Three Common Causes for Medical Malpractice Claims
The vast majority of people in the United States have a high level of trust in medical professionals. When we go to a hospital, we expect doctors to do what’s best for us. Unfortunately, medical doctors make mistakes more often than they should. While not all medical errors constitute medical malpractice, many of them do. Specifically, there are three common causes of medical malpractice claims.
At Jose Orihuela, Attorney at Law, I help injured patients and their families bring medical malpractice claims and pursue the compensation to which they are entitled. With offices in Houston and Webster, my law firm provides reliable legal guidance to clients throughout the state, including Pasadena, South Houston, League City, Santa Fe, Alvin, Kemah, Clear Lake, Dickinson, Friendswood, Seabrook, and Bacliff.
Understanding Medical Malpractice
Texas law defines medical malpractice as treatment, lack of treatment, or another deviation from accepted standards of care that leads to a patient’s injury or death. Every state imposes a time limit for bringing medical malpractice claims. In Texas, patients can pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit within two years of the date the negligent act or omission occurred.
Common Causes for Medical Malpractice Claims
Here are the three most common causes of medical malpractice claims:
Diagnosis errors. The most common types of diagnosis errors are misdiagnosis and failure to diagnose. Misdiagnosis occurs when a patient is diagnosed with a condition they do not have. Failure to diagnose occurs when doctors fail to determine the nature of a patient’s medical condition.
Failure to properly treat. Failure to properly treat, which is commonly referred to as improper treatment, occurs when a medical professional provides treatment while deviating from standards that are accepted by the medical community.
Surgical errors. A surgical error occurs when a patient suffers injury or harm as a result of a negligent mistake made during the surgery. However, patients cannot sue medical professionals for injuries or complications that arise from surgery if there was a known risk or the harm could not have been avoided through reasonable efforts.
A study by Johns Hopkins revealed that an estimated over 250,000 Americans die every year due to medical errors. Diagnosis errors, improper treatment, and surgical errors account for a large percentage of those medical errors that kill thousands of patients annually.
Who Can Be Sued for Medical Malpractice?
When determining who can be sued for medical malpractice, the doctor who made the negligent error is usually the first party on the list of potential defendants in your medical malpractice case. Any medical professional could be sued for medical malpractice if they deviated from accepted standards of care.
In addition to the negligent medical professional, you may also be able to file a lawsuit against the hospital or the agency that employed the professional you are suing. A medical professional’s employer may be held accountable under the theory of vicarious liability.
Elements of a Claim
Filing a medical malpractice claim is not enough to recover damages. You must also establish certain elements of your claim in order to hold the negligent medical professional and/or hospital liable:
A doctor-patient relationship existed (there was a duty of care);
The defendant (medical professional and/or hospital) was negligent due to the failure to adhere to the accepted standards of care;
The negligence led to injury or death; and
The patient suffered damages as a result.
If you suspect that you may have legal grounds to file a medical malpractice claim, speak with a skilled attorney to start working on your case and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Work With an Experienced Attorney
As a medical malpractice attorney, I offer reliable, accessible, and compassionate guidance to clients who need legal help. Whether you are someone who has been harmed or lost a loved one due to medical malpractice, I can help you strive to hold negligent medical providers accountable and obtain the compensation you need to move on with your life. Reach out to one of my offices in Houston or Webster and tell me your story.