Waco Medical Malpractice Attorneys Answer FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions
If you or someone you love has suffered a serious injury or if you have lost a loved one due to a physician or hospital's negligence, there may be grounds to pursue legal action. Contact the board certified Texas personal injury attorneys at Williams & Brown LLP to discuss your legal rights and options in a free, confidential case consultation. Over our many years of practice, we have helped many patients and families recover damages that they are entitled to receive as a result of negligent medical care.
Call (254) 741-6200 today and speak with a representative about your case and how we may assist you. For more immediate information, review some of the questions and answers below.
A: Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider – a doctor, a hospital, a nurse, etc. - deviates from the recognized “standard of care” in the treatment of a patient. The “standard of care” is defined as what a reasonably prudent medical provider would or would not have done under the same or similar circumstances. If a medical provider violates the standard of care and causes injury to a patient or the death of a patient, the medical provider may be legally responsible for the injury and damages.
A: Some of the more common types of medical malpractice cases include:
- Misdiagnosis cases in which the patient's true medical condition is not correctly diagnosed. Doctors are taught in medical school to perform a “differential diagnosis” of the patient's symptoms in order to make the correct diagnosis and provide the proper medical treatment. Doctors who fail to perform or who incorrectly perform a differential diagnosis can miss a dangerous or potentially deadly condition placing the patient at risk of injury or death. Some of the commonly misdiagnosed diseases or conditions are infections, tumors or masses in the body, heart attack, and blood clots in the lung (pulmonary embolism).
- Delayed diagnosis cases in which the medical provider does not timely identify the true medical condition resulting in a delay of proper medical care. With serious medical conditions, the sooner the treatment the better the outcome. Delays in diagnosis of cancer, infection, internal bleeding, etc. can have deadly consequences.
- Medication error cases which include prescriptions for the wrong medications, giving the wrong dosages of medications, giving medications that are contraindicated, etc.
- Surgical errors in which the surgical technique is improperly performed resulting in injury and damage to parts of the patient's body.
- Mistakes during labor and delivery in which the baby, for various reasons, does not get enough oxygen during this critical transition time and suffers a permanent injury to his brain. Mistakes during labor and delivery with the use the drug, Pitocin, or with the use of forceps or vacuum extractors can also cause trauma to the baby resulting in brain injury.
A: Economic damages are hard costs and expenses that are incurred as a result of the injury or death caused by medical negligence. Economic damages include past medical expenses for medical care that has already occurred, future medical expenses for medical care that will be necessary in the future, lost wages, future lost earning capacity, costs of rehabilitation, etc.
Also included in the category of economic damages are the costs of replacement services, which are the things that the injured person would have done personally, like household services, child care, etc. When a patient is seriously injured and that injury is permanent, there may be needed modifications to the patient's home to accommodate his disability or needed disabled accessible vehicles to transport the patient. Those costs are economic damages.
Non-economic damages are very important categories of damages when there has been a serious physical injury or wrongful death. Non-economic damages include:
- Physical pain that the patient suffers and may continue to suffer in his lifetime.
- Emotional pain and mental anguish that patients suffer as a result of the injury and disability.
- Disfigurement of the patient's body as with paralysis, burns, scarring, contractures, etc.
- Loss of consortium which is the loss of the normal personal and family relationship. For example, the loss of the relationship of a husband, wife, child, or parent.
Punitive damages are not common and are reserved for cases in which the medical provider's conduct was grossly negligent. Punitive damages can be assessed by the jury to punish the medical provider for grossly negligent violations of the standard of care.
A: Medical malpractice cases are complicated cases and may take more time to reach settlement or trial than other types of personal injury cases. Hospitals, doctors and their employees are insured by insurance companies or may be self-insured. These insurance companies and corporations are armed with large legal teams and have essentially unlimited financial resources to fight patient claims.
We have handled many medical malpractice cases spanning many years. We carefully research and investigate each case before agreeing to accept the case. We select a small number of significant cases so that we can devote the time and expense necessary to develop each case. No matter how long it takes, we will see each case through to obtain the best possible result for our clients.
A: Generally speaking, in Texas a patient has two years to file a claim. This time period is known as the statute of limitations. The two year period begins to run on the earliest date of medical negligence.
For birth injury cases involving injuries to the baby during labor and delivery, the baby's claim may be filed after the two year period. However, the parents' claim must be filed within two years. For that reason, we strongly urge any parent who believes they may have a birth injury claim to contact a qualified medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible.
We will provide a free consultation appointment to discuss your potential medical negligence claim.
A: There is no cap on the amount of economic damages that a patient can recover in a medical negligence case. The amount of economic damages recoverable will be determined by the judge or jury based on the law and evidence introduced at trial.
Texas does have an arbitrary cap on the amount of non-economic damages that the victim of medical negligence can recover. Non-economic damages are capped at $250,000 per category of defendant. For example, if a doctor is negligent and injures or kills the patient, the patient or his family is limited to $250,000 in non-economic damages. If both the doctor and the hospital are negligent, non-economic damages are capped at $500,000.
A: We recommend that you speak with a dedicated personal injury attorney with a history of successfully handling medical malpractice cases as soon as possible. We welcome you to review our Past Results listed on the website to see our Track Record of handling medical negligence cases. We are happy to provide you with a free consultation appointment to discuss your potential case.
For more information on medical malpractice claims or to schedule an appointment to review your circumstances, contact the experienced Waco medical malpractice attorneys at Williams & Brown LLP today at (254) 741-6200.
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