Medical malpractice cases are often complex not only due to the complexities of the human body and the medical field, but also because there’s strict criteria for what is considered malpractice and what isn’t. You cannot sue a reasonably competent specialist or physician just because you suffered minor side effects from a medication, for example. In all medical malpractice cases, you must prove that your doctor failed to provide you with the medical standard of care.
The medical standard of care definition is basically this: the doctor failed to provide the level and type of care that other health care professionals in the same or similar community would provide using the same treatment and under the same circumstances. If a doctor failed to provide this applicable standard of care – and you suffered major health consequences as a result – then you could sue for medical malpractice. Below, we break down the basics of medical malpractice: what is considered negligence (and what isn’t), how expert witnesses prove the medical standard of care in lawsuits, and more.
If you or someone you love suffered a major injury, illness or wrongful death due to negligent medical treatment, you have grounds to contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer at Janicek Law. We have extensive experience in handling all sorts of malpractice claims, so we can help you obtain the justice and compensation you deserve. Call 210-366-4949 to schedule a free consultation with our legal team today.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a health care professional commits a negligent action or inaction during medical treatment that results in the injury, illness, or wrongful death of their patient.
Sadly, medical malpractice happens every day in the United States. In fact, data from the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) shows that there have been more than 1,500,000 adverse action reports and medical malpractice payment reports between the years of 1990 and 2022.
Common Types of Medical Malpractice
Common examples of medical malpractice cases that plaintiffs can file include:
- Anesthesia errors
- Epidural errors
- Medication errors
- Birth injuries
- Surgical errors
- Chiropractic errors
- Dental errors
- Psychiatry errors
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
- And so much more
These types of medical malpractice can result in a variety of life-threatening or life-altering health issues such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, nerve damage, stroke, seizures, blood clots, cancer, infections, sepsis, the list goes on.
If you or a loved one has suffered major injury, illness, or wrongful death at the hands of a negligent medical professional, you have grounds to contact a San Antonio medical malpractice attorney at Janicek Law. We will help you build the strongest possible medical malpractice claim and protect your legal rights the whole time.
What is the Medical Standard of Care?
It’s important to note that medical professionals are humans who make mistakes just like everyone else. What’s important in a medical malpractice case is that the mistake in question was considered negligence and resulted in injury, illness, or death.
But what is negligence? Negligence, in personal injury law, is a legal term that means that someone failed to take the proper amount of care that a reasonable person would take in the same or similar circumstances.
But health care professionals are held to a higher standard than the average person – called the medical standard of care. The legal definition of the medical standard of care is the level and type of care that a reasonably competent physician or specialist – within the same medical community – would have provided to their patient within the same or similar circumstances in which the medical malpractice case occurred.
Basically, what the medical standard of care is asking is this: “would another health care professional with minimally sound medical judgment (and within the same or similar community) have treated me the same way in the same circumstances?” If the answer is no, and you suffered a major illness or injury from the sub standard care, then you can file a medical malpractice claim.
How the Medical Standard of Care is Established in Medical Malpractice Cases
Even the best team of lawyers can’t establish what’s considered a poor medical standard of care. That’s because they’re lawyers, not doctors. That’s where medical experts come in.
During a medical malpractice lawsuit, a lawyer must bring in expert testimony from someone of the same field as the doctor that committed the alleged malpractice. So if a chiropractor made a mistake during spinal manipulation – which resulted in the patient suffering a chiropractic induced stroke – then the lawyer must bring in a chiropractor as the expert witness. The chiropractor must do the following during their testimony:
- Explain what the applicable medical standard of care was in the same circumstances.
- Explain how the chiropractor failed to provide the appropriate standard of care and how it resulted in the patient’s chiropractic-induced stroke.
Can You Sue if a Doctor Made a Mistake But You Didn’t Get Injured?
In short, no. The average doctor is not perfect and will make mistakes. What matters in a medical malpractice claim is if the doctor provided sub standard care to their patient AND the patient suffered life-threatening/life-altering health issues as a result.
It’s important to note that all medical treatments carry some degree of risk to every patient. The average provider can give their patient competent, reasonable care, and that patient could still suffer from one of the side effects. This is not considered negligence. The only way this could be considered negligence is if the doctor failed to provide informed consent to the patient about the major risks and side effects of a surgery, medication, or other treatment.
As long as a doctor can render minimally competent care that results in very few side effects and the overall improvement in their patient’s health, then they have essentially done their job correctly.
Damages for a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
With the right legal representation, a medical malpractice plaintiff can recover financial compensation for the following types of damages:
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future rehabilitative bills
- Expenses associated with necessary medical equipment like wheelchairs or prosthetics
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Emotional distress
- Mental health counseling bills
- Physical pain and suffering
- Permanent scarring, disfigurement, and/or disability
- Loss of quality of life
- Loss of consortium
- Funeral and burial expenses if the medical error results in wrongful death
Texas Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice
Just like most other states, Texas sets a time limit on how long you can pursue legal liability for negligence. This time limit is called the statute of limitations. Patients have two years from the day of their injury or illness to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. If they fail to file their lawsuit within two years, then their case will be dismissed.
That’s why it’s so important to contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer at Janicek Law as soon as possible. Legal proceedings can take a long time, and the clock is ticking (literally) from the day you suffered from your sub standard care. Allow our legal team to carefully review the details of your case so that we can start the legal process as soon as possible.
Call San Antonio Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Janicek Law Today
If you or a loved one has suffered major illness, injury, or death due to an incompetent health care professional, they deserve to be held liable through a civil lawsuit. San Antonio medical malpractice lawyers at Janicek Law have decades of combined experience in handling birth injury cases, surgical error cases, medication error cases, and so much more. Allow us to fight for justice and financial compensation on your behalf while you heal – physically and emotionally – from your medical trauma. Call 210-366-4949 to schedule a free consultation with our legal team today.