Corpus Christi residents who seek medical assistance have a right to expect treatment that meets a standard of care established by the medical community of Texas. When a patient receives substandard care causing serious injury, it is appropriate to determine whether medical malpractice led to the harm the patient has suffered.
The Corpus Christi medical malpractice attorneys of Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C. understand the impact that a serious medical error can have on a patient’s health and future. Our attorneys can investigate the circumstances of a significant injury sustained while under medical care. Texas law has strict rules and procedures for bringing medical malpractice claims. Founding Attorney Greg Herrman and his dedicated legal team have the experience and legal knowledge necessary to pursue justice for you.
Our personal injury attorneys have more than 100 years of combined experience representing injured people. If we believe that you have a valid malpractice claim, we will apply our experience to seek the maximum compensation to help you move forward. Contact us at our Corpus Christi office at (361) 792-2358. We can review the circumstances of your injury, answer your questions and discuss your legal options.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a patient is injured because of a negligent act or failure to act by a Corpus Christi doctor or other health care professional or due to the policies of a hospital or another medical institution. A medical malpractice claim typically cites a preventable medical error or an act that is contrary to the recognized standard of care that another reasonably prudent medical professional would have followed under similar circumstances.
To rise to the level of malpractice, a medical error or omission must have caused significant harm to the patient. A legal claim would show that:
- The health care provider and the patient had a relationship that created a duty of care to the patient;
- The medical professional violated the duty of care by acting inappropriately or failing to act;
- The patient was significantly injured as a result of the breach of the medical professional’s duty of care; and
- The patient’s injury can be mitigated by compensation from the medical professional.
Common Types of Medical Malpractice Cases in Corpus Christi
Common causes of patient injury or death that should be investigated for potential malpractice include:
- Diagnostic Errors
- Failure to obtain medical history
- Failure to obtain tests
- Misinterpretation of test results
- Failure to diagnose cancer
- Failure to diagnose heart attack or stroke
- Surgical Errors
- Anesthesia errors
- Wrong surgical procedure, wrong-site surgery
- Left-behind instruments, sponges
- Post-op infections
- Medication Errors
- Birth Injuries
- Lack of oxygen during delivery
- Physical trauma during delivery
- Brachial plexus injury (Erb’s palsy, Klumpke palsy) and other nerve damage
- Cerebral palsy and other brain damage
- Complications to mother from Caesarian section
- Institutional Malpractice
- Lack of training
- Failure to inform or to obtain informed consent
- Hospital-acquired infection (HAI)
- Medical equipment failure
- Patient falls resulting in significant injury
- Pressure ulcers (bed sores)
- Premature discharge.
Many errors that occur in medical settings are caused by miscommunication, in which patient information is not shared properly between personnel shifts or when patients are transferred between departments. Other errors are due to not following policies and procedures, such as checklists to account for surgical tools and supplies in an operating theater.
A medical malpractice claim in Corpus Christi or elsewhere in Texas may seek to hold accountable:
- Lab technicians
- Oral surgeons
- Hospitals / medical centers
- Medical practices
- Assisted living facilities (nursing homes, convalescent homes)
- Rehabilitation centers.
If a claim settlement is reached or damages are awarded, then the health care provider’s malpractice insurance provider typically covers the amount.
Damages Available in Medical Malpractice Cases in Corpus Christi
Compensation, or damages, in a Texas medical malpractice case are categorized as economic damages paid for actual monetary losses, and noneconomic damages awarded for the plaintiff’s pain and suffering.
Economic damages include money for:
- Medical bills up to the point of the claim and as projected for future medical needs
- Lost income, including future loss of earnings due to lost earning capacity or ongoing inability to work.
Noneconomic damages include money for:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental or emotional pain or anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Physical impairment
- Loss of companionship and society
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Injury to reputation
- All other nonmonetary losses of any kind.
In some cases, a jury may award exemplary damages, also known as punitive damages, if the defendant acted with fraud, malice or gross negligence. A suitable amount for exemplary damages would be added to demands during negotiations if warranted.
