Intent is the primary difference between medical malpractice and medical negligence. However, both actions result in harm or injury to a patient. Therefore, you can recover compensation for both medical malpractice and medical negligence.
It can be challenging to draw the line between medical negligence and medical malpractice. Medical negligence is generally an unintentional, avoidable mistake. Medical negligence is a type of medical malpractice.
However, medical malpractice is an intentionally negligent action by a doctor or medical provider. The medical provider knew they should provide a specific type or level of care, but they failed to do so even though they knew their conduct could harm the patient.
In either case, it is essential to seek legal advice from an experienced Houston medical malpractice lawyer. An attorney will review your case, explain your legal options, and help you seek compensation for the harm caused by medical negligence and medical malpractice.
Proving Medical Malpractice and Medical Negligence Claims
Medical malpractice encompasses a wide range of errors, mistakes, intentional acts, and negligence.
However, to recover compensation for a medical malpractice or medical negligence claim, you must prove the following legal elements:
- You had a doctor-patient relationship with the medical provider
- The doctor-patient relationship created a duty for the doctor to exercise reasonable care
- The doctor breached the duty of care owed to you
- The breach of duty was the direct cause of your injury
- You sustained damages because the doctor breached the duty of care
A medical malpractice claim may be filed against other medical providers. Nurses, medical technicians, hospitals, surgeons, dentists, medical facilities, and other healthcare providers may be guilty of medical malpractice.
What Are Common Causes of Medical Malpractice and Medical Negligence?
Medical errors are a leading cause of death in the United States. Malpractice occurs in doctor’s offices, hospitals, emergency rooms, medical labs, and other healthcare facilities. Doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals generally cause wrongful deaths and injuries due to mistakes and negligence.
Common situations that can lead to a medical malpractice claim include, but are not limited to:
- Failure to obtain informed consent to treat a patient
- Staff miscommunication
- Failure to diagnose a condition, misdiagnosis, and delayed diagnosis
- Labor and delivery errors that cause birth injuries
- Failure to order diagnostic tests and other lab work
- Medication errors and mistakes
- Failing to refer a patient to a specialist
- Providing medical care while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Radiological errors
- Fatigue and drowsiness from working long shifts or overtime
- Surgical errors
- Failing to review a patient’s medical history, chart, and reported symptoms
- Anesthesia errors
It is important to remember that a bad outcome is not evidence of medical malpractice. Doctors and medical professionals cannot control all factors and circumstances. However, if you believe your injuries were caused by medical negligence or malpractice, it is best to seek legal advice as soon as possible from a Houston medical malpractice attorney.
What Compensation Can I Recover for Medical Negligence and Malpractice?
Once you prove the legal elements to hold a medical provider guilty of malpractice, you can recover compensation for your economic damages.
Economic damages include:
- The present and future cost of medical care and treatment
- Present and future loss of income, including diminished earning potential
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Cost of long-term nursing or personal care
Texas does not have a cap on the amount of economic damages you can recover for a medical malpractice claim. Therefore, you may recover compensation to reimburse you for the full extent of your financial losses.
In addition to economic losses, you may also receive compensation for your pain and suffering (non-economic damages).
These damages include:
- Impairments and disabilities
- Pain and suffering caused by physical injuries
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Diminished quality of life
- Scarring and disfigurement
Texas limits the amount of money you can receive for non-economic damages in a medical malpractice case. The cap for non-economic damages in a medical negligence or malpractice claim is $250,000. However, if a claim involves multiple medical providers, the cap is $500,000, but each defendant is limited to no more than $250,000 in liability.
Is There a Deadline for Filing Medical Negligence and Malpractice Claims in Texas?
Typically, patients have two years to file a medical malpractice or medical negligence lawsuit after discovering their injury. However, there is a hard deadline for filing claims of ten years after the date of the negligent act.
If your health care provider injured you, seek immediate medical attention for your injury or condition. Then, talk to a lawyer about your legal options for recovering compensation for medical malpractice and negligence.