Tort Reform

The Effects of Tort Reform in Texas

Texas is known for tort reform, thanks in part to House Bill 4, the Medical Malpractice and Tort Reform Act of 2003. Unfortunately, this legislation made malpractice lawsuits more difficult for innocent victims. Tort reform has prevented many injured patients from taking legal action and suing over the doctor’s negligence, leaving them to fend for themselves and live with the damages. Due to the expensive nature of these cases, along with the restrictions to the damages awarded, few law firms are willing to take on these cases in Texas.

Headquartered in McKinney, Maria Wormington and the rest of the expert legal team at Wormington & Bollinger understands the odds our clients are up against thanks to Texas tort reform. We will investigate your particular case, doing everything we can to ensure justice is served. Tort reform has prevented thousands from receiving the justice they deserve, thanks to caps on non-economic damages and other unfair procedural hurdles. That’s something we cannot sit back and allow. Maria Wormington relentlessly pursues peace and closure for her clients and their families.

The Damaging Effects of Texas Tort Reform

Tort reform has made taking action against physicians and other licensed healthcare providers in Texas a challenge. As a result, victims of medical malpractice and those injured by healthcare professionals are left to pick up the costs of their injuries with no support. It is of the utmost importance you speak with an experienced McKinney medical malpractice immediately if you suspect malpractice. The sooner we can get started on your case, the better chance you have of recovery.

While tort reform has prevented many patients from seeking compensation and has, instead, protected the very doctors who harm them, we believe in the power of justice, and we will do everything we can to secure the compensation you deserve.

Texas Tort Reform in the Spotlight

Many modern outlets have also shed light on Texas tort reform, from podcasts to television series and documentaries. For example, the popular Dr. Death podcast chronicles the tale of Christopher Dunstch, a charming Dallas neurosurgeon who was not all he claimed to be. In season one, host and reported Laura Bell follows the Texas doctor’s story (dubbed Dr. Death). Dunstch was convicted of aggravated assault after 31 patients suffered significant injuries following surgery. Two patients even died under his care. He eventually received a life sentence in prison.

Texas tort reform plays a central role in the first season of the podcast, as many blame the system and 2003 law for not standing up for patients but instead protecting the very doctors who harmed them. In addition to the podcast, Oxygen produced License to Kill. This 2019 series also followed the former Texas neurosurgeon’s story.

Last but not least, "To Err is Human: A Patient Safety Documentary” was released in 2018 and covered the “silent epidemic” that has led to nearly 450,000 preventable deaths. The son of patient safety advocate Dr. John M. Eisenberg directed this in-depth feature, bringing to light the disturbing trend of medical mistakes and doctor kickbacks.

What Do Tort Laws Cover?

HB 4 capped non-economic damages recovered against doctors and other licensed healthcare providers at $250,000 for individuals. Here’s a look at the additional reforms established by the 2003 bill:

  • Caps of $250,000 individual or $500,000 in total claims against hospitals and other healthcare facilities
  • Higher procedural hurdles, which serve to increase the cost of bringing a claim.
  • The requirement of an expert report to be filed along with the claim
    • This includes a report by a physician currently practicing

Since being put into effect, the bill has reduced the number of medical malpractice claims filed in the state. Furthermore, the payouts awarded for the malpractice claims pushed through are significantly less than in previous years. According to data compiled by the Texas Department of Insurance, malpractice claims dropped by nearly two-thirds from 2003 to 2011 and had an average payout of $199,000 (a 22% decline).

After fees, expenses, and reimbursement to healthcare providers, this leaves the injured or the family of the injured or deceased with little to no compensation at all. Given the limited outcome, many attorneys choose not to accept Texas medical malpractice cases. However, Maria Wormington distinguishes herself among her colleagues as relentlessly holding the medical community accountable for their misactions and working to bring policy change.

To learn more about Texas’s tort reform, or if you have suffered an injury because of a medical professional’s negligence or misconduct, contact Wormington & Bollinger today and schedule a free consultation. The severe limits put in place with the 2003 act are quite damaging and have stripped many patients of their right to recover warranted compensation. Maria Wormington and the legal team at Wormington & Bollinger are fighting against the effects of tort reform. Our entire team will do everything we can to investigate your case and expose the lies associated with your malpractice claim.