient departs from a standard of care met by those with similar training and experience, resulting in harm to a patient or patients.
CAN I FILE A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CLAIM JUST BECAUSE I AM DISSATISFIED WITH MY RESULTS?
In general, there are no guarantees of medical results, and unexpected or unsuccessful results do not necessarily mean negligence occurred. To succeed in a medical malpractice case, a plaintiff has to show an injury or damages that resulted from the doctor’s deviation from the standard of care applicable to the procedure.
HOW DO I START MY MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CLAIM?
You should talk to a lawyer who specializes in such cases, as soon as possible. Tell the attorney exactly what happened, from your first visit to the doctor or other health care provider, through your last contact with him or her. If possible, obtain your medical records and bring them to your first meeting with the attorney. There are time limits governing how long someone may wait to bring a medical malpractice claim, so time is of the essence.
WILL MY CASE BE SETTLED IN A SETTLEMENT OR A JURY TRIAL?
It depends on a number of factors including how much the defendant’s insurance company is willing to offer as a “deal,” and how much you are willing to settle for. If you choose an attorney with a strong track record of medical malpractice trial successes, insurance companies may be more inclined to offer a higher payout. If an agreement can’t be reached, it’s likely the case will proceed to trial.
HOW DOES A JURY DETERMINE IF A DOCTOR’S ACTIONS WERE NEGLIGENT?
A jury will consider the testimony of experts, usually other doctors, who will testify whether they believe your physician’s actions followed standard medical practices, or fell below the accepted standard of care.
CAN I FILE A MALPRACTICE SUIT AGAINST SOMEONE WHO ISN’T A DOCTOR?
Anyone who provides healthcare services may be named as a defendant. You can file a case against any medical professional, not just a doctor or surgeon.
IF MY INSURANCE COMPANY COVERS PART OF MY COSTS, WILL THAT AFFECT THE AMOUNT OF THE AWARD I GET IF I WIN?
Under the collateral source rule, courts are not allowed to reduce an award for damages because you have been partially compensated by a nonparty to the case.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO RESOLVE MY CASE?
Because each case is different, the amount of time it takes to resolve a medical malpractice case will vary. A free consultation with Roxell Richards and Associates can give us a better idea of the depth of your case.
HOW MUCH CAN I BE COMPENSATED IN MY MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CASE?
If a medical malpractice lawsuit goes in your favor, you will be entitled to damages. Damages are monetary awards to compensate you for your injuries. These damages can take many forms including economic damages, which reimburse you for medical bills and lost wages due to missed days at work. They can also be non-economic damages, which include payment for pain and suffering. In some instances, there can even be punitive damages, which are meant to punish a healthcare professional who commits malpractice out of maliciousness. According to Texas malpractice law, there are caps that limit the amount of damages a plaintiff (the injured patient filing the lawsuit) can try to get from the defendant (the medical provider being sued). Texas places a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages for all doctors and other individual healthcare providers. There is also a $250,000 non-economic damages cap placed on each hospital. In total, for all hospitals and other institutions, there is a $500,000 non-economic damages cap. This means that if you file suit against a doctor, the most you can try to claim for non-economic damages is $250,000, while the most you can claim from any one hospital is $250,000 as well.