How tort reform and damage caps on medical malpractice suits sought to improve healthcare availability in Texas
If you’ve been injured in Texas and think millions might be coming your way, we may have some bad news for you.
In the early 2000’s, the state of Texas had earned a reputation as a "judicial hellhole". According to some accounts, the state had a system of justice that allowed for too much of the law to be applied arbitrarily.
This stemmed from the state’s original tort reform law in 1977, which set up a cap on medical malpractice damages. But in 1988, the law was deemed unconstitutional according to the Texas Supreme Court.
Some said that Texas judges were unduly influenced by the state’s trial bar, who wanted the chance to sue doctors and medical facilities for endless damages.
Doctors became easier targets for lawsuits, as the number of medical malpractice suits skyrocketed. This led to higher malpractice insurance, and doctors started to leave Texas.
At one point, there were no neurosurgeons left to the south of San Antonio. And 100 Texas counties lacked a single pediatrician.
Long story short, in 2003, a Republican legislature was elected to the Texas House of Representatives, and House Bill 4 was passed.
This was a major tort reform bill that included caps on many personal injury lawsuits, with limits on punitive damages and medical malpractice lawsuits.
Today, damage caps in Texas have limited what personal injury claimants can recover. And whether you agree with it or not, it’s something you should be aware of in the Lone Star State.