To be successful on a medical liability case, the injured party must usually prove each of the following points by a preponderance of the evidence (i.e., by the greater weight and degree of credible evidence admitted in the case):
- Negligence: That the medical or health care provider was negligent in the care and treatment of the patient. This is accomplished by showing the medical or health care provider’s care fell below a legally recognized standard of reasonable and prudent medical or health care.
- Proximate Causation: That any such negligence was a proximate cause of the occurrence or injury or death involved in the case. This means that it should have been foreseeable to a reasonable medical or health care provider that the alleged negligent conduct might reasonably result in an injury to the patient; and, that such negligence was a substantial factor in bringing about such injuries which, in reasonable medical probability, would not have occurred.
- Damages: That a specific amount of money damages, if any, would fairly and reasonably compensate, the injured party for the injuries and damages he or she sustained in the past, and/or will probably sustain in the future, as a result of the occurrence or injury or death in issue.
What should I do if I have been hurt or injured as a result of medical malpractice or nursing home negligence? First, make sure you do not wait too long before you consult Brian T. Cartwright or Samuel B. Burke with our Firm to help you determine what your rights and responsibilities are. There are time deadlines, called statutes of limitation, that you must file suit in or your claims will be forever barred. Likewise, there are pre-suit notice requirements that must be followed or your claims could be barred as well. The statute of limitations in healthcare liability claims is complicated, and can be extremely rigid in its application. Pursuant to Section 74.251(a) of the TEXAS CIVIL PRACTICE & REMEDIES CODE, if there is an identifiable date of negligence (e.g., a botched surgery) the limitations period for medical malpractice and nursing home negligence is stated, in pertinent part, as follows: “[N]o health care liability claim may be commenced unless the action is filed within two years from the occurrence or breach or tort . . ..” If no such identifiable date of negligence exists (e.g., failure to diagnose cancer), then Section 74.251(a) provides, “[N]o health care liability claim may be commenced unless the action is filed within two years from . . . the date the medical or health care treatment that is the subject of the claim or hospitalization for which the claim is made is completed . . ..” Obviously, you will need a qualified attorney to interpret this provision as it applies to the facts of your case before a specific date for your statute of limitations is calculated. Unless you are a licensed attorney versed in this area of law, our Firm does NOT recommend that you rely upon your own interpretation of this provision or your own calculation as to when you think your statute of limitations expires. Because medical malpractice and nursing home negligence claims typically take a significant amount of work and time to evaluate, prepare and file, you must take action as quickly as possible to insure there is adequate time to do what is necessary to maximize your success. The longer you wait, the more likely Brian will not be able to accept representation.
Should I get a copy of my medical records You may think it odd but one of the next things you should do if you have been hurt or injured as a result of medical malpractice or nursing home negligence is a get a complete copy of your medical records. Believe it or not healthcare providers have been known to change your medical records in order to protect themselves and prevent you from seeking justice against them. If you a get copy of your medical records before the doctor, nursing home, or hospital knows you are going to pursue a claim against them, you will be able to better protect yourself from such destruction and/or alteration of the truth. Obviously, the cost of obtaining your records can become a concern for some people. If you are requesting medical records from a hospital in Texas, you should ask them to provide the information in digital or other electronic form. Section 241.154(b)(3) of the TEXAS HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE, places a cap on the amount of money that the hospital can charge you for retrieving and providing your medical records.
Should I contact a Denton County personal injury attorney to schedule a consultation to determine what my rights and responsibilities are regarding my medical malpractice or nursing home negligence claim? Yes. Obviously, medical malpractice and nursing home negligence cases can be extremely complicated. Brian T. Cartwright and Samuel B. Burke with our Firm are board certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Personal Injury Trial Law and Civil Trial Law, respectively, and stand ready to answer your questions and help through this difficult and trying time of your life. Give Brian and Sam a call at (940) 891-0003 for a consultation to help you determine what your rights and responsibilities are.
Alagood Cartwright Burke PC. represents clients in Denton County, including Bartonville, Carrollton, Denton, Double Oak, Flower Mound, Hickory Creek, Highland Village, Justin, Krum, Lake Dallas, Lantana, Lewisville, Little Elm, Pilot Point, Ponder, Sanger, and The Colony. We also represent clients in Cooke County, including Gainesville, Dallas County, Tarrant County, and Wise County, including Decatur.
ARTICLES ON MEDICAL MALPRACTICE:
Statute of Limitations – Medical Negligence and Malpractice (Adults)