Medical Malpractice & Wrongful Death
Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, nurse, physician’s assistant, medical resident or other healthcare practitioner fails to adhere to the required standards of care and causes your medical condition or makes an existing condition worse. Wrongful death is a legal claim for damages resulting from a family member’s death. They are different legal actions but they can be combined if the death of a family member was directly caused by the willful intent or the negligence of your deceased family member’s healthcare practitioner. Many lawyers refuse to handle either of these kinds of claims because they are afraid of suing large insurance companies and healthcare corporations that are often part of these lawsuits. That doesn’t scare Jon, and he has successfully sued some of the largest insurance companies in the country.
While healthcare professionals are only human and certainly make mistakes, they are held to certain standards of care and levels of training. When patients are injured as a direct result of the healthcare professional’s failure to follow those standards of care or because they lack training, those mistakes are not O.K.
It is important to know that medical malpractice cases can be lengthy, complex and expensive. Sometimes, despite the fact that your injuries have changed your life, pursuing a lawsuit would only drain your wallet instead of make you whole. Jon will review the facts of your case and help you decide whether filing a lawsuit is worthwhile for you.
If you and Jon determine that a lawsuit should be filed, it will be your burden as the plaintiff (the person bringing the suit) to prove the following:
• Your healthcare provider owed you a duty;
• He or she didn’t follow the directed standard of care;
• As a result, you were injured, and
• Your injury is significant enough that it will affect you for the rest of your life.
If you believe that you have a claim, contact Jon immediately. You will need to act quickly to be sure your suit is filed before the cutoff date (statute of limitations.) As with any lawsuit, you will need to help Jon make the most of your claims by:
• Keeping track of every medical procedure you’ve experienced since your initial injury;
• Documenting all medications you have taken since your initial injury;
• Recording any/all time you have missed from work because of your injury – including whether you have lost your job;
• Detailing expenses that have accrued because of the injury. This includes bills from hospital stays, physicians, caretakers, pharmacies, and more.
The law requires that at least one medical expert testify that the standard of care was not followed in your particular case. While those experts can be difficult to find and expensive, the Powell Law Firm has experts you can turn to.
Jon has successfully handled and continues to pursue the following type of medical malpractice cases:
• Healthcare Acquired Infections (Hospitals and Nursing Homes) — Healthcare acquired infections can range from pneumonia to Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) to sepsis – all of which can lead to death. When the healthcare providers do not follow their own standard of care in addressing these types of hospital acquired infections, the providers can be liable for the injuries or illness you or a loved one suffers.
• Falls with broken bones — Hospital and nursing home patients are more prone to fall because they are often sedated, weak, etc. Hospitals and nursing homes have protocols in place to protect people from getting hurt from falling out of beds or machines. When those protocols are not followed, patients can suffer significant injuries.
• HMO Negligence – This occurs when the HMO does not refer patients to the appropriate specialist and/or doesn’t follow its own protocol for caring for patients. If an HMO has refused a referral to a specialist or denied access to a recommended procedure, and you have been harmed by this, you may have a claim.
• Misdiagnosis of Cancer
In Texas, the surviving spouse, children and parents of the deceased may file a wrongful death claim, but surviving siblings are barred from doing so. The act that caused the death may have been reckless, negligent or intentional, as long as it would have allowed the deceased to file a lawsuit had he or she not died.
The primary purpose of damages awarded in wrongful death cases is to compensate the surviving family members for the losses they suffer because of the untimely death of their family member. Some of those losses include:
• Lost earning capacity,
• Lost care, maintenance, services, support, advice and counsel the deceased would have provided the surviving family members,
• Mental and emotional anguish, pain and suffering,
• Lost love, companionship, comfort and society, and
• Lost inheritance including what the deceased would likely have saved and left to surviving family members if he or she had lived a normal expected lifetime.
If a claim is successful, damages are divided among the surviving family members in proportion to the injury each suffered as a result of their loved one’s death. In some cases, damages known as punitive or exemplary damages may be awarded. They are not meant to compensate the surviving family members for their loss, but to punish the wrongdoer or to serve as an example to others that such willful acts or omissions, or gross negligence are not allowed.
If you believe you may have a wrongful death claim, contact Jon right away. Such claims must be filed within two years of the family member’s death. Like medical malpractice and other personal injury claims, Jon will help you determine whether it is worthwhile to pursue a lawsuit. You will need to help Jon by providing as much tangible evidence of your damages as possible. That includes documentation of the deceased’s income, the manner in which he or she provided for you, any medical treatment you have received, any/all time you have missed from work and any expenses that have accrued all as a direct result of your loved one’s death.
My wife died in June 2001. I believed her death was due to the negligence of her doctors, a medical group and her HMO insurance company. When I approached Jon, he had several medical experts review my case and ultimately filed a lawsuit on my behalf. In 2005, after 19 days of trial and three days of jury deliberations, the jury returned a verdict in our favor. The defendants’ attorneys filed multiple motions to dismiss the case and then overturn the verdict but none were successful. Jon and his co-counsel worked long and hard for my family and me and it is because of their dedicated belief in our case that it was successfully resolved. My family and I have referred and will continue to refer individuals to him because we know he will listen, use all resources available to him and will work hard to get answers for anyone who believes they have been wronged.
– John S.
Negligence and Gross Negligence Claim