When Can You Sue a Hospital in Texas?
At some point in our lives, we all spend some time at the hospital, either as a visitor or as a patient. We trust that the professionals working there will take care of us and make sure our health is in good shape. Sadly, this is not always the case. Unfortunately, many patients are injured and suffer the consequences of medical negligence in the U.S. Many medical negligence injury victims may wonder if they can sue the hospital for the oversight of their doctors. The Dallas medical malpractice lawyers at The Queenan Law Firm, P.C., invite you to keep reading as we discuss this critical question.
Can I Sue a Hospital in Texas?
If you or a loved one were injured in a hospital from medical malpractice, an allergic reaction to medication, hospital infection, or other hospital injury, you may have countless questions and doubts about how to proceed. For instance, one of the first questions injured victims may ask is, “Can I sue the hospital?” The short answer to this question is yes. However, there are specific circumstances under which you may be able to sue a hospital due to medical negligence. The hospital, as an institution, must provide all necessary and adequate assistance to improve the health of those suffering from an ailment. Therefore, you may be able to file a claim against a hospital due to negligence.
Different from filing a claim against negligent individuals, suing a hospital covers a wide range of circumstances for which the institution may be found liable. For instance, a hospital may be found negligent for not making sure their medical staff and healthcare providers were updated with the latest in medical information; continuing education is paramount in making sure all patients are appropriately attended. Also, hospitals are responsible for hiring professionals who meet the standards of a skilled, knowledgeable doctor. This is what is known as the “medical standard of care,” which we will expand on later.
In many cases, the hospital may be liable under a legal doctrine known as “respondeat superior.” Under this doctrine, a superior is responsible for the acts of their subordinates. In other words, this legal principle holds a hospital liable for the actions of their employees.
There are situations where establishing liability on the part of the hospital may be difficult. For instance, a doctor accused of a birth injury, brain injury, or wrongful death may not necessarily be an indication that the hospital acted negligently. This happens because most doctors are not direct employees for the hospital they serve. Instead, most surgeons, specialists, and other medical professionals are considered independent contractors. An independent contractor is a professional that renders services for an institution (a construction company, business, hospital, agency, etc.) but who is not a direct employee. This is the way that hospitals avoid liability for the negligence of doctors and other healthcare providers.
However, the protection a hospital has against negligence from independent contractors is not absolute. There are exceptions to this protection. For instance, an injured victim may be able to sue the medical institution if it seemed to him and others that the hospital was a direct employer of the doctor. Furthermore, you may able to sue a hospital if they employed an incompetent, unskilled, or inexperienced doctor and keep them on their staff regardless.
Things to Consider Before Suing a Hospital in Texas
Being a victim of medical malpractice is something that can change the course of your life. It is understandable that medical malpractice victims may want to sue whoever is responsible for their injuries. However, there are many things to consider before filing a lawsuit against a hospital. Some of the things you should pay close attention to before filing a lawsuit include:
As we established before, not every medical malpractice case makes a hospital liable. Therefore, establishing liability for your injuries is essential to your case. The first thing you should do is determine who is responsible for your losses. Pay close attention to the details surrounding your case. Is your treating physician an independent contractor? Is your doctor a direct employee of your hospital? These are fundamental questions that can help you determine where liability lies and who you can sue after medical malpractice occurs.
Determining Your Losses
Another vital step is determining the extent of your losses. As you know, medical bills can pile up quickly for things like surgery, therapy, medical treatment, and other healthcare needs. This is especially true for people who have to receive treatment after a medical error. For instance, there may be people who have to go through corrective surgery after medical negligence. The therapy associated with the recovery process can be extensive and can bury the victim under substantial debt.
There may be times where the hospital wants to settle your case by offering a determined amount of money. Many times, hospitals provide a settlement to avoid going to court. However, it is recommended to consult with a lawyer before making any decisions. Filing a lawsuit may give you a better chance at more significant compensation for things like medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Determining the Statute of Limitations
Make sure you are aware of the time limit you have to file your lawsuit. Every state has what is known as a “statute of limitations.” In Texas, a plaintiff has up to two years from the moment the medical negligence occurred to file their claim. If you fail to file your lawsuit within that time window, your case may be dismissed.
Medical Malpractice Attorney Handling Hospital Negligence Cases in Texas
People who have been victims of medical malpractice have to go through difficult situations to get their lives back on track. The pain, frustration, and hopelessness they feel also affects their families and loved ones. That is why we dedicate our practice to fighting aggressively in the name of those who have been injured by medical negligence. To learn more about our services and how we can help you with your case, call our Texas personal injury lawyers at The Queenan Law Firm, P.C., today at (817) 476-1797.