According to studies conducted by Johns Hopkins patient safety experts, more than 250,000 deaths every year are caused by a medical error in the United States, making it the third leading cause of death in the country. Astonishing figures considering a doctor-patient relationship is one of the most important and trusted relationships people have.
Yet, these errors do occur, and when they do, patients often end up suffering debilitating injuries, excruciating pain, or pass away from these preventable mistakes. However, if you or a loved one has been a victim of this horrific ordeal, you should not be left to endure the tragic consequences on your own.
In these instances, you need to reach out to a trusted San Antonio medical malpractice law firm that can provide you the legal help you need to fight for the justice you deserve. The right personal injury attorney is there for you, ready to take on this challenging legal struggle and pursue the financial recovery you are entitled to.
What Exactly Is a Medical Error?
A medical error has many different definitions, but it is often defined as a deviation from the process of care, which may or may not cause harm to the patient.
These medical errors can include everything from:
- Medication errors
- Hospital-acquired infections
- Delayed or a missed diagnosis
- Errors related to anesthesia
- An avoidable delay in treatment
- Inadequate monitoring after a procedure
- Inadequate follow-up after treatment
- Failing to act on test results
- Technical medical errors
- Failure to take proper precautions
However, just because you endured a medical error, it does not mean that you automatically have a viable medical malpractice lawsuit. In truth, before you can collect compensation for the harm you endured following a medical error, you need to be able to prove that this incident gives rise to a viable legal claim.
How Can You Pursue a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit After a Medical Error in San Antonio?
Medical malpractice is an act or omission by a medical care professional, doctor, or hospital during the treatment of a patient that deviates from the accepted norms of practice in the medical community and causes harm to the patient. This medical malpractice often results from poor aftercare, errors in treatment, inadequate health management, and misdiagnoses.
However, to have a successful medical malpractice claim, it is not enough to show that there was an unfavorable outcome. Rather, for an incident to be considered medical malpractice, the following elements need to be established:
There Was a Doctor-Patient Relationship
Before pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit, it needs to be established that a doctor-patient relationship existed, where the doctor agreed to treat the patient and the patient agreed to let the doctor treat them.
The Medical Professional Owed the Patient a Duty of Care
As mentioned above, the medical community recognizes specific medical standards as accepted treatments that a reasonably prudent medical care professional would perform under similar circumstances.
These standards are referred to as the standard of care, and every patient has a right to expect these standards when undergoing a procedure or receiving treatment from a doctor or a medical care professional. As a result, if a doctor does not meet this standard of care, the patient can establish negligence.
The Medical Professional’s Negligence Led to an Injury
Unfortunately, it is not enough for a patient to show that a health care professional violated the appropriate standard of care to collect compensation for a medical error. The patient will also need to show that the injuries they suffered would not have occurred if not for the health care professional’s negligence, and their health care professional’s negligence was the reason for the harm.
What does this mean exactly? The patient needs to show that it is more likely than not that their doctor’s negligence was the direct cause of their injury.
The Patient’s Injuries Were Substantial
It is also important to note that medical malpractice lawsuits are expensive. Consequently, even if you have a potential malpractice case, it may still not be a viable lawsuit unless there are significant monetary damages. As a result, to go ahead with a malpractice suit, the patient typically needs to show that they suffered extensive pain and suffering, a significant loss of income, astronomical medical expenses, and a life-long disability because of the medical errors.
Holding Medical Professionals Accountable for Medical Errors in San Antonio
Generally, when people think of medical errors, they automatically assume that a doctor was at fault.
However, you can hold many different parties liable for these errors, such as:
- Urgent care centers such as Quality Urgent Care – West San Antonio, FastMed Urgent Care, or Alamo City Urgent Care
- Pharmacists and pharmacies
- Rehabilitation centers
- Hospitals such as Methodist Hospital, Baptist Medical Center, and University Hospital
However, due to the complexities of proving that a medical error led to medical malpractice, it is often in your best interest to reach out to a skilled San Antonio medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. These attorneys can not only help you determine which health care professional was responsible for your harm, but they can also work to hold all those at fault accountable for the injuries you endured.
