Medical malpractice claims in Texas have limitation statutes, like many other states in the country. In the last year, the state has been recognized as having the first known case of the death from the Ebola virus in the U.S. A worldwide epidemic, the rate of infection for the Ebola virus reached thousands throughout West Africa in the latter half of 2014, with a current death toll at a staggering 8000 as of the beginning of 2015. The first U.S. victim, who was treated at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, died in October 2014.
Some have argued that had the victim received proper diagnosis, intervention, and appropriate medical care against the virus, he would have stood a much higher chance of overcoming and surviving the deadly disease. The victim entered the hospital with a 103 degree fever and was only given antibiotics and sent home. Many believed that this decision was what ultimately led to the victim’s declining health and subsequent passing.
Understanding Texas Tort Reform
For more than a decade, Texas has been upholding its 2003 reform of tort laws, which includes personal injury cases such as malpractice claims. The state has placed caps on the maximum amount of damages that can be awarded to claimants, and the number of claims and lawsuits filed have decreased.
These are the current caps on medical malpractice claims:
- $250, 000 on non-economic damages against a medical professional
- $250, 000 on non-economic damages against one single health care institution
- $500, 000 on non-economic damages against multiple health care institutions
Note that economic damages do not have any caps at this time. Economic damages are typically considered payments for medical treatment, coverage for lost wages, and other unanticipated costs related to recovering from the medical malpractice incident.
It must be proven that the hospital in question committed an act of “wanton and willful negligence.” In the above example of the U.S. Ebola virus victim, while the medical professionals demonstrated some proactive measures to help the victim, it is difficult to prove whether or not that the actions committed were as serious as “wanton and willful negligence,” which exemplifies why Texas state law makes these types of claims so difficult to resolve.
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If you were injured by a medical practice, you need a legal team that can help you navigate through all of the complicated laws and fight to represent your claim as best as possible. While the laws can be very strict for claimants, making the process seem difficult, don’t feel discouraged! Our Houston medical malpractice attorneys at The Daspit Law Firm is committed to justice for everyone who comes to us, and won’t give up on your claim until we can find the maximum possible settlement.
Get in touch with us at any time to enlist our help! We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.