When you go to the emergency room, have surgery, see your doctor, take prescribed medication, or go for physical therapy, you expect the care you receive to help and benefit your health. You do not expect to be injured by your medical provider. While a doctor or other medical professional cannot guarantee a positive outcome, the provider has a duty to provide reasonable care that meets or exceeds the industry’s acceptable standard of care.
Unfortunately, thousands of people are injured or killed by medical malpractice each year. Sadly, many of these individuals do not realize they are victims of medical malpractice and do not report the injury. We encourage you to contact our law firm if you have suffered an injury after receiving medical treatment.
Our Houston medical malpractice lawyers provide free case reviews, so you can learn whether you have a medical malpractice claim. Call (713) 668-4545 to speak with an attorney about your case.
How is Medical Malpractice Defined Under Texas Law?
Tragic outcomes occur even when a doctor does everything correctly. Even when a mistake is made, not all mistakes rise to the level of medical malpractice. For medical malpractice to have occurred, the health care provider must have acted negligently while providing patient care. Negligence is usually defined as providing care that does not meet the acceptable standard of care set by the medical community. However, determining the standard of care can be difficult.
There is not a “big book” that provides rules for how a doctor should act in any given situation. You cannot point to a specific law or rule that the doctor broke to prove negligence like you can when you are trying to prove a driver disobeyed a traffic law or the terms of a contract were breached.
Therefore, you look at what a reasonable doctor would do in a similar circumstance or situation to establish the acceptable standard of care. In medical malpractice claims, experts on both sides testify as to what the standard of care is for a specific situation based on what other doctors would do give those circumstances.
Common Ways a Doctor Can Negligently Breach the Acceptable Standard of Care
There are many ways a health care provider can breach the standard of care by failing to do what a prudent and reasonable professional would do in a similar circumstance. Some common reasons for medical malpractice include:
- Errors during surgery or childbirth
- Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
- Lack of informed consent
- Prescribing or dispensing the wrong medication
- Pharmaceutical errors
- Failing to order diagnostic tests
- Misinterpreting test results
- Medical device errors
- Improper treatment
- Failure to warn of known risks
If you are unsure whether your claim is medical malpractice, call us now to speak with a legal professional for a free case review. We want to listen to your story, so we can help you determine your legal options for seeking justice for your pain and suffering.
Elements of a Medical Malpractice Claim in Texas
When proving a doctor was negligent and guilty of medical malpractice, the law requires that you provide evidence to satisfy certain legal elements. The elements in a medical malpractice claim are:
- The doctor owed you a legal duty. To have a valid medical malpractice claim, you must establish that the doctor owed you a legal duty. A legal duty to provide reasonable care is established when there is a doctor-patient relationship. In other words, when a doctor provides medical treatment and you consent to the treatment, a doctor-patient relationship is established. If you read information in an online forum, followed that information, and were injured, this does not establish a doctor-patient relationship. Scheduling an appointment with a doctor or going to the emergency room for treatment usually establishes a doctor-patient relationship. This relationship extends to medical staff treating you under the doctor’s supervision.
- The legal duty was breached. As discussed above, when a health care professional provides substandard care or care that does not meet the standard of care established by the medical community, a breach of duty occurs. Breaches of duty can occur in many ways, including failing to perform diagnostic tests, prescribing the wrong medication, failing to diagnose an illness, and errors during surgery.
- You suffered an injury or harm because of the breach of duty. Proving a breach of duty is not sufficient. You must prove that the breach of duty caused you to be injured or harmed. Otherwise known as causation, you must prove that the negligent actions or inactions committed by the provider were more likely than not the cause your injuries.
- You suffered damages because of the injuries. The final element is to provide evidence that supports your allegation of damages. Damages often include the cost of medical care, loss of income, emotional suffering, and physical injuries and suffering.
Medical malpractice claims can be very complex. It is in your best interest to work with an experienced Houston medical malpractice attorney who can protect your legal rights while fighting to hold the medical provider who caused you harm responsible for his or her negligent wrongdoing.
Call a Houston Medical Malpractice Attorney for More Information
If you believe you or a relative is the victims of medical malpractice, we are here for you. Our attorneys have the skills, resources, and knowledge to handle the complex and difficult issues related to filing a medical malpractice claim.
Contact Weycer Law Firm now by calling (713) 668-4545 or by using the chat feature on our website to obtain more information or to schedule a free consultation with one of our Houston medical malpractice lawyers.