The Perils of Tort Reform

When you have been harmed by a doctor’s negligence, you would hope that your recovery would be reflective of the extent of the harm you suffered.  Sadly, because of something known as "tort reform," Texas law no longer fully protect patients who have been harmed by the negligence of their doctors.  "Tort reform" refers to proposed changes in the civil justice system that aim to reduce the ability of victims to bring tort litigation or to reduce damages they can receive.  Tort reform has had an immense impact on medical malpractice suits, limiting the amount of damages a patient or his/her family can recover when a doctor or hospital engages in negligent conduct.

In Texas, beginning in 2003, damage caps were applied to three situations, including medical malpractices cases.  Under the Medical Malpractice and Tort Reform Act of 2003, a cap was placed on non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.  Under this Act, a person could sue a doctor or healthcare practitioner for no more than $250,000 and each healthcare facility involved for $250,000 not to exceed $500,000 among all facilities involved in the incident. Thus, the maximum amount a person can receive from non-economic damages in a medical malpractice case is $750,000 adjusted for inflation since 2003.

In the context of medical malpractice and wrongful death claims, the cap for total recovery (combined economic and non-economic damages) is $500,000.  This amount is the maximum amount you can receive for all types of damages combined: compensatory and exemplary (economic, non-economic, and damages for punishment).

The goal of tort reform was to discourage frivolous lawsuits and to lower the insurance rates for doctors.  However, tort reform has left countless individuals in a state of peril due to not being able to recover for grievous harm done by doctors and hospitals.

If you or a loved one were injured or think you may have been injured because of the malpractice of a doctor or hospital, contact our lawyers for a free and confidential case evaluation. Call 1-866-LAW-2400 or complete the contact form on this website.

Read More