In 2003, Texas residents approved a constitutional amendment (tort reform) to cap non-economic damages at $250,000 for all medical malpractice cases. The vote, called Proposition 12, passed by a narrow margin. Although over a dozen other states also have caps on non-economic medical malpractice damages, the medical error award caps in Texas are completely unfair to wrongful death victims, and those with debilitating lifelong injuries.
While victims of malpractice (and the families of those killed) can still collect uncapped “economic damages” such as hospital bills, lost wages, and expected future medical costs, they can only collect a quarter-million dollars in compensation for pain and suffering, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, etc.
Additionally, as per Texas CPRC §74.303, “in a wrongful death or survival action on a health care liability claim where final judgment is rendered against a physician or health care provider, the limit of civil liability for all damages, including exemplary damages, shall be limited to an amount not to exceed $500,000 for each claimant, regardless of the number of defendant physicians or health care providers against whom the claim is asserted or the number of separate causes of action on which the claim is based.” Adjusted for the change in the consumer price index, this limit is approximately $1.8 million today.
Some believe that these medical malpractice caps encourage doctors to practice in Texas, save hospitals money, and lower insurance premiums. The problem is that countless studies have shown this to be false. In reality, healthcare costs are rising, healthcare insurance premiums are higher, and there has actually been a decline in physician supply. In fact, Texas has significantly fewer primary care physicians per capita than the United States as a whole.
This rule is simply unfair to those who have been permanently harmed by medical mistakes, and to the families of those who lost loved ones due to preventable hospital errors caused by malpractice. Why did the insurance companies want to pass this rule protecting bad doctors? To save themselves from having to pay out on legitimate claims, of course.
Have you or a loved one been harmed due to a medical error, such as a surgical mistake, medication error, or misdiagnosis? Speak to a Texas medical malpractice attorney at Rasansky Law Firm today by calling 1-877-405-4313.