A medical malpractice claim is often necessary when a doctor makes a mistake and causes harm to a patient. Any compensation secured through this legal action can be used to pay for related damages, including medical expenses, lost income, and more. While many people might think they know who can file a medical malpractice lawsuit, the reality is that this area of law is not necessarily clear-cut.
The potential plaintiffs in this type of lawsuit will vary depending on the situation. If anything in the following article is unclear or if you have additional questions about the process of filing a claim, do not hesitate to contact our law offices to schedule a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable Houston medical malpractice attorneys.
Who Is Allowed to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Texas?
Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is one of the most effective ways to hold a doctor, health care worker, or medical institution responsible for an error that injured a patient. As an experienced law firm with decades of experience representing victims and their families as they seek justice for medical errors, we are intimately familiar with who Texas law permits to bring forth a lawsuit.
You may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit if you are:
- The Victim – As a victim of medical malpractice, you have the legal right to file a lawsuit seeking to recover compensation for your damages.
- Parents of Minor Children – If a child under the age of 18 was harmed by the medical establishment, their parents may file a medical malpractice claim on their behalf.
- Parents or Guardians of Disabled Adults – While many adults with disabilities live full and independent lives, others require the continued care and support of a parent or guardian.
A parent or guardian of a disabled or incapacitated adult may bring a medical malpractice lawsuit on their behalf.
- Surviving Family Members – If a patient was killed due to the negligent, reckless, or wrongful actions of a health care professional, a surviving spouse, child, or parent may file a wrongful death lawsuit.
It does not matter who files the lawsuit; the final goal is the same—to secure compensation for the victim’s damages.
Compensation Available in Medical Malpractice Cases
Compensation will be different for every medical malpractice claim. The cost of future medical care may vary greatly between a case involving a child suffering a life-long birth injury and an adult who needs a secondary procedure to correct a surgical error. With that in mind, below are some of the most common economic damages that we address in medical malpractice claims:
- Lost wages or reduced earning capacity
- Medical bills, including both current and future expenses
- Travel costs to doctor and specialist appointments
- Renovation costs to your home or vehicle if you have a new disability
- In-home services, including cleaning services
You may also be eligible for compensation that addresses non-economic damages. These are damages that do not have a direct financial component but still very much affect your day-to-day life:
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of companionship or consortium
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
If your loved one lost their life because of a medical error, you will need to file a wrongful death lawsuit rather than a medical malpractice claim. Compensation available in a wrongful death claim includes:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical expenses incurred prior to death
- Lost wages or income
- Loss of guidance, nurturing, or advice
Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations and Exceptions
Every state has its own set of laws that limit the time you have to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. In Texas, you have only two years from the date the error took place to file your claim. There are a few exceptions to this limit, including for those who did not discover the malpractice until a later date or who were harmed when they were a young child. Your attorney will advise you of any exceptions that apply to your case.
The statute of limitations is also different if medical malpractice occurs in a government-owned hospital or clinic or is committed by a government employee. In this situation, you have only six months to give notice of your intent to file a claim. The short time frame that these types of medical malpractice cases operate on often necessitates the guidance of a competent attorney.
How Long Will My Medical Malpractice Case Take?
Since no two medical malpractice claims are the same, the time it takes to reach a settlement will also vary. On average, you can expect to spend anywhere from two to three years working on your lawsuit until it is settled.
A small percentage of medical malpractice lawsuits cannot be settled and are instead handled in court. If your case goes to trial, the timeline may be as long as four years. Cases that are valued at more than $2 million also tend to take longer to resolve.
Do You Have Questions About Who Can File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
At Buckingham & Vega Law Firm, we pride ourselves on the unrivaled representation and guidance we provide to clients. When you choose to align yourself with our law firm, you’ll have access to tireless advocates who always prioritize your case.
We are always available to answer any questions you might have about who can file a medical malpractice lawsuit, what type of compensation you may be eligible for, and the expected timeline for your claim.
Do not hesitate to reach out. We offer free consultations so that we can have the opportunity to meet and see if our attorneys are the right fit for your needs. Fill out our online form or call our Houston office (505) 388-0066 to schedule your no-obligation case evaluation today.