The bedrock of the medicine-backed 2003 tort reform legislation in Texas was a $250,000 cap on noneconomic damages in medical negligence lawsuits. The cap has faced constant legal challenges since its passage. The latest attempt, which went to trial earlier this month, could drag on for some time and may even end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Biden administration’s previously announced plan to make booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccines available as soon as Sept. 20 – which came and went on Monday without that availability – has raised questions among physicians about liability for giving the extra shots before they are fully approved.
Under Texas law, physicians treating COVID-19 patients in a volunteer capacity have potential defenses against lawsuits that might arise from that care.
Many Texas physicians have stepped up to care for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes retired physicians and others who have volunteered their services in areas where they are needed most. If you’d like to volunteer but are concerned about your potential liability, check out TMA's recent white paper.
Texas Medical Liability Trust (TMLT), the largest medical liability insurance provider in Texas, has announced several changes to help members care for COVID-19 patients and to offer relief from financial hardships related to the pandemic.
A recent appeals court decision could weaken a key piece of Texas’ 2003 medical liability reforms meant to cut frivolous lawsuits off at the head. In a friend-of-the-court brief filed last week, TMA and Texas Alliance for Patient Access (TAPA) tell the Texas Supreme Court that the law narrowly limits the amount of discovery – the exchange of information in a court case – before the person suing must produce an expert report. And there’s good reason for that, the groups say.
Without the cap, what is tort reform, exactly? Texas physicians hope they won’t have to answer that question. But a couple that won a 2019 negligence lawsuit is taking aim at the centerpiece of the state’s 2003 medical liability reforms: the $250,000 cap on noneconomic damages.
There are some obvious reasons physicians could face a medical liability lawsuit — surgical errors, misdiagnosis, and medication errors are some of the most common.
But other issues related to communication, documentation, and staff conduct, also increase your legal risk.
The video below — published by the Texas Medical Liability Trust and hosted by its Vice President of Risk Management Lesley Viner— covers the top five common issues that could leave you open to a medical liability lawsuit.
TMLT, the only medical professional liability insurance provider created and exclusively endorsed by the Texas Medical Association, is a self-insured, not-for-profit trust that provides reliable coverage against medical liability claims and more. Call (800) 580-8558, (512)-425-5800 or visit www.tmlt.org for more information.
Thanks to the Texas Supreme Court's decision in Perkins v. Skapek, physicians employed by a government institution still can perform clinical duties at a non-government facility without giving up immunity from lawsuits.
TMA has convened a task force of public health experts to help Texas physicians respond to the COVID-10 pandemic. We're compiling all the news and information you need right now on our online resource center. Bookmark that page as it is continually updated.
Got Liability questions? Call the Knowledge Center
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