Houston Medical Malpractice Lawyer
- Medical malpractice is the failure of a healthcare professional to uphold an accepted standard of practice.
- Medical malpractice may lead to unnecessary pain, serious injury, and even death.
- Medical malpractice can have a devastating impact on patients and their families.
- Medical malpractice is legally actionable under Texas state law.
Have You Been Injured As a Result of Medical Error?
IF SO, YOU NEED A TOUGH AND EXPERIENCED HOUSTON MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAWYER ON YOUR SIDE
If you’ve been wronged by a medical professional or facility, you need a Houston medical malpractice lawyer with compassion, experience, and the grit to win you the full compensation you deserve.
Doctors and nurses hold a position of authority and trust in our society. After all, we turn to them in our most vulnerable moments — when we or a loved one is sick or injured — and put our very lives in their hands. So it can be shocking when we are hurt as a result of their negligence. What’s even more shocking is how often medical professionals make mistakes. A Johns Hopkins study suggests that every year more than 250,000 people in the United States die due to medical error.
While being the victim of negligence or error can shake our faith in the medical establishment, we still rely on these professionals to keep us healthy and to fix us when we’re sick. And the vast majority of the time we are in good hands. But when we’re not, there is legal recourse: a medical malpractice case.
The Houston medical malpractice attorneys at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law are experienced in fighting against the medical establishment and winning justice for their clients. To schedule a free consultation, call us at (713) 973-8888 or toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000.
How Do I Know Whether I Have a Valid Medical Malpractice Case?
In order to have a valid medical malpractice claim, you must be able to prove a few things.
- You must have a documented patient-practitioner relationship with the medical professional in question. If you were casually chit-chatting with your neighbor, who happens to be a doctor, over your backyard fence and then got hurt following her comments, that is not considered a patient-doctor relationship and you have no basis for a lawsuit.
- You must show that the doctor was negligent. Keep in mind that just because you were unhappy with the physician’s treatment or it did not achieve the desired results, this does not mean the practitioner was negligent. Doctors are obliged to be only “reasonably skillful and careful.” In order to be negligent, a physician must have deviated from a certain medical standard of care and caused you harm that would have been avoided with a competent doctor.
- You must prove that you or your loved one was hurt due to the doctor’s negligence. This can be surprisingly tricky to prove, as people who are victims in medical malpractice suits tend to be sick to begin with. It must be demonstrated that the doctor’s incompetent or negligent actions — and not the underlying illness — caused the patient’s injury or death.
- You must prove that the doctor’s negligent performance lead to real, quantifiable damages, such as pain (mental and/or physical), additional medical bills, lost work and earning capability.
How Much Will My Settlement Be Worth?
How much you will be able to win in a medical malpractice settlement or lawsuit varies greatly on your particular case. In Texas, you may ask to be compensated for both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are more easily quantifiable losses, such as medical bills related to the incident, including expected future medical expenses, and lost wages and earning capacity. Texas law does not put a cap on how much a victim may receive in economic damages.
Non-economic damages are for losses that are no less real, but that don’t have such a clear-cut dollar figure attached to them. A few examples include pain and suffering, stress, and loss of quality of life. In Texas, there is a $250,000 limit on how much you may win from each health care provider for these types of harm. If you go after multiple defendants (for example, a doctor and a hospital) you may win a maximum of $500,000 for non-economic damages, but no more than $250,000 from any one practitioner or institution.
Medical malpractice attorney Terry Bryant will help you win you the full settlement you deserve. Call (713) 973-8888 or toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000.
How Long Does a Medical Malpractice Case Take?
A medical malpractice case can be resolved in a matter of months or it can drag on for years. It depends on whether the parties settle relatively quickly or the case ends up going to court. The vast majority of cases are settled outside of the courtroom, which is generally preferred by everyone as it keeps legal fees relatively low, eliminates uncertainty of outcome, and is less time consuming than a trial.
How Does the Legal Process Work?
If we decide to take on your case, here is a general idea of what you can expect over the coming months.
- We will have to request medical records, bills, and any other relevant documentation from your health care providers and thoroughly review them to determine what, if any, negligence took place on the part of a medical professional and/or institution.
- If we conclude that you have a valid claim, we will find a qualified expert witness, generally another doctor, to review the records and issue an opinion explaining how your provider did not meet the necessary standard of care.
- We will file the lawsuit.
- Discovery will take place. This is the process during which the attorneys exchange documents, send questionnaires called interrogatories, and take depositions of involved parties and witnesses.
- Negotiations begin. The attorneys will attempt to reach an out-of-court settlement, with or without a mediator.
