Medical malpractice occurs when there is an act of professional negligence, mistake or omission made by a health care professional such as a doctor, dentist or nurse. This medical malpractice occurs whenever medical treatment falls below the medically accepted standard of care in that particular area of practice and that lapse results in injury or death. All medical professionals, even pharmacists, physical therapists and anesthesiologists, must adhere to the standard of care in their practice of medicine.
Limits Placed on Liability
When a medical practitioner fails to meet the standard of care and commits medical malpractice, they can be sued to compensate the victim for their injuries. The Texas medical negligence laws underwent a complete overhaul in 2003, and under the new laws, a person could still sue for the actual costs of their medical care, but the liability limits for non-economic damages were capped. The newly enacted caps on medical malpractice are:
- Single health care provider – $250,000 per claimant per defendant / the cap is not indexed for inflation
- Multiple health care providers – $250,000 per defendant with a total cap of $750,000 ($250,000 max from physicians and $500,000 max from health care institutions) / the cap is not indexed for inflation
- Wrongful death claims - $500,000 / the cap is adjusted annually for inflation
Comparative Negligence and Statute of Limitations
In addition to the caps on awards, Texas follows the doctrine of comparative negligence for injury claims. What this means is that any party bringing a claim of medical malpractice may not be compensated if it can be proven that they are more than 50% responsible for their injuries. Thus, if the claimant is found to be more than 0% but less than 50% responsible, their recovery would be diminished in direct proportion to their degree of fault. In example:
- If the claimant is found to be 25% responsible for their injuries, than an award for $100,000 will be reduced by 25%, or $25,000.
Lastly, there is a statute of limitations on the amount of time that compensation for an injury can be filed. According to Texas statute, you must bring a claim for medical negligence within two years of the date on which the malpractice occurred or within two years of the completion of the treatment. This two year statute of limitations applies even if the injury was not discovered within the specified two-year time period unless it was fraudulently concealed from the patient. If it can be proven that there was fraud, the statute is extended. Additionally, minors under the age of 12 that have been harmed by medical malpractice must file a claim by their 14th birthday or be forever barred from pursuing a claim.
Zinda Law Group Will Fight For You
Tens of thousands of patients are injured through medical malpractice every year. If you were injured by a doctor and want to discuss your legal options with an experienced attorney, the law firm of Zinda Law Group is here to help you. Our attorneys will go over your case and help you to understand what your legal rights and options are. Call us today. The call and consultation are free, and if you don’t collect – we don’t get paid. Call today (800) 863-5312.