When a doctor makes a mistake, the results can be catastrophic, or even deadly. Anyone who tries to sue a medical professional must contend with a large insurance company and their high-priced lawyers. But you do not have to wage this battle alone.
Call in the Strong Arm. An Odessa medical malpractice lawyer at Loncar Lyon Jenkins will fight vigorously on your behalf for every dollar you deserve. Contact our office so an Odessa medical malpractice lawyer can start on your case right away.
Medical Malpractice Takes Many Forms
What is medical malpractice? A study shared by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) notes that the definition of this term has changed through the years.
As of 2011, medical malpractice cases are those where a doctor fails to do what “a minimally competent physician in the same field would do in the same situation, with the same resources.” In other words, if a doctor behaves in a manner that even the least skilled of their colleagues would find unacceptable, they have committed malpractice.
As the study cited above also points out, it is important to remember that a bad medical outcome does not necessarily mean there was malpractice. Doctors are human, and medicine is an ever-evolving science. A doctor can do their job properly and still leave a patient with lasting damage. That does not invalidate your suffering or make it any easier to deal with, but it is not medical malpractice.
Common Types of Medical Malpractice
Any medical professional or institution may be responsible for malpractice, such as a:
- Hospital: Hospitals must provide their medical professionals with proper protocols. They must provide each patient with the care that is compliant with medical standards.
- Physician: A physician may be liable in both a hospital and a clinic setting. Doctors must provide each patient with safe and effective care. It can be dangerous if a doctor cuts corners or fails to provide quality care to each patient.
- Nursing home: Nursing home residents rely on the staff to provide them with quality care. A common sign of nursing home neglect is bedsores. There are several other types of nursing home abuse such as physical abuse, emotional abuse, and financial abuse.
- Pharmacist: Administering the wrong dose of medication could cause serious illness or even death. The wrong medication could also cause profound consequences. There could be drug interactions with another medication the patient is taking that can cause severe illness or death.
Other places where medical negligence can occur include medical clinic rehabilitation centers or with home health care providers.
Examples of medical malpractice include:
- Improper administration of drugs: This includes not properly administering or prescribing medications. The wrong drug or dosage being prescribed to a patient can cause severe illness or even death. A pharmacist can be held responsible if they misread the prescription and fill the wrong dosage or drug.
- Surgical errors: A medical professional can make a surgical error including operating on the wrong body part, operating on the wrong patient, unsanitary conditions causing infection, leaving surgical instruments inside of the body, and failing to provide appropriate care post-surgery.
- Incorrect diagnosis: The failure to diagnose a condition or a misdiagnosis can cause serious harm. This could lead to immobility, severe illness, or even death.
- Incorrect or insufficient treatment: There can be severe consequences to providing the incorrect treatment, including if doctor do not provide any treatment to patients who need it.
- Anesthesia administration error: If the patient is not given enough anesthesia, they can wake up during surgery or feel the pain of the procedure. If they are given too much anesthesia, it can cause severe consequences.
The effects of malpractice can be serious, life-threatening, or fatal. Malpractice may result in birth defects, internal injuries, disability, scarring, overdose, and death.
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Proving Negligence in a Medical Malpractice Claim
To recover compensation, you must prove the medical professional or organization was negligent. There are 4 key elements of negligence, they include:
- Duty of care: The first step of a negligence claim is to determine if the medical professional or entity owed the plaintiff a legal duty of care. Doctors must provide their patients with a competent standard of medical care.
- Breach of duty: If the medical professional or entity breached the standard level of care they owed to the patient, and it caused an injury, this could be a breach of duty. A breach of duty can be purposeful, accidental, or done with malicious intent.
- Causation: It must be proven the actions of the medical professional or entity caused the patient’s injuries.
- Damages: The patient must have acquired damages because of their injuries. Recoverable damages are an amount of money the court requires someone to pay to someone else for causing their injuries. Monetary compensation can be awarded to the patient for medical costs and other damages they incurred.
If you believe you can prove a medical professional or entity caused your injury because of negligence, it could be beneficial to pursue a legal claim. You may have had to be out of work or have high medical bills. If so, an attorney from our firm can help you recover compensation for your losses and move forward with your life. Medical professionals should be held accountable if they have acted negligently.
Per Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §74.251, you generally have two years from the date of the malpractice to file a lawsuit. If you do file a suit within this deadline, you may be entitled to recover economic damages and/or non-economic damages.
Defining Economic Damages
If you lost or spent any money because of malpractice, you could qualify for economic damages. These may include:
- Lost wages or benefits: If you were forced to take unpaid leave to recover from your injuries
- Lost earning capacity: If your injuries will prevent you from earning as much as you were expected to earn before the malpractice
- Medical expenses: If you needed or will always need professional medical care to manage your injuries
Defining Non-Economic Damages
You would not be suing for medical malpractice if you did not have a physical injury. But non-economic damages can also compensate you for the emotional distress you suffered due to the malpractice or your injuries. For example, you may be able to sue for:
- Pain and suffering: If your injuries caused any physical pain or mental anguish
- Diminished quality of life: If your injuries have cost you the ability to live alone or engage in activities that previously caused you no trouble
- Loss of companionship: If you lost a loved one to medical malpractice and must figure out how to live without them
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Getting the Compensation That You Deserve
To win a medical malpractice case, you need to demonstrate that, in addition to your doctor failing to provide the quality of medical care they were legally obligated to provide, their failure caused you serious financial, physical, and emotional damage.
Loncar Lyon Jenkins may be able to help you prove your case and recover the maximum amount of compensation. Here is a quick look at how we work:
- Assess your case for free: The first step is always to determine if you have a viable case. We will do this for you in one quick, free phone call.
- Identify liable parties and collect evidence: Before you can sue, you must know who the legally responsible parties are. We can gather documentary evidence and expert witness testimony to figure out what happened and who is liable.
- File forms: We can take care of all legal paperwork, including notifying the liable parties that you are suing them.
- Handle communication: This includes communicating with the liable party, their attorney, and their insurance company. But it also includes communicating with you. You can call us at any time with questions, and if you are unable to travel to one of our offices, we will come to you.
- Negotiate a settlement: We are not afraid to meet with the liable party’s insurance company and fight hard for the settlement you need and deserve.
- Take your case to court: insurance companies will not always offer what you are entitled. If that happens to you, we are ready and willing to represent you in a trial.
Contact Us Today For a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one has suffered the consequences of medical malpractice, call in the Strong Arm. Loncar Lyon Jenkins has been helping personal injury victims since 1988. An Odessa medical malpractice lawyer from our team can fight relentlessly on your behalf, giving the peace of mind you need to concentrate on your recovery.
To know for sure whether you have a medical malpractice case, contact Loncar Lyon Jenkins. A member of our team will evaluate your case free of charge. If we believe you do have a case, we would be happy to discuss your options with you. Your Odessa medical malpractice lawyer works for a contingency fee, meaning that you do not have to pay us anything unless and until we get money for you.