Texas Personal Injury Settlement Amounts and Statistics – Lawsuit Information Center Blog

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This page explores settlement amounts and jury awards in personal injury cases in Texas. Our attorneys also do a deep dive into Texas personal injury law to help you better understand the lay of the land when bringing a personal injury claim in Texas.

If you’re a personal injury victim filing a compensation claim in Texas, you should want to know the potential range of settlement payouts for your case. Why? Because monetary compensation is ultimately what a personal injury or wrongful death claim is all about. The purpose of the system is to put a dollar amount on your suffering.  Because that is all the civil justice system can provide for you.

This page is designed to survey how personal injury cases have been resolved in Texas, offering you the opportunity to align your claim with Texas personal injury settlement statistics and example settlements and jury awards.

Tread lightly here. Drawing parallels between two seemingly similar cases and expecting similar outcomes is a fool’s errand.  No two cases are identical, and sometimes, the factors that influence the settlement payout of a case are not readily apparent from a case summary. So why do we provide these to you?  Examining comparable cases and statistics provides more insight into your injury claim’s potential value.

Texas Verdict Statistics

A Jury Verdict Research computed the average verdict in a personal injury lawsuit in Texas is $826,892. But Texas is a particular example of the differences between the median and average jury verdicts: the median award is just $12,281. You can always drive a truck between the difference between average jury verdicts and median jury verdicts. But in Texas, a fleet of trucks would not cover this gap.

Why the gap? Huge verdicts also distort the average.  A Texas jury awarded $118 million – the highest verdict included in this Texas jury verdict study – to the widow of a worker who died in the Phillips Petroleum Co. explosion. Still, the Texas cap on punitive damages reduced that award to under $12 million.

Sample Settlements and Verdicts in Texas

Texas has taken harsh steps to curb malpractice cases to the point where few are filed in 2023 that are not birth injury lawsuits.   These caps limit the pain and suffering awards on health care negligence cases to $250,000 against doctors and $250,000 per facility but capped at $500,000.  So there is a $750,000 overall cap, only in cases where the stars line up and you have multiple defendants.   It is a tough road.  Motor vehicle crash claims make up a more significant portion of the verdicts.

This is a list of recent verdicts in the Lone Star state.  Can you use these to help you determine the compensation in your case?  Yes and no.  They are helpful, to be sure, which is why I’m putting them up.  But take them with a grain of salt.  Every case is different, and sometimes there are facts not even listed in these summaries that make all the difference in these cases.

  • February 2024: Texas: $17,000,000: A mass shooting in Plano, Texas, resulted in eight fatalities and several injuries, including that of a survivor who later pursued legal action. Before the incident, the perpetrator exhibited alarming behavior at a restaurant, displaying a weapon and hinting at impending violence. The restaurant’s manager was informed, observed the weapon, and advised the perpetrator to secure it in his vehicle. Despite the manager’s offer to arrange transportation to prevent the perpetrator from leaving, the individual left the establishment and went on to commit the massacre at his ex-wife’s residence. A survivor sued and received a $17 million verdict that was unfortunately overturned on appeal.
  • November 2023: Texas: $13,000,000: A car carrying several passengers was struck by a Union Pacific train at a dual-track crossing. The view of the oncoming train was obscured by another train parked near the crossing, violating Union Pacific’s rules. This resulted in the crossing gates being down for an extended period, leading motorists, including the car in question, to navigate around them. The vehicle owner, a passenger, later died, and two other passengers were severely injured. The plaintiffs sued Union Pacific, the caregiver driving the car, and the caregiver’s employer and, New Mission Home Care, alleging negligence in various aspects, including the parking of the train, the hiring and training of the caregiver, and the operation of the vehicle. Despite Union Pacific and New Mission’s defense blaming the caregiver, an El Paso jury found all three defendants negligent, assigning a majority of the responsibility to the caregiver and New Mission. The plaintiffs were awarded $13 million, with New Mission held liable for both its and the caregiver’s share of responsibility.
  • November 2023: Texas: $18,000,000:  In an apartment complex in Baytown, Texas, a 4-year-old boy drowned in a swimming pool after exiting his home where his ill mother was present and entering the pool area through a gate that was not properly secured. The apartment complex had a history of the pool gate being left unlatched, a fact known to the management. The parents sued the apartment complex, and a settlement of $18 million was reached, marking it as the largest U.S. settlement for a single child drowning case. The case highlighted the importance of adherence to safety codes and the premises liability of property owners.
  • October 2023: Texas: $21,000,000: A 32-year-old man who entered a vegetative state after receiving anesthesia during a surgery to mend a broken leg at Baylor University Medical Center. During the procedure, medical providers failed to adequately monitor the patient’s blood pressure, which would have signaled critically low oxygen levels. As a result, the patient sustained irreversible brain damage due to oxygen deprivation. The Dallas jury held these providers accountable for their negligence during the surgery, awarding a $21 million payout.
  • October 2023: Texas: $10,583,904: At an Emerson Electric Co. warehouse in Pharr, Texas, an operator was involved in a serious workplace accident while using a 2012 Yale Model A295 forklift manufactured by the Hyster-Yale Group Inc., a Cleveland, Ohio-based company. On June 24, 2017, he lost balance while maneuvering the forklift, resulting in his leg being crushed between the machine and a warehouse pallet rack support column. The subsequent lawsuit filed in the Hidalgo County 389th District Court of Texas alleged a design defect in the forklift, which lacked adequate safety features to protect the operator’s lower extremities. A Texas jury, after deliberation, awarded the operator a total of $17.5 million. However, the operator was deemed 50% responsible for the incident, reducing the final judgment against Hyster-Yale to $10,583,904.

