In 2003, Texas passed one of the most restrictive medical malpractice reform laws that limited the amount that victims could recover from any one negligent health care provider to $250,000.00. Texas tort reform advocates argued that the new law was necessary to insure that doctors in Texas would not flee the state to other states due to high medical malpractice insurance rates, that the new law would reduce “defensive medicine” that doctors allegedly practiced in an effort to reduce their exposure to medical malpractice claims, and that the new law would result in reduced health care costs for the citizens of Texas.
The Results From The 2003 Texas Tort Reform Law
Since the medical malpractice tort reform law took effect in September, 2003, Texas has experienced rising health care costs at almost two times the national average; spending for diagnostic testing in Texas has far exceeded the national average; the uninsured rate in Texas has increased and remains the highest in the United States; the cost of health insurance in Texas has more than doubled; the growth in the number of doctors per capita in Texas has slowed; and, the number of doctors per capita providing medical care in under-served rural areas in Texas has declined.
On the “positive” side, doctors’ medical malpractice insurance rates in Texas have declined but not by as much as the decline in payments made by medical malpractice insurance companies (which means that the medical malpractice insurance companies are enjoying greater savings (profits) that they are not returning to their insured doctors, to patients, or to the taxpayers of Texas).
What Is Texas Up To Now?
On May 30, 2011, Texas Governor Rick Perry signed into law the so-called business-friendly “loser pays” tort reform that will be effective on September 1, 2011.
This new so-called “loser pays” law requires the plaintiff (claimant) to pay the winning party’s legal fees and litigation expenses under certain circumstances — some plaintiffs who sue and lose will be responsible for the other side’s attorney fees and expenses. The AFL-CIO and other groups more concerned with the well-being of people than the profits of big corporations opposed the new law and condemned its passage. The new law places undue and unnecessary pressure on severely or permanently injured victims of medical malpractice to settle their medical malpractice claims for much less than they should because of the fear that if they guess wrong as to what a jury may award them then they may have to pay the medical malpractice defendants their attorney’s fees and expenses. The changes between the old law and the new law can be viewed here.
What Can You Do?
Before the state in which you live imposes onerous “reforms” that restrict, limit, or eliminate your right to be fairly compensated for your injuries and losses due to the medical malpractice negligence of a careless or incompetent medical care provider, contact your local elected representatives to tell them to protect the interests of people instead of corporate greed and profits.
If you or a family member have been the victim of medical malpractice, visit our website to be connected with medical malpractice lawyers in your local area who may be able to assist you in investigating your possible medical malpractice claim and to represent you if appropriate. You may also telephone us toll free at 800-295-3959.
Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn.