Houston Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Hire a Houston Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you suspect you or someone you loved was seriously injured due to a medical provider’s negligence, you should consult a Houston medical malpractice lawyer immediately. A study performed by researchers at Johns Hopkins University determined that 251,454 people die annually due to medical errors. This makes medical malpractice the third leading cause of death in America, behind heart disease and cancer. Car accidents account for 136,053 deaths a year. That is almost twice as many people killed by medical malpractice than by car accidents.

Sure everyone makes mistakes, but when a doctor makes one on you—well, you could face serious consequences. If you have been injured due to a preventable mistake on the part of your health care provider, a Houston medical malpractice lawyer near you can help, call the law office of Simmons and Fletcher, P.C.,  right now at (713) 932-0777 to talk to an injury attorney about how to pursue your legal rights. The clock is running out on your claim.

medical malpractice

What Constitutes Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice occurs when a medical provider fails to follow the accepted standards of care while treating a patient and causes a foreseeable injury. Some examples of specific medical malpractice claims include:

There are many different types of medical error situations that may occur as a result of medical negligence and many types of medical malpractice injuries. If you or someone you love have suffered an injury, get a free case evaluation today to determine whether your case may warrant bringing a medical malpractice lawsuit. Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., is a Houston personal injury law firm you can trust to advise you in the best course of action. Our team has been serving Houston and throughout Texas since 1979.

Medical Malpractice Law Traps

To reduce and control the rising cost of medical care, many states, including Texas, have imposed substantial restrictions on medical malpractice lawsuits. Because of this, there are many traps and pitfalls in this area of law that an unwary victim and/or unskilled medical malpractice attorneys may fall into when trying to bring a medical malpractice claim against a negligent doctor or hospital. Some of these pitfalls include:

  • Expert Report. In many jurisdictions, like Texas, there is a certain time frame in which you are required to file a detailed report by a medical expert that demonstrates the standard of care that was violated and how it was violated. In the State of Texas, you are required to obtain and file this report within 120 days after filing a lawsuit involving any healthcare liability claims, including medical malpractice. Your failure to file a report by a qualified expert that meets the minimum criteria, within 120 days, will result in your case being dismissed and your claim being forever barred. This is what is known as a Chapter 74 Report in Texas. Medical experts are not cheap and not often easy to find because many medical professionals do not like to testify against other physicians.
  • Notice Requirements. There are very strict notice requirements imposed upon persons bringing health care liability claims against a healthcare professional. Failure to give timely notice may result in your claim being delayed or barred.
  • State Notice Requirements. If your negligent medical provider works for or is a state, city, or county hospital or medical clinic then you must meet the strict notice requirements of the state tort claims act that applies to your cause of action.
  • Damage Caps. Many states have passed legislation placing caps on the total amount of damages you can recover from any single medical provider as a result of a health care liability or medical malpractice claim. In the State of Texas, you may be capped at as little as $250,000 per negligent medical professional. While this may not seem like a small amount, the cost of bringing a medical malpractice claim can often run over $100,000, thereby making certain types of cases unfeasible for attorneys and clients to invest their money and time into.
  • County Hospital Caps. County hospitals often have lower damage caps under their respective state’s tort claims act. In the State of Texas, a county hospital’s maximum liability is $100,000. Victims of medical malpractice at a county hospital have little recourse thanks to these laws.
  • Statute of Limitations. Medical Malpractice Statute of limitations varies from state to state. Many states have created specific rules governing when a medical malpractice claim may be brought, further restricting the timing of filing these claims. This can be particularly troublesome when the negligence is such that you don’t discover the damage done, until years later. For example, a medical device left inside a patient or a medication that has long-term effects.

Each of the pitfalls listed above can destroy an otherwise valid medical malpractice claim. You must hire a medical malpractice lawyer who understands these pitfalls and can help you navigate them to the fullest extent possible under the law.

Medical Malpractice Frequently Asked Questions

Below you find our medical malpractice FAQs with answers to some of the most common medical malpractice questions. If you have other questions or need more information, please call our attorneys in Houston for a free consultation.

Do I Need to Hire a Medical Malpractice Lawyer?

You must hire a qualified medical malpractice attorney. Tort reform in the United States over the past 20 years has drastically changed the way medical malpractice law is handled in this country. Millions of dollars have been spent by special interest groups to create traps and pitfalls for the unwary. Many requirements are time-sensitive. Failure to meet them can result in your claim being dismissed and forever barred.

In the State of Texas, these claims fall under the category of health care liability claims. In every jurisdiction the rules and requirements on how to file a medical malpractice claim are different. If you fail to file a report timely in some jurisdictions, like Texas, your case will be dismissed and forever barred, even if you don’t know the rules. Therefore you should consult a medical malpractice lawyer in Houston, Texas, who understands the legal process and knows how to protect your rights so that your valid claim does not become the next victim of tort reform. Having competent legal representation is a must.

How Can a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Houston, TX Help Me?

An experienced medical malpractice attorney in Houston, TX can assist you in many ways.  These include:

  • Obtaining a complete copy of the medical records from the negligent medical facility.
  • Researching the laws that apply to your case.
  • Finding the right expert to review your medical records and identify the correct and incorrect procedures.
  • Timely obtaining and filing an expert report so your case is not dismissed.
  • Monitoring deadlines to ensure your case is timely filed and pursued.
  • Taking depositions and preparing expert witnesses to testify
  • Fighting for your rights.
  • Taking your case and pushing your case to court against any doctors who refuse to pay fair settlements.