Texas-Verdict-Statistics

  • August 2023: Texas: $7,100,000: A nurse working at a nursing home outside Houston was moving a 300 lb elderly resident out of bed when a wheelchair malfunctioned causing the patient to fall on her a break her leg. She sued the nursing home alleging that it was negligent in failing to properly train her on moving patients.
  • August 2023: Texas: $4,300,000:A man working in Walmart’s garden section in Tyler got hurt in the parking lot when a person stealing from the store hit him with a truck. Two Walmart workers tried to stop the thief, causing a chase inside the store. The worker joined the chase, and when they got to the parking lot, the thief drove his truck into the worker, seriously hurting his ankle and head. He sued Walmart alleging the employees did not consider the risks of what they were doing and Walmart did not properly train its employees properly on how to handle thieves. In the end, the Tyler jury said Walmart was mostly at fault, blaming them 80%, the thief 17%, and the worker 3%, awarding $4.3 million in compensation.
  • August 2023: Texas: $100,000,000: Amid icy conditions on Texas’ Interstate 20, the victims’ car collided with a Werner truck, leading to a child’s death and the paralysis of another. The Blakes sued, arguing that the Texas CDL manual’s guidelines on icy roads suggest the driver shouldn’t have been on the road and didn’t sufficiently decrease his speed considering the weather conditions. He also was not permitted to use a CB radio that could have alerted him about the hazardous conditions from other drivers. A jury awarded the family $100 million in damages. In 2023, the 14th Court of Appeals in Texas upheld the decision, confirming Werner’s liability. The Texas Supreme Court is set to review the case.
  • July 2023: Texas: $26,500,000: A postal worker reversed her vehicle against the flow of traffic in Fort Worth, colliding with the plaintiff.  Why did she reverse her vehicle?  The package was too large for the community mailbox. So she decided to drive in reverse to the recipient’s house, about two houses away.  The plaintiff, who suffers from an arthritic condition, ankylosing spondylitis, inadvertently accelerated his car after the collision, crashing into his neighbor’s house. The government argued trial that the second crash caused the victim’s spinal fracture and subsequent paralysis.  But the federal judge hearing the case found that the initial collision with the mail truck significantly aggravated his pre-existing condition. The jury payout comprises $23.9 million awarded to the plaintiff and $2.6 million to his wife for loss of consortium, covering past and future medical expenses and pain and suffering.
  • July 2023: Texas: $1.2 Billion: A Houston woman’s ex-boyfriend beached her computer accounts, impersonated her, and distributed intimate images and intimate images and videos of her online after their breakup. She had consented to him possessing certain materials but explicitly forbade their retention or sharing after the relationship ended. But after a bad breakup, he distributed these materials online, targeted D.L.’s family, and coworkers, and created fake profiles to harass her. A Harris County jury awarded her $1.2 billion.  It is a huge verdict, but, like many revenge porn lawsuits, collecting the compensation awarded from the defendant is very difficult.
  • May 2023: Texas: $90,000,000: A 7-year-old boy was killed, and a 12-year-old girl was paralyzed when a vehicle carrying the young victims lost control, crossed the highway’s center median, and collided with the Werner big rig.  The trucking company, Werner, argued that its driver had no duty of care to victims as he couldn’t have predicted their vehicle would lose control and cross his path. Plaintiffs contended that the truck driver should have known that excessively high speed on a highway can foreseeably result in a collision, especially if another vehicle enters the wrong traffic lane.  The jury awarded $90 million, a verdict that a divided Fourteenth Court of Appeals affirmed. (The Texas Supreme Court will likely hear this case.)
  • January 2023: Texas: $170,191 Verdict: The plaintiff was driving in the right westbound lane of State Highway 29 when the defendant, driving a commercial semi-truck, attempted a right turn into a parking lot from the left westbound lane of State Highway 29, causing a collision with the plaintiff’s vehicle. The plaintiff claimed he suffered personal injuries as a result of the collision. The bench trial resulted in a verdict for the plaintiff.
  • December 2022: Texas: $11,560,000 Verdict: The plaintiff underwent cervical fusion surgery at Baylor Hospital and was released after the surgery despite having a post-surgical neck hematoma. She suffered an anoxic brain injury due to a compromised airway resulting in permanent brain damage and leaving her in need of 24-hour care for the rest of her life. She alleged that the doctors and hospital were negligent in discharging her with the neck hematoma and failing to properly monitor her after the surgery.