- If the two sides just can’t come to an agreement, the case will be scheduled for trial. Of course, this doesn’t mean it will ever come to a verdict; the sides can still settle at any time.
What Does a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Cost?
At Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, we believe that all medical malpractice victims, regardless of financial situation, deserve justice. To that end, we offer free initial consultations. We also have a No Fee Guarantee®, which means that you will owe us nothing unless and until you win your suit and collect damages. We look forward to learning about your case and helping you get the ball rolling. Call our Houston office at (713) 973-8888 or toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000, or get in touch online.
How A Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Houston Will Help
At Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, we have years of experience successfully holding doctors and other medical providers accountable for their negligence — and winning money for our clients.
THE SKILLS, RESOURCES, AND EXPERIENCE THAT SET OUR MEDICAL MALPRACTICE ATTORNEYS APART
- We can handle malpractice claims related to a variety of medical errors.
- We combine a deep knowledge of the law, years of experience in negotiation and litigation, a compassionate approach to our clients, and the tenacity to go up against large medical institutions — and win.
- We patiently guide you through every step of the claims process, even if it means going to court.
- We answer your questions and address your concerns thoughtfully and thoroughly, so you have the information you need to feel confident you’re getting the quality legal representation you deserve.
- Due to the state’s statute of limitations, waiting to get help with your claim may put your rights to compensation at risk—so don’t delay. Our legal team is available 24/7.
WE CONDUCT RIGOROUS RESEARCH AND METICULOUSLY BUILD YOUR CASE
Medical malpractice claims are often complex and can sometimes be difficult to prove. There are many factors that must be considered in these cases, such as:
- Did the medical provider meet the duty of care? All licensed doctors and healthcare professionals are employed to protect and treat patients with illnesses or injuries. They are responsible for providing your medical care to the best of their abilities at all times.
- Was there a breach of duty? If your doctor or hospital fails to provide you with the level of medical care and attention that’s required by the Texas Medical Board, it may be considered a breach of duty.
- Did the breach of duty lead to an injury? A breach of duty by a healthcare professional may cause you to suffer severe injuries or illness.
- Can the injury or illness be directly linked to the breach of duty? If your illness or injury can be directly linked to a breach of duty, you may have a case for medical malpractice.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU SUSPECT YOU ARE THE VICTIM OF NEGLIGENCE?
If you believe that you or your family member has been hurt because of a medical provider’s negligence or incompetence, contact the medical malpractice lawyers in Houston at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury law right away. You will tell us exactly what happened. Share every possible detail before and after you believe the negligence occurred. Include events surrounding any doctor visits regarding your treatment. You should also note all prescriptions and any other facts that may have led any doctor or nurse to recommend and/or prescribe certain medications; and share your recollection of any other events which may have contributed to the malpractice.
HOW TO COPE WITH THE FALLOUT OF MEDICAL MALPRACTICE INJURIES
When you go into the hospital or visit a doctor, you expect them to make you better, not worse. If you’ve been subjected to a medical error, not only are you in worse shape than you were before, but you may have even more medical bills, be unable to work, and require future doctor visits and procedures to “fix” the incompetent provider’s mistakes.
The potential of living with unanticipated life events, such as suffering from medical malpractice, can take a toll on the victim’s emotional state, as well as that of their family and friends. At times it can feel overwhelming because of the additional stress of more doctor visits, possible surgical corrections, financial distress, and the sometimes “snail’s pace” progression of a civil malpractice claim and/or possible lawsuit.
Reach out to those who can help you strengthen your coping skills. Allow others to “do for you,” including your attorney who has plenty of good suggestions on how to take the “edge” off this experience as you work your way toward a positive conclusion to your malpractice case.
THE IMPORTANCE OF FILING A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CLAIM
When a patient suffers serious injuries because of medical error, they might encounter several problems. They may be in a great deal of pain and suffering. They might require extensive medical treatment. A patient might also lose the ability to earn an income and encounter financial difficulties because of a doctor’s mistakes.
Medical malpractice claims are a way for an injured patient to seek compensation for the harm they have suffered. They also ensure that a negligent doctor is held accountable, potentially sparing another patient from a similar type of error in the future. These claims can be difficult, and it is vital to hire an experienced Houston medical malpractice attorney who knows how to build a successful claim. Call Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law to speak with an attorney about your case. Initial consultations are free, and we are happy to answer any questions you might have.
What is Medical Malpractice?
We’ve all had experiences with doctors we don’t like and treatments that don’t work. These are not in themselves indicative of malpractice or negligence. In order for a situation to fit the legal definition of medical malpractice, a patient must be injured due to the failure of a health care provider to practice medicine within certain acceptable professional standards expected of a reasonable, prudent healthcare provider. All healthcare professionals are governed by this legal standard of care and may be sued for malpractice when they violate it.
