In 2003, the Texas legislature put a cap on non-economic damages in healthcare liability claims.
If you undergo a surgical operation for a routine matter and wake up paralyzed or seriously brain damaged for the rest of your life, the maximum you could recover for past and future physical pain, mental anguish, impairment, and disfigurement is a maximum $250,000.00.
It does not matter that you will never walk again, never smile again, that you will be dependent on others to clean you, feed you, and do the most menial tasks of day to day living.
If the same harm is caused by a negligent motorist, 18-wheeler driver, airline, manufacturer, railroad, or any non-healthcare entity, that cap does not apply, and you can have a jury of your peers determine the value of all that has been taken away from you.
Why do surgeons and hospitals have such privileges, and the ordinary motorist does not? I call it a “GET OUT OF JAIL FREE CARD.” Surgeons and hospitals can negligently cause paralysis and serious brain damage, and they do not have to pay the same damages the rest of us are liable for. A big incentive to require surgeons and hospitals to be careful with your life has been obliterated. Manufacturers make products safer, if for no other reason, they do not want to be responsible for the actual cost of paralysis and serious brain damage.
Most plaintiff lawyers are refusing meritorious cases against negligent surgeons and hospitals because the cost of bringing such actions is not justifiable when the maximum recovery may be limited to $250,000.