  • October 2023: Texas:  $10,500,000 Verdict: A plumber was electrocuted while working on a water main leak, having come into contact with overhead power lines through a flagpole. The incident also severely injured two co-workers. A Dallas property management company was sued. It argued for no liability, citing contributory negligence and pointing to the employer of the workers as partly responsible. A Sherman, Texas jury found a Dallas property management company 50% responsible for the electrocution death of a plumber at an apartment complex they managed.  However, the jury also assigned 25% of the liability to the deceased plumber and 21% to the employer. The jury awarded significant damages: $10.5 million to the family of the deceased for loss of companionship and mental anguish, and over $5 million to the injured workers for medical expenses and physical impairment.
  • August 2022: Texas: $129,887 Verdict: The plaintiff was a Church’s Chicken restaurant patron when he slipped and fell due to a hazardous condition inside the store, suffering various unspecified injuries. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant knew of the dangerous condition that caused his fall but failed to warn of or remedy the condition.
  • July 2021: Texas: $501,000 Verdict: the jury awarded $501,000 to a pair of plaintiffs who alleged that they suffered severe injuries when the defendant ran a red light in his tractor-trailer truck and struck their vehicle.
  • March 2020: Texas: $775,000 Settlement: A 67-year-old man entered a gas station. After walking across the floor mat, he slipped and fell on the wet floor. He broke his right femur. He was taken to the hospital, where a surgeon performed a total knee replacement the following day. The man would fall three additional times. He would undergo surgery and physical therapy after each fall. The man claimed his fall at the gas station made him prone to future falls. After his third stroke, he suffered a mild stroke. However, he did not attribute it to his initial fall. The man now used a walker. He sued the company that owned the gas station for failing to inspect its premises and provide adequate warnings. The case settled for $775,000.
  • February 2020, Texas: $33,525 Verdict: A man’s vehicle was T-boned after a woman failed to adequately yield at a stop sign at an intersection in Houston. The impact pushed his vehicle into a yard. He visited the emergency room two days later. The ER staff diagnosed him with thoracic spine pain, lower back pain, and a left-hand contusion. He would later be diagnosed with multiple disc herniations and tears. The man also suffered pain that radiated throughout his arms and legs. He underwent physical therapy, chiropractic therapy, and steroid injections to treat his injuries. He claimed his hand and rib pain resolved, but not his back pain. He noted that he continued to experience back pain after sitting for extended periods. The Harris County jury awarded him a $33,525 verdict.
  • February 2020, Texas: $47,606 Verdict: A woman’s SUV was broadsided by a pickup truck in Allen. An ambulance took her to the hospital, where emergency room staff treated her for airbag-caused injuries, including abrasions and burns to her hands and forearms, burning and swelling to her eyes, and abdominal contusions. She was prescribed pain medication and creams before being discharged. The woman saw her primary care physician two days later and followed up after two weeks. She sought no further treatment and recovered within six weeks. The woman claimed mental anguish as her only future damages. She also noted that her 6-year-old daughter, who was not involved in the accident, was now scared she would get into another one.  The Collin County jury awarded a $47,606 Verdict.
  • March 2013, Texas: $50,000 Verdict: Plaintiff underwent a total hysterectomy when a remnant of the left ovary was left inside. The plaintiff began experiencing severe lower abdominal pain six months following the surgery. She visited her primary care doctor and a hospital emergency room in Dallas for her pain, where she was given a CT scan and ultrasound. The results showed the remnant, and she was advised to visit the physician who performed the hysterectomy. The physician did not believe the mass caused the plaintiff’s pain and referred her to a gastroenterologist for further workup. The plaintiff did not feel the physician was responsive to her complaints and sought a second opinion. The second surgeon conducted surgery to remove the remnant the following month. The plaintiff sued her original physician for negligence and medical malpractice.  The claim?  The doctor messed up by not removing the entire ovary and not fixing the problem sooner after the complaints, ultrasound, and CT scan. The defendant argued that it was reasonable to ignore the mass as the cause of the plaintiff’s pain as the mass was small.   That’s a tough argument to make.  The jury agreed but didn’t think the injuries were all that severe and awarded the plaintiff a payout of $50,000 for pain and suffering.
