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Questions to Determine if You Have a Medical Malpractice Case in Texas
You may ask, “Do I have a case?” The Snapka Law Firm, Injury Lawyers looks at the answers to three basic questions.
Did the health care provider breach a recognized standard of care?
That is, did he do, or fail to do something that a reasonably prudent doctor (or other healthcare provider) should have done under the circumstances. A doctor is permitted to make mistakes in judgment because medicine is an art, not a science on many decisions they make. Further, not every bad result is due to medical malpractice. Sometimes, bad things just happen even though the doctor uses appropriate care. However, there are recognized standards of care which must be followed, just like there are when we drive our cars. If the doctor runs the “medical red light” in these situations, and violates the standard of care, then he is negligent. A doctor who is familiar with the standard of care must testify that the doctor was negligent, or the law does not permit a patient to bring a case. Examples include situations where a doctor fails to diagnose timely diagnose cancer, fails to timely recognize signs of an impending heart attack, or stroke, or a hospital fails to take proper fall precautions to protect a patient at risk of falling.
Did negligence cause the patient to suffer harm or to die?
Second, if we assume the doctor did something that was legally wrong, that is to say he was negligent, did this cause the patient to suffer harm, or to die. Suppose a doctor fails to timely diagnose cancer when he should have done so. For instance, suppose a radiologist pointed out on xray that a patient had findings that showed cancer, and the doctor didn’t read the report, and didn’t tell the patient. The question still remains as to whether the timely diagnoses would have made any difference in the patient’s survival. If not, then, the doctor’s mistake made no difference, and there is no case. Thus, a medical expert must be able to prove the medical error made a difference in the outcome, or caused the patient to suffer harm as a result.
Will the Case be Profitable for the Client?
Medical malpractice cases are very expensive. As mentioned, medical experts must prove the case. They charge thousands of dollars to review the records and medical literature. When they testify, they charge a lot of money because they must take time away from their practices to give their opinions. Thus, if the cost of bringing the case is so high that the client will not be able to be fairly compensated at the end of the case, then it makes no sense to take the case. While it is a noble cause to fight for the principle of the matter, few clients can afford to front the expenses and fees to fight for principle. I take cases on a contingency basis, meaning he must believe there is a good chance to win the case in order to even get the expenses he advances on the case back. Thus, he limits the cases he takes to a select few.