The Statute of Limitations Following a Medical Error Injury
The statute of limitations refers to a law that dictates the maximum time a patient has to pursue legal action after an alleged offense. If the patient fails to bring this lawsuit within that allotted time, they can be barred from seeking compensation for their losses and injuries.
In Texas, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice is two years from the date of the alleged omission or negligent action that caused the injury. However, there are certain exceptions to this rule that often deal with minors and undiscovered negligence that can impact this filing period.
That is why if you believe you have been a victim of medical malpractice, you should reach out to a medical practice attorney as soon as possible. These lawyers can determine the maximum amount of time you have to file your claim and ensure that your legal motions and documents are prepared correctly and filed before time runs out.
The Steps to Take After You Suffered an Injury Due to a Medical Error in San Antonio
Suffering a medical error injury at the hands of a doctor can be an overwhelming, painful, and stressful experience for any patient. However, what makes this situation even more complicated is that many of these patients have no idea what they are supposed to do next following this devastating incident. Although it may seem wise to contact the doctor or healthcare professional responsible for this error and demand they fix what happened, it is not always the best thing to do.
Instead, there are specific steps you should take following this incident that can help ensure you get the medical attention you need and that your legal rights remain protected. Consider the following:
Obtain Copies of Your Medical Records As Soon As Possible
As soon as you believe you suffered harm because of a medical error, you need to obtain copies of all of your medical records. This can help ensure that no one alters these records or that they go missing before you can get your hands on them.
Continue to Get Treatment From a New Medical Provider
Following a medical error accident, your health should remain your top priority. This means you need to continue to get your injuries or condition treated. However, it is recommended that you do not return to your previous medical care provider. Instead, you should reach out to someone new and get a second opinion as quickly as possible.
These new doctors can not only help treat your injuries caused by the other doctor’s medical errors, but they can also determine the extent of the damages that occurred. Plus, if you return to your previous medical care professional and they know you are thinking about filing a medical malpractice claim against them, they can try to interject things into your records or care that can hurt your chance of winning your suit.
Watch What You Say to Others
Although it may be therapeutic to release your frustrations and worries to others, following a medical error accident, this venting can end up hurting your claim.
This is because the information and details you provide to other people or in online forums can be used against you. It can even leave a trail of evidence that the defense lawyer can incorporate into their case to minimize the amount of money you can receive. That is why it is best to avoid talking to others about what happened, especially on your social media accounts.
Reach out to a Personal Injury Attorney Today and Fight for the Justice You Deserve
Medical malpractice lawsuits are complicated. In fact, to win one of these lawsuits, a victim does not only need to have a thorough understanding of the state’s laws regarding medical malpractice, but they also need to provide detailed evidence and sound legal arguments proving what happened and who was at fault.
However, for most victims of a medical error, this is the last thing on their minds. Thankfully, with the right medical practice law firm on their side, they will not have to take on this difficult legal battle alone.
Many personal injury attorneys have experience in taking on medical error lawsuits, and they know what it takes to fight for the justice and recovery you deserve.
Once you retain a skilled medical malpractice attorney, they can:
- Evaluate your potential legal claim, determine the legal options you can pursue, and answer all the questions and concerns you have.
- Investigate the incident and gather the critical evidence required to prove liability and damages.
- Handle all the discussions and negotiations with the other side, including the insurance company, and fight for a just settlement.
- Hire medical experts to testify about the medical professional’s mistake and whether the doctor violated the appropriate standard of care.
- File legal motions before time runs out.
- Proceed to trial if the other side is not willing to provide you a fair settlement and fight for maximum damages.
For these reasons, do not hesitate any longer to seek legal help if a medical error has turned your life upside down. Instead, contact a San Antonio medical malpractice attorney today for your free case consultation and let them show you how they can fight for you, your rights, and the recovery you deserve.