  • March 2013: $35,250 Verdict:   Plaintiffs traveled east on Spring Cypress Road towards the Harris County post office. The plaintiffs slowed their vehicle and turned on their signal to turn into the post office parking lot. Upon slowing down, the plaintiffs were struck in the right rear by the defendant. The plaintiff’s vehicle rolled onto its side from the impact and struck another car exiting the parking lot. The plaintiff passenger had to be extricated from the vehicle and suffered severe injuries to her neck, while the plaintiff driver sustained tears in the ligaments in his right knee. Both plaintiffs’ injuries required surgical repair. The plaintiffs sued the defendant for negligence in controlling his vehicle’s speed, making a timely application of the brakes, and failing to take evasive action to avoid a collision. The defendant denied the allegations and argued the plaintiffs made a sudden stop to avoid missing the turn into the parking lot, which caused him to make a sudden and unexpected stop.   The sudden stop defense rarely works, and it did not here.  But the jury only awarded $35,250, a pretty low verdict in a two-surgery case.
  • April 2013: $46,250 Settlement:    Plaintiff was a passenger in a vehicle traveling on Beltway 8 in Houston. The driver lost control while turning off an entrance ramp and collided with a barrier. Plaintiff was taken by ambulance to West Houston Medical Center and treated for soft-tissue back and neck injuries and a rotator cuff tear in her right shoulder. The plaintiff was given additional physical therapy and chiropractic treatment for several months after the accident. She also underwent arthroscopic surgery on her shoulder. Plaintiff alleged the driver was negligent in operating the vehicle. The parties settled before trial for $46,250.
  • April 2013: $13,076 Verdict:    Plaintiff was traveling southbound on Wilcrest Drive at its intersection with Sela in Houston. While proceeding through the intersection, the plaintiff was struck by the defendant traveling eastbound on Sela. The plaintiff’s vehicle spun 90 degrees and was struck a second time by a northbound vehicle. After the collision, the plaintiff was diagnosed with disc protrusions, back sprain and strain, and myofascitis. Plaintiff sued the defendant for negligence in failing to pay proper attention, failing to yield the right of way, and failing to obey traffic devices. The defense denied the allegations and maintained the plaintiff only suffered minor soft tissue injuries from the accident. The jury found for the plaintiff and awarded him $13,076 for the defendant’s negligence.
  • June 2013: $350,279 Verdict:    Plaintiff was in a disabled car off the outside shoulder of Highway 205 North near Rockwall. Police had already arrived to assist with the disabled vehicle when a southbound 18-wheeler crossed the road and struck another car parked on the shoulder. The impact caused the car to push into the plaintiff’s car. The plaintiff was taken by ambulance to a local emergency room and treated for a herniated cervical disc. Shortly after the crash, she began physical therapy and chiropractic treatment. After consulting with a neurologist, she underwent an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion. She also began treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder the month following the accident. The plaintiff sued the driver for losing control of the truck and his employer for negligent entrustment and gross negligence. Plaintiff’s counsel argued the company was grossly negligent for entrusting a driver who could not read or write, had very low intelligence, and lacked proper license endorsement to operate the large vehicle. Plaintiff’s counsel claimed the driver wrongly claimed the plaintiff exited the vehicle before impact and that the police “altered the video” from the officer’s dash camera to make the accident look more severe. The defense stipulated to the driver’s negligence and defended the case arguing the victim’s pain symptoms resulted from degenerative conditions. He stated that the plaintiff’s pain relief did not result from surgery but from post-operative immobilization. The plaintiff’s neurologist testified that the cervical injury was acute and related to the accident and that the injuries were not pre-existing or degenerative. The jury found in favor of the plaintiff and awarded her $350,279.40 against both defendants.
  • June 2013: $142,144 Verdict:   Plaintiff, an off-duty police officer, was working as a security guard in a Mesquite movie theater parking lot. The defendant was parked in a crosswalk and was requested by the plaintiff to move his vehicle and turn down his stereo. When the defendant refused, the plaintiff ordered him to exit the vehicle. Plaintiff claimed the defendant refused to exit the vehicle reached between the seats. The plaintiff reached into the car to stop him, and the defendant pulled forward and drove away at high speed. The vehicle dragged the plaintiff until he fell to the pavement. Plaintiff was taken by ambulance to the hospital and was treated for broken ribs, an orbit fracture, a torn rotator cuff, multiple cuts and bruises (including a gash to his forehead), and neck and back sprains and strains. Plaintiff underwent shoulder surgery and physical therapy for his injuries.  The plaintiff sued the driver, who went to prison because of the incident, for failing to park legally and failing to yield. He also sued the owner for negligently entrusting her vehicle to an unlicensed and reckless driver. The jury found the driver and the owner negligent and awarded the plaintiff $142,144.
