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Can You Deduct Your Legal Fees?

If you have to pay a lawyer for their services, you’ll likely be interested making it less expensive in most any way you can. There are some legal fees that are tax deductible, but these types of legal fees tend to have to do with taxes themselves and finance, rather than with personal legal bills. […]

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Medical Malpractice Claim Tips

Medical malpractice claims are among the most intimidating lawsuits to pursue. First and foremost, you’re having your medical information revealed in court, which isn’t a very pleasant experience for most people. Second, you’re going up against medical doctors and experts who will fight you at every step of the way. The following information might help […]

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What’s the Difference Between Negligence and Incompetence?

Knowing The Difference Between Negligence and Incompetence is Critical

There is a difference between the words negligence and incompetence. The word negligence is generally heard in legal proceedings when an attorney is trying to establish that their client somehow came to harm because of the negligent actions of a defendant. A defendant who is negligent may or may not be incompetent. A negligent action, however, does not need to be incompetent, nor does it need to be a sign of general incompetence.

Incompetence

The word incompetent simply means that a person does not posess the requisite skills to perform a given task. It doesn’t mean that the person is lacking in intelligence, is habitually careless or anything other than their lack of specific skills.

For example, a person may be a fully competent driver, but put them on a professional racetrack and they will instantly be exposed as being completely incompetent when it comes to driving a racecar. Incompetence is situational and related to the job being performed. A negligent doctor can actually be an incredibly accomplished physician and not incompetent in any regard. It’s important to understand this where lawsuits are concerned.

Negligence

Negligence implies that somebody either failed to do something in a competent manner or a careful manner. A physician who was incompetent in delivering care, for instance, may be found to have been negligent by a jury. A physician who very competently delivered the wrong care, however, would also be likely to be found to have been negligent, if their patient were to have come to harm.

Negligence always takes into account the person being accused of it. For instance, using the above example with drivers, being able to perform the types of maneuvers that police officers, racecar drivers, EMTs and other professional drivers can perform is not expected of your average everyday driver. In such cases, you’ll commonly hear terms such as “a reasonable person” or “a normal person”. These might seem like rather subjective descriptions, but they refer to what can reasonably be expected of the average person in a given situation.

A perfectly competent driver may be outrageously negligent in a given situation. For example, a driver who gets behind the wheel drunk is being negligent. He may be an excellent driver, but driving intoxicated constitutes a negligent act. When you’re looking at lawsuits, remember that words are everything. Keep in mind that, simply because somebody was fully competent at their job, it doesn’t mean that they weren’t negligent in regards to how they made you come to harm.

It is always prudent to consult an attorney in serious legal matters. Most attorneys practicing injury law offer free consultation and in many cases, have contigency based fees.

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Improper Monitoring and Birth Injury Lawsuits

It is understood that a newborn child needs to be monitored closely to ensure that there are no issues. A lawsuit filed this year in Texas alleges that the doctors responsible for delivering a child were negligent by not providing the type of monitoring that would’ve allowed them to detect the symptoms of a serious disorder. The disorder in question was hyperbilirubinemia. Hyperbilirubinemia is a condition that involves the liver being unable to process bilirubin. That chemical collects in the blood and can lead to many different problems. Among those problems are brain injuries.

Unfortunately, the child in the lawsuit allegedly did suffer permanent injuries due to this condition. To make the situation even more tragic, the condition itself is easily treated with modern technology and, according to the lawsuit, if proper monitoring had been provided, the child may not have suffered at all.

Understanding Birth Injury Lawsuits

Birth injury lawsuits involve a range of different conditions. The one with which most people are likely familiar is cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy, however, is a condition that results from a brain injury and that brain injury can occur because of many different reasons. A short list of those reasons includes:

Infections
Cutting off the child’s air supply
Too little amniotic fluid in the womb
Delayed cesarean sections
Negligent monitoring of the infant

Figuring out whether or not you do have legitimate cause to file a lawsuit against a physician or a healthcare facility is difficult. If a child is born with a brain injury or a condition that reveals a brain injury, such as cerebral palsy, a medical investigation is undertaken right away to determine what the cause of that condition actually is.

Unfortunately, many parents end up not pursuing the matter and, quite understandably, they’re simply glad that their child is alive. As time progresses, however, it becomes apparent that caring for a child with a serious medical condition is extremely expensive and many families simply do not have the financial wherewithal to provide the best treatment available. Attorneys can step in to help parents and children who have been the victims of medical negligence in one regard or another.

Who Gets Sued?

