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Dallas, Texas

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Caps On Medical Malpractice

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In Texas, the legislature has placed caps on medical liability. Effectively, there is now a cap of $250,000 per claimant on non-economic damage awards in cases involving health care providers or an individual health. The limit applies regardless of the number of providers involved or the number of issues upon which the claim is based. If the claim involves several institutions, the cap is $ 500,000 per claimant.

The caps against providers in wrongful death lawsuits at $500,000 per claim. The award is adjusted annually for inflation and it does not apply to medical, hospital, or custodial costs. These caps were adopted in conjunction with a constitutional amendment that specifically authorized them. There was a lot of public dispute about the caps. The proponents used alot of propaganda to basically scare the public into thinking that if they don’t approve the caps, doctors would be forced out of Texas because of high malpractice premiums. This has not proven to be the case. According to the Dallas Morning News, the tort reform law has not pushed physicians’ premiums down. In fact, according to a filing with the Texas Department of Insurance by the Medical Protective company, a major malpractice insurance provider, “non-economic damages are a small percentage of total losses paid. Capping non-economic damages will only show a savings of 1.0%.” The company also notes that a provision in the Texas law allowing for periodic payments of awards would provide a savings of only 1.1%. The insurer did not even provide its doctors that relief and eventually imposed a rate hike on its physician policyholders. A copy of this document can be obtained from the Texas Department of Insurance.