  • June 2013: $4,510,000 Verdict:  Plaintiff’s decedent, 57, underwent heart surgery at a hospital in Port Arthur after experiencing a heart attack the previous month. After being discharged, she returned four days later to the emergency room complaining of chest pains. Emergency room logs showed multiple attempts to page a nurse to assist the decedent before she was eventually placed in the waiting room and left unattended. The decedent died shortly after that. Plaintiff, the decedent’s husband, sued the hospital, the surgeon, and his practice for medical malpractice. Plaintiff’s counsel argued the surgeon failed to properly read an EKG test that was taken two months before the surgery. He claimed the surgeon failed to properly diagnose her condition, resulting in his wife’s cardiac arrest.  Plaintiff’s counsel argued that although the decedent was displaying symptoms of cardiac arrest, she was left in the waiting room unattended for 10 to 20 minutes and failed to provide timely treatment. The jury found the surgeon 25% liable and the hospital 75% liable. They awarded the plaintiff $4,510,000.  But this is not an actual number because of the cap on damages.
  • June 2012: $330,000 Settlement:      Plaintiff’s minor son complained of coughing and feeling very ill overall. The plaintiff took her son to the defendant hospital’s emergency room, where the nurse recorded the complaints and admitted him into a room where a physician conducted a physical examination. The physician ordered laboratory tests, including a white blood cell count, but did not order a chest X-ray. The plaintiff’s son was diagnosed with a viral syndrome and discharged with no antibiotics. The plaintiff’s son’s condition seemed to worsen overnight, and he was returned to the emergency room the following morning. A second emergency room physician performed a physical examination and ordered laboratory tests and a chest X-ray. The tests confirmed the plaintiff’s son had pneumonia, and after seeing his condition deteriorate, they determined he needed to be intubated to assist with respiration. Plaintiff’s son’s temperature increased to 111.2 degrees, resulting in the facility packing him in ice to reduce his body temperature. The hospital transferred the son via helicopter to a children’s hospital. Upon arriving at the children’s hospital, the plaintiff’s son was unconscious, had no pulse, and breathed only with medical assistance. He was transferred to the ICU and treated for severe septic shock. The plaintiff’s son remained in the ICU for many weeks. After being discharged, he required follow-up care and physical and occupational therapy. The effects of the septic shock included injuries to his brain, lungs, kidneys, and skin. The plaintiff sued the hospital for failing to provide appropriate medical examinations upon his first arrival. She alleged the defendant failed to appropriately treat her son and transfer him to another hospital. The defendant denied the Plaintiff’s allegations. The case settled before trial for $330,000.
  • August 2013: $17,267 Verdict: Plaintiff was driving on North Frontage Road in Brownsville. He approached an intersection directed by a traffic light and a right turn lane with a yield sign. Plaintiff allegedly stopped at the yield sign, waiting to make a right turn, and was rear-ended by the defendant. The plaintiff went to a chiropractic clinic on the day of the accident. There, he was diagnosed with neck and back sprains and strains. Shortly after, he switched to a second chiropractor, where he had been previously treated for prior injuries. While visiting the second chiropractic clinic, he was diagnosed with a spinal fracture. Plaintiff underwent a laminectomy for his spine and attended up to 60 chiropractic sessions.  Let me tell you, that is a lot of chiro treatments no matter how severe an injury is. Plaintiff sued the defendant for driver inattention, failure to control her speed and maintain a proper lookout, failure to yield the right of way, and failure to turn to avoid a collision. The defense argued the plaintiff’s injuries were pre-existing and unrelated to the accident. They noted the plaintiff had three incidents where the plaintiff hurt his neck or back.   Juries can’t help but note these.   They also noted the impact was minor as the defendant’s car sustained no damage, and the plaintiff’s estimated damage report was $320.   Juries really include this in their damages equation, even though it does not correlate well to the extent and scope of the plaintiff’s pain.  An orthopedic surgery expert for the defense opined the plaintiff’s injuries only needed ten chiropractic visits instead of the plaintiff’s 60. The jury found the defendant 100% negligent and awarded the plaintiff $17,267 for past medical bills only.

