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What Constitutes Medical Malpractice in Texas & New Mexico?


We all have gut feelings. Some of us have a very strong intuition and know when to follow it. Most often, though, we ignore it, especially when it comes to pain, and worse, when it comes to surgeries or medical treatment. Instead of brushing off what could be a big issue, give your gut some credit and dig a little deeper. In some cases, you may have a medical malpractice case on your hands.

Medical malpractice is defined as occurring when a hospital, doctor, or other healthcare professional or provider, through a negligent act or omission, is the cause of death or an injury to a patient. Negligence can be the result of many errors such as diagnosis, treatment, aftercare or health management. Just as we are brought up to trust the word of our teachers, it is assumed that we can trust medical professionals to execute a job correctly and honestly. Unfortunately, it is not always the case.

Whether it is due to a purposefully overlooked protocol or a completely accidental mishap, you deserve to correct the issue and compensation where it’s due – especially when your health or life is at risk. Medical negligence and malpractice can range from minuscule to life-threatening circumstances, and sometimes they are only differentiated by a very fine line. To file a medical malpractice lawsuit one of three standards must be met:

  • Violating standard of care
  • Injury was caused by negligence
  • Said injury resulted in significant consequences

While the cause of a medical malpractice case is pretty standard, the validity and way in which medical malpractice cases are carried out differ state to state. In Texas, according to the statute of limitations for medical malpractice, the case must be “filed within two years from the occurrence of the breach or tort or from the date the medical or health care treatment that is the subject of the claim or the hospitalization for which the claim is made is completed.” In other words, a patient has two years upon suffering or learning of the injury due to malpractice to file. If the injury or harm is part of an ongoing treatment, the two-year time clock begins upon the conclusion of the treatment.

Two years is not a long period of time, so this timeline does not always seem fair. If you were wrongly injured, there should be just compensation no matter the timeline. Unfortunately, there are laws in place to urge people to act in a timely manner and pay close attention to their overall health leading up to surgeries and operations, as well as the days and months following. It is a best practice to take note of all inconsistencies or discomfort when dealing with any medical treatment – whether it be a high-risk operation or simply being prescribed medicine. This can be done via a daily log measuring pain levels the days after surgery or treatment or simply checking in with your doctor on a daily or weekly basis. There are numerous ways to keep track of your recovery, and it should not be an overlooked part of your treatment.

As a medical professional, there are specific standards of care that are to be met consistently throughout treatment. If you receive any treatment from a medical professional that does not, or you believe does not, meet these standards, you may have a case. The standards also change with different procedures and treatments. Be sure to know what the standard of care is prior to completing your medical procedure so that you know what to be wary of.

Even further, an injury due to negligence must be significant enough to pursue. Since medical malpractice lawsuits are very expensive to litigate, there must be a certain amount of damages in order to follow through with the case. If the injury resulted in unusual pain, loss of income, a disability, suffering and hardship, or remarkable medical bills, then a case may be deemed viable. Medical malpractice and negligence lawsuits are so much more tedious to the court because they require speculation from numerous medical professionals, a thorough look at the procedure or treatment, and countless deposition from witnesses. No matter how much work it may seem to complete your case, don’t let that stop you from caring for yourself or your family. With the right representation, filing a Medical Malpractice will not be a burden.

If and only if you can prove that your injury was incurred from medical negligence, then you may file a lawsuit. Even if negligence occurred, but there was no proven or evident injury, there is no case. Texas law requires ‘Expert Reports’. Expert Reports are defined as “a written report regarding applicable standards of care, the manner in which the care rendered by the physician or health care provider failed to meet the standards and the causal relationship between the failure and the injury, harm, or damages claimed.” In short, an Expert Report is to be filed by a qualified physician with specific qualities that ensure knowledge of the specific procedure. Sometimes this is a doctor of the same hospital or care group, sometimes it is a third-party Expert who has enough understanding and insight to make a decision on whether the case is valid as a Medical Malpractice case.

While all of these requirements may seem daunting, medical malpractice or negligence is not something to be overlooked. If you believe the standard of care was not met during your medical treatment or care, even if any injuries or side effects are not immediately noticeable, it is worth taking a look at. In the case of any long-term ailments or slow-festering diseases that may occur over time, it is best to seek treatment or guidance right away. Medical malpractice and negligence should not be taken lightly.

If you believe you have a case, seek an attorney immediately. The Attorneys of Buckingham & Vega are experienced and professional representation you can rely on. We will settle your case to ensure the security and recoverability you and your family deserve. Call today for a free consultation.

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