The party that ends up being sued depends upon the circumstances of the delivery. There have been cases where a child should have been delivered by cesarean section and where that was delayed, which ended up in the physician being sued. There have also been cases where midwives have failed to provide adequate medical care, leading to permanent injuries.

You will have to speak to a personal injury attorney to determine your options. You will need to do this quickly, as there are limitations on how long you have to sue over a birth injury.

 

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Amputation Leads to Malpractice Lawsuit

A man whose gangrenous toe was not treated in time ended up having to go through a below-the-knee amputation due to the spread of the infection, according to a lawsuit. The lawsuit, reported in SETexasRecord.com, was filed in Jefferson County over an incident that occurred in 2009.

The lawsuit alleges that the patient went to a podiatry clinic with gangrene in his toe. There was no treatment offered at that time, according to the report, and, upon a later visit, the toe was amputated. The infection had spread and, a week after the operation, the patient was forced to have his leg amputated below the knee due to that infection. The lawsuit alleges that the patient’s condition was not treated in time. The patient suffered from diabetes, peripheral vascular disease and renal disease.

The patient in this claim is suing for the medical expenses he endured, pain, impairment, disfigurement, mental anguish and lost wages.

Malpractice Lawsuits

Right now in Texas, medical malpractice lawsuits are the subject of heated political debates. This tends to create a situation where most of the information in the media about medical malpractice lawsuits have to do with politics than it has to do with the patients who are wronged by physicians. This lawsuit has yet to be heard, but there are many instances when patients do not receive the care that they need in a timely fashion and who do, therefore, end up going through much more serious and disfiguring treatments to deal with the consequences of that. In many cases, these are the same instances where those patients end up hiring a personal injury attorney to represent them.

Are they Frivolous?

It is likely that some people are considering political dimensions when they are considering whether they should file a medical malpractice claim. A medical malpractice claim, in reality, is not a political thing. A medical malpractice claim is a patient’s right when a doctor is in breach of their duty to that patient. In some cases, the breach of duty is egregious and the patient ends up suffering horrendous pain, disfigurement or permanent impairment because of that malpractice.

Medical malpractice claims can help people who were injured by negligent physicians to recover the costs of their medical treatments, their lost wages, compensation for their pain and suffering and more. These lawsuits are oftentimes the only ways that patients have to get any compensation at all for what they’ve been put through.

If you are considering a medical malpractice lawsuit, talk to a Houston personal injury attorney about the matter. Don’t worry about what media or politicians have to say about medical malpractice lawsuits; if you are injured, they are among your rights and sometimes are your best option.

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Making Sense of Medical Malpractice

Here in Texas, there is a constant stream of news regarding medical malpractice. The fact is that medical malpractice is a real thing and, unfortunately, it’s also a fact that there is a lot of information out there that is designed to make you feel guilty or like you’re running a scam if you sue a doctor for malpractice. The following information may help you to sort through it all and to understand your rights if a doctor breeches their duty to you.

The News

Texas has caps on medical malpractice. This is a very political issue and, outside of the dichotomy that the media likes to hammer on, there are many interests involved in this law. Take a look at the news and you’ll see conflicting information being pumped out all over. Some stories say the caps have done nothing and other stories say it has made Texas safe for doctors again.

Make sure you keep in mind that suing a doctor for malpractice is sometimes the only way that the victims of the doctors and their families are ever going to get enough money to pay for the fallout. There are a lot of stories about people abusing the system. There are also many cases, both in the past an ongoing, where people were given the wrong operation, the wrong medication, where a deadly condition was missed because of negligent diagnoses and where patients were otherwise wronged.

If you were the victim of malpractice, you need to talk to a lawyer, not to political operatives, media pundits or advocates for any type of law. You need someone to represent your interests, not someone who represents insurance companies or doctors who would rather that they have the safety of knowing that even the most egregious acts of malpractice aren’t going to get them in enough trouble for them to really worry about it.

Why Attorneys Matter

When you’re the victim of malpractice, you’re going to be at a disadvantage. You may be dismissed outright by the doctor or medical facility responsible or you might be offered a settlement, which amounts to money that’s basically given so that you’ll be quiet and go away. The attorneys for the healthcare provider’s insurance company can make you feel like you’ll never get any more money than they’re offering; it’s their job.

A Houston medical malpractice attorney will represent you and only you. If you’ve been the victim of medical malpractice, don’t go it alone, don’t take a settlement without consulting an attorney and don’t feel guilty. The only ones who should feel guilty are the doctor or healthcare facility who wronged you.

