Medical Malpractice Laws in Texas – A Quick Guide
Your awareness of medical malpractice laws in Texas will play a role in determining the success with which you pursue a case where you believe you have suffered because of negligence, misdiagnosis, wrong prescription, or malpractice at a healthcare facility. Essentially negligence is the basis for a medical malpractice claim. Negligence is defined in terms of the healthcare facility’s duty or care or standard of care to the patient. This standard of care varies with the state and is influenced by other factors, such as the patient’s age.
In 1977, the Medical Liability and Insurance Improvement Act (MLIIA) was passed in Texas in order to tackle medical malpractice and insurance matters prevalent in the Texas healthcare system back then. In 2003, the MLIIA was amended and included under the Civil Practice and Remedies Code.
Let us take a look at some of the important aspects of medical malpractice laws in Texas –
- Statute of Limitations – The statute of limitations in medical malpractice cases is two years after the event for claims arising from injury and death. Consult your lawyer to learn about exceptions that may apply to your case. For example, facilities covered under the Texas Tort Claims Act may be liable only if a case is filed within one year.
- Expert Report – A legal requirement under Texas law, this report includes details of experts that a plaintiff may choose to use in a medical malpractice case. You must abide by the guidelines laid down by Texas law when selecting expert witnesses. The expert report must be filed within 120 days of the commencement of the lawsuit.
- Caps – There are legal limits to the damages you can claim under a medical malpractice suit. At the time of writing, the upper limit for non-economic damages is $250,000 for every defendant mentioned in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Depending on the facility, the cap can be further lowered to $100,000 for such damages.
- Arbitration – Arbitration is not a legal requirement under Texas law. You may have recourse to alternative dispute resolution methods (ADR) in some counties. Only healthcare providers that satisfy Texas law guidelines can request a patient to agree to arbitration.
- Liability – Texas law distinguishes between the different types of liabilities and situations where these apply. For example, a plaintiff may be held jointly liable and a hospital can be held vicariously liable for the actions of a doctor employed there.
Medical malpractice cases can take time to resolve. Before you get involved in one, ensure to enlist the services of a qualified and experienced lawyer who knows how to settle the case in your favor as quickly as possible.