Experienced Dallas Medical Malpractice Lawyers, Texas
Holding doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers liable for medical mistakes
Doctors are supposed to make you better, not worse. While most doctors provide competent care, there are too many who operate while they are tired, who fail to properly diagnose your disease, or provide incompetent care. When doctors and healthcare workers are negligent, their mistakes can prove fatal.
At Slack Davis Sanger, our Dallas medical malpractice attorneys represent patients who fail to receive quality medical care. We represent spouses, children, and parents when medical malpractice causes the death of a loved one. Our legal team includes a Legal Nurse Consultant, but we also work with doctors who are specialists in their field. These doctors understand that doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and hospitals caused your pain and suffering, and why they should be held accountable. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.
What is medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice is essentially the failure to provide medical care in accordance with the recognized standards that competent medical practitioners in the same type of practice would have provided. Medical malpractice can include certain specific acts or the failure to take specific precautions. To make a claim for malpractice you must meet these four criteria:
- There must be a relationship between the patient and the healthcare provider.
- The healthcare provider must have violated the duty of care owed to the patient.
- The patient must have sustained an injury as a result of this violation.
- The patient must have damages resulting from this injury.
Not all medical errors result in a viable malpractice claim. For example, if a surgeon is performing a procedure and nicks the bowel of the patient, but discovers the mistake and fixes it quickly, so that the patient does not suffer any effects, then the patient will not have a viable malpractice claim.
If, however, the surgeon does not notice the mistake, and the patient’s bowel contents leak into the patient’s abdomen causing the patient to become infected and ill, and requiring additional surgery, then the patient does have a viable claim for medical malpractice.
Because the feasibility of litigation in health care liability claims is a complicated question, it is in your best interest to call a Dallas medical malpractice lawyer for a free case review. At Slack Davis Sanger, we can handle that review in-house, and let you know what your options may be for proceeding with a claim. If you don’t have a viable claim, we’ll tell you from the start. If you do, we can help you file your lawsuit against the liable providers.
What types of medical malpractice cases do your Dallas injury lawyers handle?
Medical malpractice cases include events that should never occur (called “never events”), gross negligence, and failure to exercise proper care. At Slack Davis Sanger, our Dallas medical malpractice lawyers represent patients and families who suffer catastrophic injuries or wrongful death caused by medical malpractice. We routinely handle claims involving:
Surgical errors. These mistakes include operating on the wrong patient or the wrong part of the body. Surgical mistakes include leaving tools inside the patient, anesthesia mistakes, using medical devices that are defective, and mistakes in the way the surgery is performed.
Diagnostic mistakes. It is critical that physicians make a correct diagnosis so the patient’s treatment process can start as soon as possible. Diagnostic mistakes include failure to diagnose, making incorrect diagnoses, failing to address complications before, during, or after a procedure, and other errors based in negligence.
Medication errors. Doctors need to prescribe the correct medications in the correct dosages for the patient’s disease or disorder. The instructions on how to take the medications need to be correct. Pharmacists need to prepare the correct drugs. Medication errors are often due to:
- Mislabeling medications
- Failing to take an accurate and complete medical history
- Failure to monitor the patient’s reactions to the medications
- Failing to review contraindications for the patients’ existing medications
- Not informing the patient about the possible side effects
- Confusing the drugs that should be given
- Unnecessarily or excessively prescribing opioids for pain management
Failure to obtain informed consent. Patients must be told, in writing, about all the possible risks of surgery, any medical procedures, or any treatment. Failure to provide the patients with these risks may be actionable medical malpractice if harm results.
Emergency room mistakes. Medical malpractice may occur in the ER if the healthcare providers are tired, if the staffing is inadequate, there are communication errors, an inability to handle stress, unclean conditions, and other causes. Be aware, however, that the Legislature has declared that victims of bad care in Emergency Rooms must ordinarily prove gross negligence, rather than the negligence standard of proof that applies in all other health care settings.
Defective medical devices and medications. Doctors need to take steps to ensure the medical products and drugs they use or prescribe have not been recalled or that there is not a medical reason to be concerned about their safety. In addition to the medical malpractice claim, we may file a product liability claim against the makers of the defective devices and medications. Some of the medical products that have been found defective or recalled include
- Transvaginal products
- Cardiac stents
- Hip and knee replacement products
- Robotic surgery equipment
In many cases, the manufacturer of these drugs and devices can be held liable, too, in a product liability claim. If the injuries are not specific to just one person, then a class action lawsuit may be filed against the manufacturer.
Are birth injuries a result of medical malpractice?
Yes, they can be. Obstetrician/ gynecologists and other delivery and pregnancy physicians and nurses need to anticipate the many types of birth injuries that can be prevented or minimized with proper treatment including:
- Erb’s palsy. This disorder can affect the newborn’s nerves and shoulder.