Texas caps damages in medical malpractice cases with a maximum award of:
- $250,000 in noneconomic damages from a single health care provider or each single provider in a claim, regardless of the number of plaintiffs.
- $250,000 in noneconomic damages per defendant hospital, medical center, or clinic up to $500,000 per plaintiff.
- $500,000 in economic and noneconomic damages in a wrongful death claim based on 1977 dollars. Because of adjustments for inflation, the damages cap in wrongful death claims exceeds $1.5 million.
- $200,000 or twice the amount of economic damages, plus non-economic damages up to $750,000, whichever is more, for exemplary damages.
Proving Medical Negligence in Corpus Christi
A successful medical malpractice claim must show that the medical professional and/or institution failed to provide care that met a standard of care in Corpus Christi or the greater Gulf Coast region and that the patient was significantly harmed because of this failure.
Not all unfavorable medical outcomes rise to the level of malpractice. Medical procedures go wrong for many reasons, even when doctors follow the proper standard of care. Sometimes no one is truly at fault. In addition, a medical malpractice case must be about significant harm to be viable.
Significant harm might include:
- Undue suffering
- Enduring hardship
- Constant pain
- Considerable loss of income
To prepare a malpractice claim, our Corpus Christi malpractice lawyers would:
- Obtain your medical records with your consent.
- Have an independent medical professional review your records to determine whether a health care provider failed to meet the standard of care when treating you. If the doctor suspects medical error or negligence, it may be the basis of a malpractice claim.
- Calculate your accident-related expenses losses, including future medical bills, to determine the amount of compensation that you should demand. In cases of disability, we work with consultants who project future income losses and anticipated medical expenses, such as for assistive devices, recurring medical supply needs, home remodeling and possible personal assistance.
- Once we determine your case is viable and can move forward, file expert reports and notices required under Texas law:
- An expert report served on each defendant within 120 days of filing the lawsuit to summarize:
- the opinion of a qualified expert regarding the applicable standard of care
- the way in which the defendant failed to meet that standard, and
- the causal relationship between the failure and the harm inflicted on the plaintiff.
- An expert report served on each defendant within 120 days of filing the lawsuit to summarize:
- Notice of the claim provided to each health care provider to be named in a lawsuit at least 60 days before the claim is filed.
Medical malpractice cases are complex and time-consuming. To pursue a claim, there must be a strong likelihood of winning as well as the likelihood that damages awarded will cover the costs of pursuing the claim in addition to the injured patient’s costs and losses.
Most medical malpractice cases end in a negotiated settlement, which allows patients to move on with their lives. We would advise you of any settlement offer and whether we think it is reasonable, but it will be your decision whether to accept the offer. A settlement proposal may be made and accepted at any time before a jury returns a decision in the case.
If the insurance company refuses to agree to a fair settlement, our attorneys would be prepared to file a lawsuit and proceed to court after consulting with you.
Statute of Limitations on Texas Medical Injury Cases
Medical malpractice cases are complex. Texas law makes them even more time-consuming than they are in other states. Texas imposes a two-year statute of limitations on most claims. The timeline of a claim begins on the date of injury or the breach of duty of care but may be extended for 75 days upon notice of intent to assert a claim.
In claims brought for malpractice that results in death, the two years still begins at the date of injury or breach — not the date of death, as in other Texas wrongful death claims.
When the plaintiff in a medical malpractice claim is a minor, the two-year statute of limitations does not begin to run until the plaintiff turns 18 years old.
Contact Our Corpus Christi Medical Malpractice Law Firm Today
You have the right to question an unexpected negative outcome to medical treatment. The Corpus Christi medical malpractice lawyers at Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C., can review your injury and determine whether you have a valid medical malpractice claim.
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation review of your case if you or a loved one has suffered significant harm while under medical care. We can investigate what happened to you and pursue compensation for you. Texas imposes strict statutes of limitations on medical malpractice claims. Don’t delay. Call us at (361) 792-2358 in Corpus Christi to get answers now.