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It has been 3 months since my ACL surgery, but it tore again. Can I sue my doctor for malpractice?

Houston, TX |

I had my meniscus removed and an ACL reconstruction on 08-28-2012. I went to every single physical therapy. I followed all the doctors instructions. But apparently on my last visit (11-20-12) he said that it seems that my knee was a little loose. I had new MRI and X-rays taken and he called me today (12-2-12) saying that I tore my ACL again and that i need a new surgery. He said that i have to pay for it because it has been more that 3 months. I do not want to pay for a new surgery because I feel like he should be liable for the surgery. After surgery he never checked my knee because he said the tissue was still healing. He checked my knee this last time because I asked him to. I don't know what to do because i already spent a lot of money in this surgery. Can i sue him for this?

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Attorney answers 5


You need an expert opinion that the care fell short of standards, and substantial damages in order to prevail in a medical malpractice case. It is going to be tough for you to find a lawyer who will take on the case because ACL reconstructions do fail sometimes through nobody's fault. If this happened in TX, it will be even tougher to find a lawyer to help you because of "tort reform" that helps doctors and makes it harder for patients to sue.

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ACL surgeries can fail through no fault of the surgeon. Just because the surgery was not successful does not mean there was malpractice.

You may have a hard time finding an attorney since your damages will be limited to just another surgery and rehab. Your medical records have to be reviewed to see if there was malpractice so contact a local malpractice attorney.

Good luck.

DISCLAIMER: David J. McCormick is licensed to practice law in the State of Wisconsin and this answer is being provided for informational purposes only because the laws of your jurisdiction may differ. This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. Under no circumstances does this answer constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship.


I haven't seen the latest research, but the last time I checked, approximately 30% of these repairs fail. However, the only way to truly know if you have a claim is to retain a med mal lawyer in your state who can order your records and send to an expert to review.

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Yes, you can sue your doctor. The Texas constitution guarantees all citizens free access to our courts. Anyone can sue anyone, at any time, anywhere, for any reason and for any amount of money, all without first proving anything to anyone. However, filing a lawsuit and winning one are two entirely different things.

I agree with the other lawyers who have responded that you should consult a Houston med mal plaintiffs' lawyer, but you may have trouble finding one who is interested in taking your case. Med mal cases are very expensive and time-consuming for a plaintiffs' lawyer to develop and discover. In order for a case to be attractive to one, liability must be clear, or at least probable, and the recoverable damages must be substantial enough to reimburse all costs, put some money in the client's pocket and still have enough left over to afford the lawyer a fair fee for his or her work. The facts you state, standing alone, do not represent a case of clear liability and your recoverable damages do not appear to be very substantial.

I am sorry to be the bearer of the above unpleasant tidings.

Good luck.


I am a Houston medical malpractice attorney. I represent plaintiffs. I do not think you'd have a winning case.

Knee repairs like yours are not always 100% successful. A surgeon can perform the surgery perfectly and it can still fail and necessitate a revision procedure. That your knee repair failed is not anywhere close to proof that the doctor erred.

Further, you are alive, not brain damaged, and you've not spent the last several months in ICU. Ergo, Texas medical malpractice tort reform laws would say that your damages are sadly insufficient to economically justify the massive expense of litigation. Damage caps and limitations on your claim for medical expenses would dramatically lower any reasonable "settlement value" of your case, even if your claim of error was strong. This is Texas today. Unfortunately, a whole bunch of your neighbors voted for this and voluntarily stripped themselves (and you) of a lot of constitutional rights. If this frustrates you as much as it does me, I suggest you consider this the next time you vote. And complain to a state representative.

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