Can I Sue My Doctor for Negligence?

We trust our doctors to take care of our health and to cause no harm. If you suffered an unexpected injury during the course of medical treatment, you might be asking if you can sue your doctor for negligence

Medical negligence suits can be emotionally difficult for patients whose doctors were trying to help. But, this challenging course of action is sometimes required to make injured patients whole again. 

It’s okay if you’re not sure whether you have a medical malpractice or medical negligence case.  Here are a few things to know about bringing a medical negligence claim against a healthcare practitioner.

Factors for Deciding Medical Negligence

Texas medical professionals owe a duty of care to their patients. Professionals subject to this duty include:

  • Nurses
  • Physician’s assistants
  • Doctors
  • Pharmacists, and
  • Anesthesiologists.

The duty of care requires medical professionals to act within a standard of conduct to protect a person from unreasonable risk. 

Medical professionals are held to the standard of care of a reasonable doctor in a similar situation. If another medical professional who had similar experience and education would have acted differently, there may be a breach of the standard of care. 

But a breach in the standard of care is not enough for a successful medical malpractice claim.  

To successfully prove a malpractice claim, you must show:

  • The existence of a doctor-patient relationship
  • The medical professional breached the duty of care
  • You sustained an actual injury 
  • The causal connection between the medical professional’s act and your injury

Establishing the facts required to meet the burden of proof can be difficult. For such a complex case, you want a personal injury lawyer with a depth of experience managing medical negligence cases. 

Breach of Duty

Limitless mistakes can be made when trying to heal the human body. Some medical mistakes can be deadly. How can we decide whether a medical professional’s best efforts were negligent?

If a medical professional’s act or omission leads to a severe infection, they breached their duty of care. What if they botched your Botox? Is it malpractice if it looks bad?

Medical malpractice cases are fact-specific. If you’ve been injured while receiving treatment from a medical professional, you want to consult with a personal injury attorney. 

Medical professionals have a duty to obtain a patient’s informed consent to medical treatment. This means that they have to make sure the patient understands the nature of the medical treatment, its potential outcomes, both positive and negative, and any unintended impacts that could occur. If a medical professional provides treatment without first getting informed consent, they risk medical malpractice claims. 

Physicians often get a patient’s express consent to treatment. When a doctor diagnoses a sprained muscle, they may recommend several treatments, like: 

  • Using ice to alleviate inflammation in the muscle, 
  • Electrical stimulation to gently engage and relax the muscle, and 
  • Physical rehabilitation and therapy to strengthen the muscle.

For each potential course of treatment, the doctor should tell the patient the benefits and risks. Once the patient is made aware, they can agree to submit to the treatment. 

In some situations, medical professionals may defend their actions on the basis of implied consent.  Implied consent assumes a patient agreed to treatment, without expressly stating their agreement, based on the patient’s actions. 

In cases involving implied consent, the issue is whether a reasonable person would believe a patient is consenting to a procedure, based on the patient’s actions. For example, whether a nod or thumbs up from a patient in the middle of a procedure constitutes the patient’s consent to continue a course of action.