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The Basics of Texas Medical Malpractice

Whether you have been misdiagnosed or given the wrong prescription for an illness, you may have a medical malpractice claim on your hands. Medical malpractice laws vary from state to state. If you live in Texas, it will help you in your pursuit of a claim to learn the basics of Texas malpractice law. You should also consider consulting with Texas malpractice attorneys to gain a fuller understanding of state statutes.

What Is Texas Malpractice?

Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional or entity harms a patient during the course of treatment. However, for this harm to constitute the basis for a medical malpractice claim, it must be considered negligence.

Medical negligence occurs when a doctor or other healthcare provider breaches, or violates, his or her duty of care to the patient. This duty of care, which is also known as a standard of care, will vary based on a number of factors, including the patient's age and specific health condition. The standard of care will also vary depending on the state the medical treatment is administered in. This means that treatment for a specific illness in Texas might have a different standard of care from that in another state.

In most instances, though, this standard of care is determined to be the generally accepted methods used by other area doctors and healthcare professionals on similarly situated patients with similar conditions.

Texas Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations

Like all personal injury cases, medical malpractice lawsuits are governed by a statute of limitations. The statute of limitations puts a time limit on how long a patient can wait and still be able to file a lawsuit.

Under Texas medical malpractice law, a patient who has been injured during the course of treatment must file suit within two years after the malpractice incident occurred. However, if the patient cannot determine when the incident that caused injury occurred, the limit is set to two years after the completion of treatment or hospitalization.

Because of the strict time limits on Texas malpractice cases, it is important that you start your medical malpractice lawsuit as soon as possible. That is why it is critical to consult with a Texas medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible after an injury occurs, so you will not be barred from bringing suit against your medical provider.

Texas Malpractice Damages

If a medical malpractice lawsuit goes in your favor, you will be entitled to damages. Damages are monetary awards to compensate you for your injuries. These damages can take many forms including economic damages, which reimburse you for medical bills and lost wages due to missed days at work. They can also be non-economic damages, which include payment for pain and suffering. In some instances, there can even be punitive damages, which are meant to punish a healthcare professional who commits malpractice out of maliciousness.

According to Texas malpractice law, there are caps that limit the amount of damages a plaintiff (the injured patient filing the lawsuit) can try to get from the defendant (the medical provider being sued).

Texas places a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages for all doctors and other individual healthcare providers. There is also a $250,000 non-economic damages cap placed on each hospital. In total, for all hospitals and other institutions, there is a $500,000 non-economic damages cap. This means that if you file suit against a doctor, the most you can try to claim for non-economic damages is $250,000, while the most you can claim from any one hospital is $250,000 as well.

How Long Does a Texas Malpractice Case Take?

Medical malpractice lawsuits can be very complex. Unlike other types of lawsuits, medical malpractice claims rely on both advanced medical and legal expertise in order to be proven. Oftentimes, this requires the use of expensive expert witnesses, who must pour over your medical information to try to determine if malpractice has actually taken place.

Although many of these cases do settle, your claim may take months if not years to resolve. Be prepared to wait a long time for a resolution should you decide to file a Texas medical malpractice lawsuit.