Texas Personal Injury Laws

Below is a summary of some key points relating to Texas’s personal injury and malpractice lawsuits.

2-Year Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Cases

Every state has a statute of limitations that sets a legal time limit on how long plaintiffs can wait to file civil lawsuits. The applicable statute of limitations and time frame can vary depending on the type of personal injury case involved.

All personal injury lawsuits in Texas are subject to a 2-year statute of limitations. Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.003. If you have a potential injury lawsuit, you must file your case within two years of when the “cause of action accrues,” or your case will be legally barred. Your right to file a lawsuit will be lost forever.

The key to the Texas statute of limitations is understanding when the 2-year SOL period begins to run. The 2-year period starts when the “cause of action accrues.” In Texas, the cause of action accrues when a wrongful act causes an injury. In a simple car accident case, the cause of action accrues on the accident date.

But what about in more complex circumstances where the plaintiff does not learn about their injury or the wrongful conduct until later (e.g., a misdiagnosis malpractice case)? Most states follow something called the discovery rule, which says that the cause of action only accrues once the plaintiff discovers or reasonably should have discovered the injury and their potential claim.

Texas only allows a very limited version of the discovery rule. The Texas Supreme Court has recently held that the discovery rule is a narrow exception that should only be applied in “exceptional cases” where the injury is “inherently undiscoverable.” Berry v. Berry, 646 S.W.3d 516 (Tex. 2022). See also Prince Weleba (Tex. 2023)

Two-Year Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Cases

Medical malpractice cases in Texas are also subject to a two-year statute of limitations.  The two-year clock begins running on the date the malpractice occurred. Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 74.251. The 2-year SOL clock begins running on the date the malpractice occurred. If the medical malpractice occurred as part of a course of continuous medical treatment, the 2-year SOL period usually begins to run on the last day of that treatment.

The 2-year SOL for malpractice cases applies regardless of whether the plaintiff knew or should have known about the medical negligence. However, certain exceptions, such as fraudulent concealment, can extend the date when the 2-year period begins to run.

In addition to the 2-year statute of limitations, medical malpractice lawsuits in Texas are also subject to a statute of repose. The statute of repose is like a maximum deadline for filing malpractice claims, regardless of fraud or when the claim was discovered. The Texas statute of repose for malpractice cases is ten years.

Texas Wrongful Death Cases

In Texas, wrongful death lawsuits are governed by Chp. 71 of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code. The statute allows damages to be recovered when a person’s death is caused by negligence, intent, or another wrongful act.