What is the Difference Between Health Care Liability and Medical Malpractice?

According to Title 4, Chapter 74 of the Texas State Civil Practice and Remedies Code, medical malpractice or medical negligence fall under the umbrella of Health Care Liability Claims. A Health Care Liability Claim is any injury caused by a medical professional while providing care. It is an extremely broad term that encompasses not only traditional medical malpractice cases but also many other cases involving medical facilities and professionals such as a nurse’s worker’s compensation claim and failure to exterminate dangerous spiders at a nursing home.

Do Medical Malpractice Law Firms Work on a Contingency Fee?

Yes. Because of the complexity, high degree of risk, and higher costs of bringing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Texas, medical malpractice lawyers will commonly work on a contingency fee that is a slightly higher percentage than other personal injury lawyer fees but still contingent on the outcome of the case.  This typically means that you only pay attorney fees and attorney litigation expenses if you win your case. Talk to a medical malpractice lawyer nearby today.

What is the Standard of Care?

The standard of care is simply the standard of care an average, prudent medical professional in the same community would provide to a patient under the same or similar circumstances.

A plaintiff patient will need to establish what the standard of care in his or her community is and demonstrate that the defendant breached that standard by his or her action or inaction.

What Types of Health Care Providers May Be Liable?

A medical malpractice cause of action may be filed against any responsible, licensed medical professional. This includes nurses, doctors, psychologists, and psychotherapists.

Is There a Time Limit for Filing a Medical Malpractice Action?

Texas does impose a statute of limitations on all medical malpractice lawsuits. An injured patient must file their cause of action within two years from the date of the breach or from the completion of treatment.

Under the common law, the statute of limitations time does not begin to toll against a patient until their injury is discovered. However, in Texas, the statute sometimes applies even if the injury was not discovered in time to bring an action. It is important that you speak to a qualified medical malpractice lawyer about your case to determine whether it applies.

Will Expert Testimony be Necessary for My Trial?

A trial court in Texas will require expert testimony to be given to establish the duty of care in a medical malpractice case. Under Texas law, a report that clearly defines what the standard of care was and how it was violated must be filed within 180 days of the filing of the lawsuit or the case will be dismissed with prejudice.

Is There a Cap on Medical Malpractice Damages?

There are limits on the amount of monetary damages a patient may receive for a successful medical malpractice claim in Texas. Noneconomic damages for all doctor and health care practitioner defendants involved in the injury is capped at $250,000. Total liability for one hospital is capped at $250,000 and for all hospital defendants jointly at $500,000.

What Damages Can I Claim in a Medical Malpractice Case?

Injured victims can see the compensation they deserve by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit and claiming the same damages available in  personal injury cases, including:

  • Lost wages and lost wage earning capacity
  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Past and future physical pain and suffering
  • Past and future scarring and disfigurement
  • Past and future mental anguish and emotional distress
  • Past and future physical impairment
  • Punitive damages where the facts support

Parties who have lost a family member due to medical negligence and who qualify as wrongful death beneficiaries may file wrongful death claims seeking justice and compensation for:

  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of household services
  • Loss of society and companionship
  • Loss of economic benefit
  • Emotional Distress

If you have questions about what damages are available to you, a Houston medical malpractice lawyer can help you understand your legal options and available damages and provide critical legal advice.

Do You Ever Represent Medical Professions in Malpractice Cases?

No. Our firm of Houston personal injury attorneys exclusively represents injured victims seeking to recover compensation you deserve due to others’ negligence. We do not defend doctors or insurance companies. We have years of experience pursuing negligent parties to ensure they are held liable.

How Do I Report Medical Malpractice?

If you believe a doctor is engaging in unsafe practices, you can file a complaint online with the  Health Facility Compliance Group at the Texas Department of State Health Services or online via the Texas Medical Board. More on filing a complaint against a doctor. The will not pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit or any claim for damages on your behalf. You must find a lawyer to represent you for this.

Will My Texas Medical Malpractice Case Go to Trial?

It is impossible to answer whether your Tx medical malpractice case will have to be tried, but be aware there are many factors affecting whether your case will have to go to trial in order for it to be resolved. Some of those factors are:

  • The court you are in and how backed up it is,
  • How many defendants (doctors, medical facilities, assistants, etc) there are and who they are,
  • What the defendant’s medical malpractice insurance says/covers,
  • The specific facts of your case and level of complexity, and;
  • Your injuries and damages.

Take the First Step to Obtain Compensation Today

Whether it was caused by an incorrect diagnosis, emergency room errors, a defective medical device,  or a negligently performed medical procedure, if you have been injured or your family has lost a loved one due to medical negligence you need a Houston medical malpractice lawyer to fight for your rights as soon as possible. We offer a free initial consultation on medical malpractice claims. When we take your case, we work on a contingency fee basis which means you pay nothing upfront and we only get out attorneys fees and expenses back if we make a recovery for you.  Call (713) 932-0777 for your free consultation about the skilled legal services we provide now.  

Depending upon the nature of the case, some cases are likely to be referred to another Houston medical malpractice law firm near me for handling–with the client’s permission.

Other Helpful Resources

Filing a Complaint Against a Doctor in Texas
Why Can’t I Find a Medical Malpractice Lawyer?