The Institute of Medicine estimates that 98,000 patients die each hear from preventable medical errors - the equivalent of two 737s crashing every day. Unfortunately for Texans, the filing of lawsuits by the victims for medical negligence is way down, and very few lawyers are left who are willing to pursue medical negligence case. In 2003, the legislature made many changes to the law making it very difficult and expensive to pursue a medical negligence case.
A cap was put on non-economic damages meaning, that in most cases, the most money a victim can recover for past and future physical pain, mental anguish, impairment, and disfigurement is $250,000.00. That is true if the victim is permanently quadriplegic, paraplegic, badly burned, or brain damaged.
There are highly technical requirements for giving notice, medical authorizations, statute of limitations, and serving expert reports within 120 days of filing a lawsuit.
Many hospitals only require physicians on their medical staff to carry $200,000 in professional liability insurance. Hospitals are not responsible for physician errors in their hospitals because of legal technicalities.
Subrogation is a term used to describe the law that allows the entity that pays the victims medical bills to get its money back right off the top of any recovery the victim makes.
All of the above makes pursuing a medical negligence claim very expensive and many lawyers are turning down meritorious cases.
About the only cases that are economically feasible to pursue are those where the negligent party is a hospital and there are very large future economic damages with a life care plan for the victim can be as high as 20 million dollars, and there are large losses in future earning capacity.