Dallas Doctor Negligence Attorney
When you visit your doctor, you assume that he or she will listen to your health concerns, diagnose your condition, and administer treatment in a safe and prudent way. Doctors have a duty to provide reasonable care to patients. If a doctor breaches this duty, it can cause a variety of physical and emotional damages. With the right lawyer by your side, the courts will find a negligent doctor responsible for your injuries and award you compensation.
Proving Doctor Negligence
It is important to note that just because a patient is unhappy with medical treatment does not automatically constitute a medical malpractice claim. Even if the patient has proof that the doctor acted negligently, if the patient did not suffer any damages from the negligence, he or she does not have grounds to file a claim. Successful medical malpractice cases require that a patient prove four things:
- The doctor owed the patient a standard of care. All doctors owe patients standards of care. A patient must only prove that the defendant was his or her doctor at the time of the injury.
- The doctor breached the standard of care. When a doctor deviates from the accepted method of treatment that another medical professional would apply in the same circumstances, it is a breach of care.
- The breach caused the patient’s injury. The patient must prove the doctor’s breach of standards directly caused his or her injury. If a doctor prescribed the wrong medication but it did not do any harm, for example, the patient may not have a case.
- The patient suffered damages. Finally, a patient must show that the breach resulted in damages, either physical, mental, emotional, or property. If a doctor’s negligence did not result in damages, there is nothing for which to pursue compensation.
Only plaintiffs who can fulfill their burdens of proof will have a medical malpractice case. To prove a negligent doctor caused your injuries, you will want to gather medical receipts, test results, doctor’s notes, and pictures of injuries. Your attorney will hire an expert key witness, typically a doctor, to offer a medical perspective as evidence to support your case.
Damages Available in a Medical Malpractice Case
A patient can suffer numerous damages because of a negligent doctor, from emotional distress to permanent disabilities and death. The court-awarded damages for medical malpractice are different on a case-by-case basis. If your medical malpractice case is successful, you can receive general, special, and punitive damages.
General damages are your costs of personal suffering, including emotional distress, mental suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of future earning capacity. To place a dollar value on general damages, the court will look at your age and level of pain and suffering. In Texas, there is a $250,000 damage cap for general damages.
Special damages are economic losses you suffered due to your injuries, including lost wages and medical expenses. The courts will look at your medical bills and salary, as well as an estimate of future medical costs, to determine special damages. The courts will award the third type of damages (punitive damages) in special cases when the doctor was grossly negligent or reckless. For example, if a doctor intentionally prescribed the wrong medication so you would have to return to the hospital, this behavior would warrant a punitive damages award.
Has a Doctor’s Negligence Injured You?
If you have suffered any type of damage at the hands of a negligent doctor, the Law Office of Stephen W. Shoultz can help you file a medical malpractice claim. Based out of Dallas, Texas, we have the local knowledge and experience you need to give your case its best chance. Call (214) 742-3293 or contact us online for a free case evaluation.