 

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Negligent Physicians not Being Sanctioned: Report

Public Citizen, a citizen advocacy organization, has conducted a study revealing that 459 physicians working in Texas who have been sanctioned by hospitals and other healthcare providers have not been disciplined by the state medical board. According to a report in KXAN, a letter was sent to Governor Rick Perry detailing the results of the finding. The study was conducted by analyzing 21 years of data collected in the National Practitioner Data Bank.

Not Following Standards

The report details that the state medical board does not receive all of the funding generated by fees and fines. In fact, according to the report, even though $30 million are collected annually, the board only receives one third of that amount.

The report also details that there are open cases that date back as far as 2005. In total, the report found that 454 cases had been open for one year or more. The KXAN report goes on to detail that some of the disciplinary actions taken by healthcare facilities were for rather egregious infractions. They include sexual misconduct, endangering the lives of patients, negligence, drug abuse and alcohol abuse and insurance fraud, among other infractions.

Some of the malpractice claims that these physicians faced included failure to treat, failure to diagnose, performing unnecessary procedures and even wrongful death. With the state authority charged with overseeing doctors receiving only a third of the funding that it collects, many of these cases remain open and unresolved. Of course, that also means that any disciplinary actions that the state could take against these physicians are not being taken and that they may well continue to represent a threat to their patients.

Medical Malpractice

Fixing a broken regulatory system is a political task, but medical malpractice is a legal issue. Whenever a physician takes you on as a patient, they have an obligation to provide you with competent care, accurate diagnosis and to adhere to certain ethical guidelines. When they do not, one of your options for rectifying the situation is seeking compensation via a lawsuit. Texas does have limitations on how much you can be awarded in a medical malpractice claim, but a skillful Houston medical malpractice attorney can ensure that you maximize your chances of winning your claim.

Filing a Claim

The first step in filing a medical malpractice claim is speaking with an attorney. If you’re not sure whether or not you do have a viable claim, an attorney can give you guidance in this matter. Because most medical malpractice attorneys work on contingency, they’ll have no interest in taking a claim that they don’t think is going to win. If they take your claim, you can be certain that they believe it is valid and that it could win in front of a jury.

 

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When Medical Malpractice May Apply

Medical malpractice lawsuits are sometimes the only ways that the victims of malpractice or their survivors have to get compensation for the negligence of a doctor or a healthcare facility. Understanding when medical negligence may be an issue is imperative. The number one thing to remember is that, if you even suspect negligence, you should talk to an attorney about the matter as soon as possible. Here, however, are some things that you may want to consider.

Failure to Diagnose

Almost half of the medical malpractice claims filed every year involve failure to diagnose in one form or another. It’s important to understand how failure to diagnose can affect a patient.

Failure to diagnose can occur in scenarios that involve a regular visit to a doctor or an emergency room visit. The main thing these claims generally involve is that the doctor missed something that they should’ve caught and, because of that, their patient was brought to harm. An example would be an emergency room doctor failing to diagnose a serious trauma injury that later went on to cause the victim a great deal of financial and personal harm.

It’s important to remember that, if you deliberately concealed information from a doctor that may have led to them making the correct diagnosis, medical malpractice may not apply. For instance, if you were suffering all of the symptoms of diabetes and didn’t tell your physician and the physician didn’t run any tests to determine whether or not you had diabetes, it would be very difficult to argue that the physician is at all responsible for that. Failure to diagnose applies when the doctor should have known but did not.

Wrong Treatments

The incorrect treatment or surgery for a condition can end up causing a great deal of harm to patients. Being given the wrong treatment is one of the most common reasons that people file a medical malpractice claim. Not only may the treatment itself – particularly if it is a surgery – cause the patient to go through pain and suffering, loss of wages, physical harm, mental trauma and other hardships, it may cause the condition they actually had to worsen. If your physician has ordered an incorrect treatment for you and if you have suffered because of it, you should speak with an attorney.

What if You Don’t Know?

Again, speaking with an attorney is the best move if you’re not sure whether or not you were the victim of medical malpractice. A Houston medical malpractice attorney will be able to listen to your story and determine if it seems like medical malpractice was an issue in how you came to harm. This area of the law is particularly complex and, in Texas, it has been changed in recent years. You’ll want to make certain that you find an attorney who understands this law to a very exacting degree and who is willing to sit down and listen to you during a consultation. Consultations are usually free, so there’s no harm in calling an attorney and asking if you could meet with them.

