If you pay attention to the news, chances are you’ve heard about tort reform. Depending on where you get your information from, you may have even heard that it’s a means to scale back on what proponents say are “frivolous lawsuits.” Unfortunately, that rhetoric couldn’t be more misleading, nor more of a guise to hide the true intent behind tort reform initiatives, which are ultimately pushed by powerful corporate entities, lobbyists, and politicians that profit from reworking the civil justice system in ways that limit the rights of everyday, hardworking Americans.
One of the most significant and troubling examples of how tort reform limits the rights of Americans is the damages cap. Generally, damages caps are limits placed on the amount of financial compensation plaintiffs are allowed to recover in civil cases. They often involve non-economic damages – which are the intangible types of emotional injuries, mental suffering, anguish, and grief victims and families suffer after preventable injuries or losses – but in some states may also limit total damages, including recoveries for economic damages. They are also often implemented in cases involving victims who suffer medical-related injuries as the result of negligence and malpractice.
Today, most states in the U.S. have passed laws that place caps on damages recoverable in medical malpractice cases. If Congress approves a current proposed bill – the Protecting Access to Care Act – these caps might even be placed on all medical injury cases nationwide.
What Texas Law Says
Like the majority of states, Texas does have a cap on the amount of compensation medical malpractice victims can recover. This cap is limited only to non-economic damages, including the loss of quality or enjoyment of life, mental anguish, and pain and suffering. These caps work as follows:
- In cases against a physician or health care provider, non-economic damages are capped at $250,000 per plaintiff.
- In malpractice cases filed against a single health care institution (such as a hospital), the cap is also $250,000 per plaintiff.
- An overall cap of $500,000 per plaintiff exists in cases against more than one health care institution, with no single institution being held liable for more than $250,000 in in non-economic damages per plaintiff.
These caps help highlight how powerful health care corporations and their insurers are protected from paying large damages awards – even in cases where victims and families suffer the most egregious harms, and when juries rule that they deserve more. Because these caps are in place, it makes the fight for full and fair compensation all the more important, and makes it vital to work with attorneys who have the ability to use experience and resources to recover the maximum compensation possible for economic damages, including past and future damages.
At The Daspit Law Firm, we are committed to helping clients secure the recoveries they need and rightfully deserve, even in the face of unfair caps that often hurt those who suffer the most. If you have questions regarding medical negligence and preventable injuries, call (888) 273-1045 for a FREE consultation.