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Damages Caps in Texas Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

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The Texas Legislature placed several damages caps in Texas medical malpractice lawsuits by adopting the Medical Liability and Insurance Act. As our Tyler medical malpractice law firm introduced in previous article, these caps are restricted to a victim’s “non-economic” damages. Click on the following link to learn more about the differences between economic and non-economic damages in Texas medical malpractice lawsuits. To conclude our discussion of damages caps in texas medical malpractice lawsuits, we’ll explore:

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  1. The Importance of Determining if a Defendant is a “Healthcare Provider” or a “Healthcare Institution;”
  2. Caps in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Cases;
  3. The Alleged Purpose of Medical Malpractice Caps; and
  4. How Caps Really Effect Medical Malpractice Victims.

The Importance of Determining if a Defendant is a “Healthcare Provider” or a “Healthcare Institution.”

As disused in our article regarding elements of proof , both healthcare providers and healthcare institutions are potentially liable for a medical malpractice. In other words, providers and institutions are treated largely the same when it comes to proving medical malpractice. However, the distinction is extremely important when determining what damages caps apply to your medical malpractice lawsuit.

As their titles suggests, “healthcare providers” are actual people who provide medical services, including doctors, surgeons, nurses, and rehabilitation specialists. Conversely, “healthcare institutions” are entities that facilitate the administration of medical services by retaining physicians, providing treatment facilities, and provide the infrastructure necessary that makes our modern healthcare system possible.

Damages Caps in Texas Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Before discussing the nuances of damages caps, it’s important to stress again that they only effect non-economic damages like loss of consortium, pain and suffering, and mental anguish. They do not effect economic damages, such as lost wages, past medical expenses, and future medical needs. Moreover, these damages are adjusted annually for inflation with the assistance of an economist, one of many expert witnesses in medical malpractice cases.

Caps in Judgments Against Healthcare Providers

All judgments awarded in a medical malpractice lawsuit against a healthcare provider for non-economic damages for non-fatal injuries are capped at $250,000 per injury victim, regardless of the number of defendants in the lawsuits. Thus, if a doctor, surgeon, and nurse were all held equally liable for $1 million in non-economic damages in your malpractice lawsuit, you would only be able to recover $250,000, for which each defendant would be equally responsible.

Where the victim was fatally injured, Texas law caps damages in a medical malpractice action against one or more healthcare providers at $500,000.

Caps in Judgments Against Healthcare Institutions

Damages awarded for non-economic damages against a single healthcare institution (a hospital, rehabilitation facility, etc.) is also limited at $250,000. However, if more than one institution is held liable for a victim’s injuries, then the cap is increased to $500,000. This includes claims established under vicarious liability theories that would normally hold an employer responsible for the harm their employee caused while performing their job duties.

Exception For Claims of Gross Negligence

Subject to proving that a defendant provider or institution was grossly negligent, non-economic damages are capped to a maximum recovery of $750,000, regardless of the true value of a victim’s injuries. Click on the following link to learn more about proving gross negligence in medical malpractice cases.

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The Alleged Purpose of Medical Malpractice Caps

A large part of the legal movement known as “tort reform,” insurance companies and their clients (providers and institutions) alike lobbied hard for a statutory reduction in potential liability for their wrongful actions. Touting claims of decreased insurance premiums, affordable medical care, and increased patient care, these caps were passed in by the Texas Legislature in the Medical Liability and Insurance Act. However, it’s arguable that this pursuit of affordable healthcare is really effective, much less fair, to medical malpractice injury victims.

How Caps Really Effect Medical Malpractice Victims

For many medial malpractice injury victims (especially those experiencing debilitating injuries) these caps are arguably a huge injustice. The best shot medical malpractice victims have to maximizing the recovery for these injuries in light of the caps on non-economic injuries is to contact an experienced Tyler medical malpractice attorney, like ours at Grossman Law Offices.

Our Attorneys Know How to Calculate Damages Caps and Can Help You Recover the Compensation You Deserve

As you can see, calculating damages caps can quickly become confusing as a number of nuanced factors come into play. To best ensure you’re able to maximize an award subject to damages caps, contact our experienced Tyler medical malpractice attorneys for more information regarding damages caps in Texas medical malpractice lawsuits and a free and confidential consultation. We’re available anytime, day or night, to take at 1-855-258-1111.