 

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Malpractice and Practitioners

If you go to a hospital, you’ll be handled by many different people and many of those people will belong to different departments. It’s important to understand that malpractice lawsuits can be brought against individuals other than your attending physician. For example, an article in Diagnostic Imaging details a claim that was brought against a radiologist, which is likely not the first person that somebody who has been the victim of medical malpractice would think to sue.

Failure to Communicate

In the claim detailed in the article, a radiologist was sued for malpractice in 2011 in Pennsylvania due to failing to communicate important information to the patient. The patient had one chest x-ray done, which showed, according to the article, increased density in the lungs.

The problem came after a second x-ray was recommended and taken. The results of that x-ray was never given to the patient, who ended up suffering with inoperable lung cancer.

In order for patients receive quality, competent care, all of the different departments within a healthcare facility have to communicate with one another, and with that the patient, effectively. In some instances, situations where hospital staff does not communicate with one another can end up in disaster, as is detailed in the case above.

Suing

If you’re considering filing a lawsuit for medical malpractice, you may actually wonder whom it is you would sue. You may know that you got treated poorly by healthcare a facility, but speaking with the lawyer may reveal surprising information about who would ultimately be as possible for the negligence that caused you to suffer. In some cases, it may be the radiologist. It may also be the healthcare facility itself, an ER technician who did not take enough time to notice that you had a serious problem or someone else involved in your healthcare who failed you.

There are limitations on how long you have to file a medical malpractice claim after the incident has occurred. If you believe that you may have been the victim of medical malpractice, you should speak with an attorney, whether or not you’re even considering suing. Attorneys generally offer free consultations and, at those consultations, they’ll be able to get any of their questions answered and to see if there is information that they need to follow up on. They can determine from this whether or not it seems logical for you to sue and why.

If it’s unclear how a healthcare provider failed you, ask an attorney what they think. Even if it doesn’t persuade you to go ahead and sue or convince you not to sue at all, you’ll at least have an expert opinion to work with when you decide whether or not a healthcare facility or someone within it owes you compensation.

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Eye Surgery and Medical Malpractice

Corrective surgeries such as LASIK are becoming extremely popular. It’s no wonder that this is the case. People with very compromised vision, through these surgeries, are sometimes restored to 20/20 vision. The idea that you could go from being dependent upon eyeglasses or contact lenses to seeing with the same level of clarity you did when you were a child is certainly appealing. Unfortunately, these surgeries can go horribly wrong and, when they do, the consequences can be dire.

Haloes

One of the common side effects of botched LASIK surgery is the appearance of halos around any source of light in the patient’s vision. Unfortunately, this is sometimes damage that cannot be corrected with other surgeries. This type of medical negligence injury can make it extremely difficult for people to drive at night or, if they happen to be dependent upon their eyes for their work – such as if they are a graphic designer – it may make it virtually impossible for them to continue on in the field for which they are trained.

Destroyed Vision

There are instances where people have had their vision destroyed by LASIK. Some of the damage includes permanent double vision, nearsightedness or farsightedness that can no longer be corrected with glasses, and astigmatism.

People have ended up with these types of injuries for many different reasons. There had even been instances when doctors have left debris underneath the lens of the eye or when they have improperly reattached the lens, leaving folds in it that obstruct vision. Obviously, these situations can lead to blindness.

Medical Negligence

Any physician, including the physicians that perform LASIK surgery, is responsible for providing their patients with competent care. When they fail in this regard, they can be sued for medical malpractice. A LASIK provider that failed to deliver on giving you competent care may be liable for being sued because of this. It’s important to speak with an attorney, however, because medical malpractice claims are complex and the attorney needs to understand whether or not what actually happened points to negligence. The consultation is generally free when you’re speaking with a lawyer who handles medical malpractice, so don’t be afraid to phone a Houston lawyer and ask them if they would be willing to represent you or, at least, if they would be willing to sit down for a free consultation.

Discount Surgeries and Negligence

LASIK has become so common and so accepted that surgeons compete on price. When you consider this, it’s a lot different than how most surgeries work. Physicians generally do not compete for price on necessary procedures, such as removing your appendix or removing a tumor. When profits become more important than people, people sometimes end up being permanently injured because of physician negligence. If you had LASIK surgery performed and you ended up suffering permanent eye injury as a result of it, don’t hesitate to contact an attorney. Losing one’s vision permanently, or having it compromised in some way, is a nightmare. With effective representation, you may at least be able to receive compensation for your injuries and pain and suffering.

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Q & A

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Product & Other Liabilities

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Liability

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  • Liability Law and Motorcycle Accidents

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  • Product Liability Tips

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