The plaintiffs entitled to bring a wrongful death case in Texas include the decedent’s immediate family members (e.g., spouse, children, parents, siblings). The personal representative of the decedent’s estate may also bring a wrongful death claim. Any damages or settlement proceeds in a wrongful death case are distributed among the surviving family members according to specific rules.

Wrongful death cases in Texas must be filed within 2-years of the date of death. There are very limited exceptions to this SOL for wrongful death claims.

Texas Shared Fault Rule

Texas has adopted a modified comparative negligence rule in personal injury cases in which the plaintiff is partly at fault for their own injuries. Under this rule, the amount of damages a plaintiff will be entitled to will be reduced by the plaintiff’s percentage share of fault. So if the plaintiff is 20% at fault, their damages will be reduced by 20%. However, if the plaintiff’s fault percentage exceeds 50%, they will be completely barred from recovering damages.

Suing the State of Texas

Texas Tort Claims Act (TTCA): The TTCA waives sovereign immunity for certain types of lawsuits against the state, its agencies, and its employees. The TTCA allows individuals to sue the state for personal injury, death, or property damage caused by the negligence of a state employee acting within the scope of their employment. The TTCA applies to cases involving the use of motor vehicles, dangerous conditions of real property or tangible personal property, and the use of specific equipment or materials.

There a caps on damages with a TTCA claim. The maximum amount that can be recovered from the state for a single occurrence is $250,000 per person and $500,000 per occurrence for personal injury or death. For property damage, the maximum recovery is $100,000 per occurrence.

There is also a notice requirement that is a huge deal.  Too many people miss on their ability to bring a claim because they miss the notice requirement in the TTCA.  Before filing a lawsuit against the State of Texas, a claimant must provide written notice of the claim within six months of the incident. The notice must include details such as the time, place, and circumstances of the injury and the amount of damages claimed.

Texas Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Medical lawyers in Texas a hard to find.  Why?  Tort Reform.  In 2003, Texas enacted significant tort reform measures to address alarms being sounded about the rising costs of medical malpractice insurance premiums in Texas. This legislation, called House Bill 4 (HB 4), included several provisions that made it more difficult to file and win medical malpractice lawsuits in Texas.

Malpractice Damage Cap

The most painful provision of HB 4 was the establishment of draconian caps on non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, in medical malpractice cases. The cap was set at $250,000 per defendant, with an overall cap of $750,000 for all defendants in a single case. So you understand, this means if a small child is rendered a quadriplegic, the most that child will get for a lifetime of pain and suffering may be $250,000.

The caps do not apply to economic damages, so birth injury lawsuits remain viable in Texas.  The future damages in these cases can drive damages in the tens of millions.  But an old person with no lost income or other significant economic damages?  This is not a viable malpractice claim in Texas because the cost of the lawsuit does not justify the upside of a $250,000 verdict.

Emergency Medical Care Lawsuits Against Texas Hospitals Are Virtually Impossible

Under Texas law, healthcare providers who render emergency medical care are held to a higher standard of proof in malpractice cases. To successfully sue a healthcare provider for malpractice in an emergency setting, a plaintiff must prove “willful and wanton negligence” by the provider rather than the typical “ordinary negligence” standard. This means a plaintiff must demonstrate that the provider acted with conscious indifference or reckless disregard for the patient’s safety. This rarely happens.  Medical malpractice lawsuits are almost invariably about negligence.

Some nuances to Texas law provide rare exceptions when it comes to some emergency room malpractice cases.  There is, for example, a distinction between a hospital emergency room and a freestanding ER, which only applies in a legitimate medical emergency.  But it still stops most legitimate emergency room lawsuits in Texas from ever making it to the courthouse steps.

Loser Pays

Texas has adopted the “loser pays” rule in medical malpractice cases, meaning that the losing party may be required to pay the winning party’s legal fees. This adds an element of financial risk for plaintiffs and their attorneys. This makes Texas medical malpractice lawyers even more selective in the lawsuits they can pursue.

Malpractice Expert Report in Texas

HB 4 also imposes stricter requirements for expert reports in medical malpractice cases. Within 120 days of filing a lawsuit, the plaintiff must provide an expert report that details the standard of care, how the defendant breached that standard, and how the breach caused the plaintiff’s injury. This is burdensome but not uncommon in other states, unlike other Texas malpractice laws.