- Damage to the baby’s brain. A newborn’s brain can suffer severe damage if the delivery is prolonged, the brain loses oxygen, or there is physical damage (such as through the use of forceps) to the brain.
- Cerebral palsy. This disorder affects the newborn’s movements.
- Infant brain damage. Brain damage can result from a difficult delivery or unreasonably prolonged labor. Loss of oxygen or physical damage to the head can cause injury to the infant’s brain.
- Failure to anticipate and monitor infections. Infections are a major cause of death and complications in medical procedures. Doctors and healthcare providers need to use every precaution possible to ensure the patient’s medical environment is sterile. Specifically, in infants, infections can be transmitted to the baby from its mother during delivery, and health care providers must be vigilant to prevent this.
Birth defects and medical malpractice
Unlike birth injuries, which are the result of medical negligence, birth defects are often genetic in nature. Conditions like sickle cell anemia, hemophilia, Down syndrome, and Tay Sachs disease are all genetic. Neural tube defects are caused by a lack of folic acid, so even though they are severe, they are not usually actionable birth injuries.
In some cases, a baby’s birth injury is not the result of medical malpractice, but of a dangerous product or medication. The most famous example of this is thalidomide, a sedative prescribed to thousands of women across the world in the 1950s and 1960s to help with their morning sickness. What doctors did not know at the time was that the drug would cause severe birth defects. More recently, the anti-nausea drug Zofran and anti-depressants like Paxil have been linked to heart defects, skull deformities, respiratory distress, persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN), and cleft palate. Birth defect claims are another type of product liability claim.
Are Dallas hospitals safe?
According to the non-profit watchdog organization The Leapfrog Group, there are 12 rated hospitals within the city of Dallas. Most of them scored well, earning an “A” grade, while a few earned a “C.” But even an “A” grade does not mean that the hospital is doing everything right.
To learn more about your local hospital’s safety record, check the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade website.
How long do I have to file a medical malpractice claim in Dallas?
In most cases, you have two years from the date of the negligent act to file a medical malpractice claim in Dallas or anywhere in Texas. There are very limited instances when the statute may be longer than two years, but you should never assume that to be the case. Furthermore, even in those limited situations where there is more than a two-year window for filing, there is still a “statute of repose” in Texas that says you cannot file a claim more than 10 years after the negligent act. The statute of limitations as to minors is in flux, and if you think your child might have been injured by malpractice, you should seek counsel immediately so that valuable rights are not lost.
Note that if you plan on filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, your lawyers must inform any and all providers whom you intend to sue that you will be filing a claim 60 days before you file. Furthermore, Texas law states that you only have 120 days from the date you file your claim to submit your medical expert report.
What all of this means is that the State of Texas makes it incredibly challenging to file a claim, and time is not on your side. Slack Davis Sanger handles all of the necessary forms and requirements, but you have to move fast once you discover you are injured, or you could be time-barred from collecting damages.
Note: federal medical negligence claims have different statutes of limitations and different requirements for filing. Contact Slack Davis Sanger as soon as possible if you wish to file a federal medical malpractice claim.
What damages can be awarded in a medical malpractice case in Dallas?
Dallas medical malpractice patients can demand compensation for:
- All their necessary medical expenses – past and future caused by the medical malpractice, although our Supreme Court allows insurers to recoup most of their payments out of your recovery
- Your income losses including losses through the date of settlement or trial and future financial losses because you cannot work. Note, however, that in a death case, you may be subject to caps on income loss by the deceased. Despite the tort-reformers’ claims that economic losses are not capped, they are capped in death cases.
- Your physical pain and mental anguish, physical impairment, and disfigurement – up to the cap limits
- The loss of consortium and companionship with your spouse, again, up to the cap limits.
The statute limits the non-economic damages that can be awarded in medical malpractice cases. Noneconomic damages (mostly, pain and suffering) are capped at $250,000 per claimant when only one provider is named, and at $500,000 if both physician and institutional providers are named. There is no cap on economic damages in injury cases, (although there are in death cases) and those losses therefore make up the bulk of medical malpractice claims. While these draconian caps are in place to protect insurance companies and providers, not patients, rest assured that most economic damages – your medical bills, your lost wages – are not capped.
Do you have a Dallas medical malpractice attorney near me?
Slack Davis Sanger’s Dallas location is 3500 Maple Ave, Suite #1200. We’re in the Parkside Tower, across from Reverchon Recreation Center. Parking is available.
Get strong experienced help when medical malpractice changes your life
It is critical that you speak with an experienced Dallas medical malpractice lawyer as quickly as possible after medical malpractice occurs. You need to make sure that whatever corrective legal action is possible be taken as soon as you can. At Slack Davis Sanger, we help you asses your medical situation and chart a path forward. To discuss how our ethical and skilled Dallas medical malpractice attorneys fight for injured patients and their families, please call 800-455-8686 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free case review.
3500 Maple Avenue
Dallas, TX 75219
Main Dallas Practice Areas