Who Can Be Liable for Medical Malpractice?
The actions of doctors, dentists, technicians, nurses, pharmacists, hospital employees, hospitals themselves, as well as nursing homes and their employees can be held liable for medical malpractice. In some cases, more than one party (for example, a physician and affiliated hospital) may be held liable.
Statute of Limitations
In Texas, anyone injured by medical malpractice (or negligence) generally has two years to bring a civil lawsuit. ***ALWAYS SPEAK DIRECTLY TO AN ATTORNEY REGARDING THE EXACT DEADLINES THAT APPLY TO YOUR POTENTIAL CLAIMS.*** The two-year clock usually begins on the date the injury was – or could reasonably have been – discovered, which in some cases is not necessarily the same day the patient was injured. If the medical error occurred during a period of continuous medical treatment, the two-year statute of limitations “clock” starts on the last day of treatment, unless the injury could have been discovered sooner.
COMMON EXAMPLES OF MEDICAL MALPRACTICE By a Doctor, Surgeon, Nurse, or Hospital Can Include:
- Birth injuries – Birth injuries can occur before, during, or immediately following the birthing process. These injuries can lead to permanent, debilitating conditions that significantly impact a person’s quality of life.
- Delayed or ineffective treatments – Doctors and nurses are trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of serious injuries. Once they see the potential for a health complication or medical condition, they must act quickly to provide adequate tests and treatments for patients.
- Misdiagnosis – One of the most common forms of medical malpractice is misdiagnosis. Misdiagnosis can lead to expensive, unnecessary, and potentially harmful tests and treatments that worsen a patient’s condition or create new health problems.
- Prescription drug errors – Prescription drug errors can happen at any point in the drug distribution chain, from manufacturing to filling of a prescription. Adverse drug reactions are one of the most common forms of medical-related injuries.
- Surgical errors – Thousands of surgical errors occur every year in the United States. They include wrong side and wrong procedure errors and leaving objects inside the bodies of patients.
Why Doctors Make Mistakes
There are several reasons why medical professionals make mistakes. Practicing medicine is a tough job that may include long, grueling hours and seeing large numbers of patients. Because of the demands of their jobs, healthcare professionals are often fatigued, and many experience burnout. This makes some doctors and nurses prone to error, and those errors can sometimes have a severe impact on a patient.
In some cases, medical errors are the result of miscommunication. A communication breakdown can occur between two doctors, between different departments within a hospital, or between two different facilities providing care to the same patient. For example, a doctor’s diagnosis might be misread by another doctor, a patient’s records can be misinterpreted or lost, or a doctor’s prescription can be wrongly filled by a pharmacist.
FINDING THE RIGHT LAWYER TO HELP WITH A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAWSUIT
Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is a complex legal action, which requires finding an attorney, a physician, and working with other people involved in the case. In some cases, patients must try to find their way through the murky waters of the civil law during a time of suffering. This is not easy, but the rewards for a successful medical malpractice lawsuit can be significant. Here are the steps people will go through when bringing forth the charge of medical negligence.
Step 1: Select a qualified attorney
Because of the aspects of the case, there will likely be many technical details involved, and these cases should be handled only by attorneys who specialize in this area. When considering a medical malpractice lawyer, patients should look for:
- Extensive experience in these types of cases
- Referrals from previous clients or colleagues
- Professional certifications.
Almost every city has attorneys that advertise in the area, and there are usually several listed in the phone book. People can consult that resource, as well as the internet, to find an appropriate attorney. The best recommendation, however, will come from a trusted attorney you may already know. Even a civic trial lawyer should be able to refer you to someone who is qualified to handle a medical malpractice lawsuit. Or, you may have a family member or close friend that can recommend a medical malpractice lawyer based on their personal experience with the attorney and their firm.
Step 2: Establish the Legal Elements
Every case of this type has four rudimentary elements:
In most cases, establishing negligence and causation are the most difficult aspects of the case. The legal representative must use evidence and expert testimony to prove that someone failed to provide the appropriate care, and that failure to provide adequate care directly resulted in an injury. It can be extremely challenging to show negligence and causation, though.
Step 3: Obtain an Export Report (or Certificate of Merit)
In order to restrict the number of cases that go before a state’s court system, most states require anyone who files this type of suit to first obtain an expert report or certificate of merit. Patients receive this certificate from a licensed physician who certifies that the case might include medical negligence. Usually patients go to the doctor their attorney recommends for this report (or certificate).
