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Answers to Common Medical Malpractice Questions

Medical malpractice is a specific type of personal injury that deals strictly with professional negligence on behalf of doctors, physicians and other medical professionals. These types of claims are incredibly serious, as they call professional ability and ethics into question. When medical professionals fail to exercise the necessary care, their patients will most likely suffer. Provided below are answers to some common questions regarding this area of practice.

Who is the defendant in a medical malpractice case?
In a medical malpractice case, the defendant is the health care provider. For example, if a patient sustained an injury during surgery, then they may be entitled to bring a lawsuit against their surgeon as well as the hospital at which that surgeon was employed. The defendant will not be the same in every case, however, it is not uncommon for medical malpractice lawsuits to be filed against a single physician as well as the entire hospital or medical office.

How long can I wait to file a medical malpractice case?
As in any type of personal injury claim or lawsuit, there is limited amount of time in which you can file. This time limit is referred to as the “statute of limitations” and for most medical malpractice cases that time limit is two years. Typically, this means that a plaintiff has two years from the date of their injury in which they can file. In some circumstances, plaintiffs have two years from the date their injury was discovered in which they can file.

How common is misdiagnosis?
Misdiagnosis and failure to diagnose are two types of medical malpractice. It is important to distinguish between difficult-to-diagnose diseases and misdiagnosis due to medical error. The frequency of misdiagnosed illnesses then depends on the definition of misdiagnosis. For example, cancer is a commonly misdiagnosed disease in the United States according to a recent Harvard study. This may not be considered malpractice if the cancer was particularly rare or in its very early stages, but can be considered malpractice if doctors failed to stick to cancer screening guidelines.

What is the difference between a surgical error and a complication?
There are two main reasons why a patient might be injured during a surgical procedure: surgical errors or surgical complications. Certain surgical procedures are known to have a high risk for complication and negative side effects. If a patient was properly warned about the risks of the procedure and then suffered the negative side effects, this would likely not be considered medical malpractice. A surgical error is an avoidable complication caused by carelessness on the part of the surgeon.

Is there a limit on how much money I could recover?
The answer to this question depends on whether you are speaking of economic damages or noneconomic damages. In the United States, there are “caps” otherwise known as limits on the amount of noneconomic damages that an individual can receive in a medical malpractice claim. Noneconomic damages is a term that refers to “intangible harms” that patients suffer as a result of medical negligence. This can include emotional trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, and loss of enjoyment of life, among other things. These caps are highly controversial.

Still have questions? Talk to The Carlson Law Firm!

Medical malpractice is an extremely complex area of personal injury law. If you or someone you love was the victim of this type of negligence, then you may very well be faced with questions. The Carlson Law Firm is prepared to provide answers to those questions. By contacting our firm, our experienced attorneys can give a free evaluation of your case and then advise you as to the steps that you can take toward your recovery. Don’t hesitate to contact a Texas medical malpractice lawyer from the firm today!