Understanding Medical Malpractice Law in Texas

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Texas residents who are concerned about medical errors should be aware of the state’s basic medical malpractice laws.

What may seem upon first glance as a minor misstep can end up being a serious or even fatal mistake in the medical world. Texas residents who suspect that they may have been the victims of a medical error should understand some of the parameters in Texas law surrounding malpractice claims.

What Does Texas Consider Medical Malpractice?

The Texas Constitution and Statutes refer to a medical malpractice claim as a health care liability claim. This can include any treatment, failure to provide treatment, or other action or lack thereof deemed to deviate from a standard of care that ends up causing death or personal injury to a patient.

Is There a Statute of Limitations on These Claims?

The National Conference of State Legislatures explains that if a child younger than 12 years of age is believed to have been impacted by a medical error, a claim must be made before that child reaches the age of 14.

For other persons, there is generally a two-year statute of limitations. Claims are to be filed within two years of the injury or event date. If a case involves a specific course of treatment, a claim may be filed within two years of the last treatment date. The state does have a statute of repose that provides a maximum of 10 years within which claims are to be filed.

Who Can be Involved in a Claim?

Health care liability claims may be filed against a variety of individuals or institutions. These include doctors, dentists, nurses, podiatrists, chiropractors, pharmacists and optometrists. Hospitals or other facilities may also be the subject of such claims.

Health care liability claims may be filed on behalf of individuals or even estates if the victim has died. Any person who asserts that he or she has sustained damage for the action may be listed as a claimant.

Are There Limits on How Much Money can be Awarded for Non-Economic Damages?

When a claim is made against a single health care provider, each claimant may be awarded a maximum of $250,000. When a claim is made against a single health care institution, each claimant may be awarded a maximum of $250,000. When a claim is made against more than one health care institution, each claimant may be awarded a maximum of $250,000 per each institution, up to a $500,000 total maximum.

When Should People Seek Legal Help?

Because of the statute of limitations, Texans are encouraged to talk to a lawyer as soon as they believe a medical error has occurred. This provides the maximum amount of time in which to investigate and file a claim if necessary

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