Step 4: File the Suit and Notify Those Involved
The attorney will go through the formal steps to file the medical malpractice lawsuit, and he or she will make sure the defendants are notified. At this point in time, the doctor’s insurance company will have time to prepare a defense against the impending suit.
Step 5: Receiving a Settlement or Going to Court
The vast majority of suits brought against medical providers are settled out of court, so both parties can avoid the high expenses of a trial in court. Settling out of court assures the patient that he or she will receive some compensation, whereas there is no guarantee that a jury will side with the patient in court. However, settlements out of court can be lower than the amounts juries award patients who successfully argue their case in a courtroom. Ultimately, the patient and his or her medical malpractice attorney will have to decide which avenue would be the better option to pursue in the lawsuit.
WHAT IS MEDICAL MALPRACTICE?
Medical malpractice is defined by an act of negligence—or failure to uphold an accepted standard of practice or care—by a healthcare professional, such as a doctor, surgeon, nurse, or pharmacist. These errors can often have serious consequences for a patient and can lead to major injuries, illness, or even death.
WHAT ARE EXAMPLES OF MEDICAL MALPRACTICE?
Because of the complex nature of practicing medicine, medical malpractice can occur in many different ways and at different times during treatment. Common examples of medical malpractice can include:
- delayed treatment of illness or injury
- prescribing an incorrect medication or dosage
- poor sanitation or sterilization of medical equipment
- operating or treating patients while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
At Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, it’s our job to investigate cases of suspected medical malpractice and prove who was responsible for your injury or illness. Our Houston medical malpractice lawyers have extensive knowledge of the evidence, procedure, and legal process involved in these types of cases. Call us at (713) 973-8888 or toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000, or fill out a FREE initial consultation form.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF MEDICAL MALPRACTICE?
Sudden unexplained illnesses after treatment, severe and unusual pain after surgery, or a worsening of your condition all may be signs that medical malpractice has taken place. Sometimes, other medical professionals may say something that suggests an error was made.
HOW CAN I PREVENT MEDICAL MALPRACTICE?
The best way to prevent medical malpractice is to research and investigate any doctor or healthcare provider you or your loved ones plan on using. There are many websites, such as DrScore and RateMDs, that allow potential patients to read reviews and experiences other people have had with doctors and hospitals.
You also can utilize the websites for the Texas Medical Board and the Texas Board of Nursing to determine whether any disciplinary action has been taken against a doctor or nurse’s medical license and permits.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I’M A VICTIM OF MEDICAL MALPRACTICE?
If you suspect medical malpractice, you should immediately seek treatment from another trusted medical professional. Symptoms of medical malpractice may take time to show up, and this will rule out any internal harm or dangers your previous healthcare provider may have exposed you to.
It’s also important to get qualified and experienced legal advice on your side. The Houston medical malpractice attorneys at Terry Bryant can investigate your case and determine how and where medical malpractice took place.
A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE ATTORNEY CAN HELP FILE A SUIT WHEN HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS MAKE MISTAKES
When A Healthcare Professional Fails to Provide Treatment
A medical injury lawyer may be required when a healthcare professional fails to provide treatment at the accepted standard. Every year, more than 100,000 people in the U.S. are killed due to negligence or error caused by healthcare providers. In one study focusing on the period from 2000 to 2002, more than a million patient safety infractions incurred. These errors may cost a victim hundreds of thousands of dollars, along with any health complications caused by the incident. The financial burden and subsequent health costs prompt around 15,000 malpractice suits every year.
In these suits, the plaintiff must establish four points to prove damages to the court. A medical injury lawyer must show that:
- A duty was owed. The healthcare provider has a legal duty to provide adequate care when taking in a patient.
- Standards were not followed. The healthcare provider must adhere to an accepted course of treatment for the patient.
- The incident resulted in injury. The plaintiff must show that the provider’s error or negligence was directly responsible for the injury.
- Damage occurred. Every claim must demonstrate physical, financial, or emotional damage that arose due to negligence or error.
Proving all four requires extensive documentation, patient and doctor interviews and expert testimony. A victim may have trouble gathering this documentation and deciding what facts to show during a deposition. Locating the best experts may also be difficult. Because these cases are so complex, it helps to have an experienced medical injury lawyer. In Houston, many personal injury attorneys avoid handling medical malpractice claims because of the specialized knowledge it requires, as well as the limits on recoveries following tort reform in 2003. Those that do typically offer free consultations to people considering filing a suit. During this consultation, the victim should verify that the attorney has overseen similar suits in the past and secured a favorable outcome.
