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How will Texas damage caps impact your settlement?

On Behalf of | Jul 2, 2021 | Medical Malpractice

If you are injured due to the negligence of a Texas health care provider, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit. The state has enacted legislation that limits how much you can receive for your damages in a med mal case. The legislation also requires that claims must be filed within two years of the injury with only a few exceptions.

Statute of limitations exceptions

Since 1977, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim has been two years from the time of the injury. A minor who is injured due to negligence or carelessness of a medical provider must file a claim within two years of their 18th birthday, regardless of when the injury occurred. In 2003, the law was changed regarding medical malpractice case. If you are injured due to a health care provider’s negligence or carelessness, you have two years to file a claim regardless of when you learned of the injury. This is a drastic change to med mal cases from what was originally known as the “discovery” rule which allowed you to file a claim even after two years if you were unaware of the injury prior to that time. The only exception is if the negligence was fraudulently concealed.

Economic damages

It is important to note that if you are harmed because a health care provider was negligent, there are different monetary damages you may be eligible to receive. Economic damages are those that compensate you for an actual loss. These include medical expenses, wages lost from missed days at work, property damage and any lost future earnings if your injuries are permanent. There are no limits on economic damages as they can easily be proven using bills and statements from employers.

Non-economic damages

You may also be eligible for damages related to pain and suffering, mental anguish, disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of life. The medical malpractice cap on non-economic damages is $250,000 per defendant. You cannot receive more than $500,000 in damages from all medical care providers who were involved.

Punitive damages

Prior to the passage of legislation capping the amount you could be awarded, a judge or jury could award above your economic and non-economic damages as a way to punish the person who was responsible for your injury. Today, that amount is capped at $200,000 or two times your economic damages up to $750,000. This cap exists regardless of the extent of your injury or any future medical treatments you may need.