San Antonio Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Because the legislature has imposed strict limitations on medical malpractice cases, they are really difficult cases to bring on behalf of any injured patient. The attorney of your choosing must be very experienced in this area of law.
Medical malpractice occurs when a patient is harmed by a doctor or hospital who fails to competently perform his or her medical duties.
Whether the fault lies with a physician, a medical treatment facility, or a hospital, if you or a member of your family are injured or killed as a result of substandard or negligent treatment, there may be grounds for legal action. Health care providers can be held accountable for inadequate or improper procedure or diagnosis.
To Prove That Medical Malpractice Occurred, You Must Be Able to Show All Of These Things:
A Doctor-Patient Relationship Existed
You must show that you had a physician-patient relationship with the doctor you are suing — this means you hired the doctor and the doctor agreed to be hired. For example, you can’t sue a doctor you overheard giving advice at a cocktail party. If a doctor began seeing you and treating you, it is easy to prove a physician-patient relationship existed. Questions of whether or not the relationship exists most frequently arise where a consulting physician did not treat you directly.
The Doctor was Negligent
Just because you are unhappy with your treatment or results does not mean the doctor is liable for medical malpractice. The doctor must have been negligent in connection with your diagnosis or treatment. To sue for malpractice, you must be able to show that the doctor caused you harm in a way that a competent doctor, under the same circumstances, would not have. The doctor’s care is not required to be the best possible, but simply “reasonably skillful and careful.” Whether the doctor was reasonably skillful and careful is often at the heart of a medical malpractice claim. The state of Texas requires that the patient present a medical expert to discuss the appropriate medical standard of care and show the defendant deviated from that standard.
The Doctor’s Negligence Caused the Injury
Because many malpractice cases involve patients that were already sick or injured, there is often a question of whether what the doctor did, negligent or not, actually caused the harm. For example, if a patient dies after treatment for lung cancer, and the doctor did do something negligent, it could be hard to prove that the doctor’s negligence caused the death rather than the cancer. The patient, along with the medical malpractice lawyer, must show that it is “more likely than not” that the doctor’s incompetence directly caused the injury. Usually, the patient must have a medical expert testify that the doctor’s negligence caused the injury.
The Injury Led to Specific Damages
Even if it is clear that the doctor performed below the expected standards in his or her field, the patient can’t sue for malpractice if the patient didn’t suffer any harm. Here are examples of the types of harm patients can sue for:
- physical pain
- mental anguish
- additional medical bills, and
- lost work and lost earning capacity.
Unfortunately Tort Reform Legislation has imposed a cap of $250,000.00 on many of the intangible or non-economic damages that result. Certain economic losses are not capped.
Types of medical malpractice
There are many ways in which the careless, negligent, or intentional actions of a healthcare professional (or facility) can cause a person harm. According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States. Approximately 250,000 people are killed each year due to these errors. Some of the most common reasons a medical malpractice case arises include:
- Emergency room malpractice
- Failure to diagnose a condition
- Birth injuries
- Brain damage
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Surgical mistakes
- Medication mistakes
- Anesthesia errors
- Healthcare-acquired infections
Why choose the medical malpractice attorneys at The Law Offices of Pat Maloney?
When you or a loved one are suffering due to the careless or negligent actions of a medical professional, you need to secure an attorney you can trust. The medical malpractice lawyers at the Law Offices of Pat Maloney have been representing clients in this area since 1953.
- We have more than 65 years of combined legal experience in all areas of personal injury law, including medical malpractice.
- We know how personal this matter is for you, which is why you will receive personalized attention from your San Antonio medical malpractice attorney, not a paralegal or an assistant.
- We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you will not pay any out-of-pocket costs and will see no legal fees until we are successful in securing the compensation you deserve.
How will a medical malpractice attorney help your medical malpractice case?
Medical malpractice cases can become incredibly complex. Your San Antonio medical malpractice lawyer will be your advocate throughout this process and will:
- Obtain all evidence related to the medical mistake, including your medical records as well as the records of the negligent medical provider and facility.
- Ensure you are evaluated by a trusted medical professional.
- Secure expert medical witnesses to evaluate your records and to testify on your behalf.
- Negotiate with the defendant, their insurer, and their legal team to secure a settlement on your behalf.
- Prepare your case for trial if that is what it takes to secure the compensation you need.
Who can be held liable in these cases?
One of the hardest parts of a medical malpractice case is proving liability. Above, we discussed the elements that must be present to prove liability, but you may also wonder who can be held responsible for these cases.
Anytime a patient/provider relationship is established, a medical professional has a duty to provide an adequate standard of care. Many people only think that doctors and surgeons can be held liable for mistakes, but that is not the case. Any medical professional can face medical malpractice lawsuits, including:
- Physician’s assistants
- And more
In addition, there are times when the healthcare facility itself can be held liable. This can include hospitals, out-patient facilities, doctor’s offices, clinics, and more. Management and supervisors are responsible for ensuring they follow appropriate hiring practices. They must also respond to and follow up on possible problems with a healthcare professional under their supervision.
Healthcare facilities can also be held liable for not implementing policies that ensure quality patient care, including infection control policies, adequate staffing at all times, etc.
Special Requirements in Medical Malpractice Cases
Texas has special rules and procedures for medical malpractice claims. It is important to know about these rules and follow them carefully.
In Texas, you must bring a medical malpractice claim before two years have expired from negligent conduct of healthcare provider. (The time period in which you must bring the lawsuit is called the “statute of limitations.”) If you don’t file the lawsuit within the specified period of time, the court can dismiss the case.
Your San Antonio personal injury lawyer will work to determine who is liable for your injuries. In some cases, it may be more than one party. If you’d like to learn more about our services, schedule a free consultation or call us at (210) 226-8888 to speak with a representative.