Malpractice covers a wide range of incidents, including doctor negligence and error. Birth injuries, misdiagnoses, surgical and prescription drug errors, or delayed treatment are all common reasons for filing a suit. However, a medical injury lawyer can help in many other situations, as negligence and error can cause a large number of health complications. Misdiagnoses are common in healthcare, but some of them are caused by incomplete testing. If the doctor fails to investigate the patient’s medical history, they may not be prepared enough to diagnose the patient. If the doctor is slow to perform tests or rushes through the process, the patient should consider filing a suit if they are harmed.
Prescription drugs are involved in many incidents of error or negligence. Prescription drugs can interact with other drugs dangerously or cause severe or fatal allergic reactions. Occasionally, the doctor will order a dosage that is either too low or too high. When seeing a pregnant patient, the doctor must be sure that any prescribed drugs will not cause birth complications. The FDA regularly releases information regarding drug safety in pregnant patients. A doctor that doesn’t remain up to date on safety research may prescribe a drug that causes severe birth deformities.
Finally, surgical errors, like operating at the wrong site or administering too much anesthesia, can result in permanent damage to the patient.
A medical injury lawyer may be able to help in any of these situations. A patient who believes they have been harmed by error or negligence may be able to get restitution with the help of an expert malpractice attorney.
MEDICAL MALPRACTICE RESOURCES
Medical malpractice cases can be complicated. There are many different laws, regulations, and guidelines governing physicians and medical care facilities, and it can be difficult to understand when, where, and how medical malpractice occurs. The Houston medical malpractice attorneys at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law have compiled these resources to help you better understand medical malpractice issues in Texas.
DOCTOR REVIEW WEBSITES
- DrScore.com Search this website’s database to read about other patients’ experiences with your doctor, including their satisfaction levels with the doctor’s standard of care.
- Healthgrades.com Research doctors, dentists, and hospitals in Texas and read patient surveys that score levels of trust, time spent with patient, wait time, and more.
- RateMDs View detailed patient reviews and ratings of doctors and dentists in Texas and throughout the U.S. with this website.
TEXAS GOVERNMENT WEBSITES
- Texas Board of Nursing Read about recent disciplinary actions, including license revocation and suspension of Texas nurses due to medical malpractice or other safety violations.
- Texas Department of State Health Services Locate Texas healthcare clinics across the state, view health statistics, and find out how to prevent disease with this state government resource.
- Texas Medical Board Search this official state medical database to access your doctor or healthcare professional’s information, including his or her license and permit number.
- Texas State Board of Pharmacy File a complaint with the state licensing board if a pharmacist or pharmacy was negligent when filling your prescription.
Common Injuries and Statistics
Medical malpractice and medical error are terms that cover a wide range of mistakes. Their one commonality, of course, is that they are avoidable and the result of a medical provider’s negligence.
Common Types of Medical Malpractice
Studies by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and other respected organizations generally agree on the top five common results of medical malpractice, though not in identical order. They include:
- Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose an illness
- Surgical errors
- “Failure to treat” – When a doctor correctly diagnoses a condition, but then fails to treat it via acceptable standards of care
- Birth injuries – Against OBGYNs and birthing team members for childbirth-related medical mistakes to newborns and, on occasion, mothers
- Prescription drug errors.
Medical Malpractice Statistics
In 2016, there were 8,500 medical malpractice injury claims filed in the U.S., according to the truecostofhealthcare.org. In 2017, truecostofhealthcare.org reported that the number of paid medical malpractice claims settled for at least $500,000 was:
- A little over 2,500 cases against healthcare practitioners in general
- And a little under 2,500 cases against specific doctors and dentists.
Medical errors are surprisingly common. If you are suffering the consequences of a provider’s incompetence, you deserve the money you need to get your life back on track — and the opportunity to hold the doctor or institution accountable.
OUR MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAWYERS IN HOUSTON WILL FIGHT FOR YOU
Texas physicians are held to strict standards for keeping their patients safe through medical procedures regulated by the Texas Medical Board. When a doctor fails to provide an accepted standard of care as defined by these regulations, it may be considered medical malpractice.
Houston medical malpractice lawyer Terry Bryant and his team offer victims of incompetent medical providers skilled and compassionate representation. We will listen to your story and help determine whether you have a valid claim, conduct thorough research and hire the right experts to build the strongest possible case, and win you the money you need to rebuild your life — whether through negotiations or courtroom trial. Throughout the process, we will listen to your concerns, answer any questions you might have, and be accessible and transparent. We believe our job is to get justice for our clients — and we take it seriously. We look forward to hearing from you. To schedule your free initial consultation, give us a call at (713) 973-8888 or toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000. You may also get in touch online. Remember: no recovery, no fee, and our initial consultations are free.