Notice Requirement

In Texas, medical malpractice claims are governed by specific procedural requirements, including the notice requirement. Before filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against a healthcare provider, a claimant must provide written notice of their intent to file a claim. This requirement is outlined in the Texas Medical Liability Act, specifically in Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 74.051.

According to the notice requirement:

  1. The claimant must provide written notice of their intent to file a claim at least 60 days before filing the lawsuit. This notice should be sent to each healthcare provider that the claimant plans to sue.
  2. The notice must include sufficient information for the healthcare provider to understand the nature of the claim, including details about the alleged injury and the medical care that led to it.
  3. The notice requirement is mandatory, and failure to comply may result in the dismissal of the claim or a delay in the proceedings.

To move forward with a healthcare liability claim, the Texas Medical Liability Act (TMLA) mandates that a claimant adhere to the Act’s stipulations for serving expert reports. Specifically, the claimant must provide each named healthcare liability defendant in the lawsuit with an expert report, accompanied by the expert’s curriculum vitae within 120 days following the filing of the defendant’s answer.

Like the notice expert report requirement in Texas, this notice requirement is burdensome for Texas malpractice lawyers but this is small potatoes compared to the door-shutting barrier we talk about above.

Texas Collateral Source Rule

In Texas, the defendant can’t introduce evidence that the plaintiff received compensation for the injury from other sources, like insurance.  So the rule that prevents multiple compensations for the same loss doesn’t apply if one of the compensations is an insurance payment covered by the collateral source rule. However, there are exceptions in some medical malpractice cases.  The rule also does not apply to payments made by the defendant’s own insurance company. Additionally, the rule may not apply if the plaintiff received payments from a collateral source but did not actually mitigate their damages (for example, if they did not seek medical treatment for their injuries).

Texas Informed Consent

In Texas, healthcare professionals are mandated to clearly inform their patients about the potential risks and outcomes of medical interventions before proceeding. They need to convey this information in a manner that ensures the patient fully grasps the implications. Simply signing a document does not do that.

Outlined in Subchapter C of Chapter 74 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, the Texas Informed Consent Statute specifies the essentials of informed consent. According to this law, prior to any medical procedure, healthcare professionals must educate the patient about:

  • The procedure’s nature
  • Potential dangers and threats, encompassing the possibilities of death, severe physical harm, and emotional distress
  • Expected benefits of the chosen procedure
  • Feasible alternatives and their respective risks and advantages
  • The likely success rate of the recommended treatment
  • The anticipated prognosis if the patient opts against the treatment or therapy

Additionally, patients should be granted adequate time to raise any queries and discuss the intervention at length. Only after acquiring a well-informed consent from the patient should the healthcare professional proceed with the treatment.

In situations where informed consent isn’t obtained, patients retain the right to instigate a medical malpractice lawsuit against the concerned healthcare provider. For a successful claim, patients need to establish:

  1. The medical professional’s omission of a critical risk associated with the treatment
  2. The patient’s decision to decline the procedure had they been aware of the said risk
  3. The patient experienced harm due to the treatment

Of course, the obligation to obtain informed consent isn’t unyielding. Exceptions exist in emergencies or if the patient is not able to provide consent. Nonetheless, the onus is on the healthcare provider to justify such exceptions.

Texas Product Liability Lawsuits

Texas Mass Tort Claims

There are a number of national mass torts or “class actions” that involve hundreds of Texas plaintiffs, including claims our law firm is handling across the country:

  • Hair relaxer lawsuit: recent evidence has shown that long term use of chemical hair relaxer products (most commonly used by African American women) can cause uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine fibroids, and other conditions. This has prompted hundreds of women to file hair relaxer lawsuits.
  • Paraquat Lawsuits: Paraquat is a commercial grade herbicide used in farming. These lawsuits allege that years of chronic exposure to Paraquat can cause early onset Parkinson’s disease.
  • Camp Lejeune Lawsuit: As you know from the deluge of television commercials, individuals exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune are now able to file for compensation.
  • Suboxone Tooth Decay Lawsuit:  Suboxone leads to severe dental decay. We know this now; the manufacturer changed the warning label in 2022. Many people sadly have awful teeth from before the new warning was put on the product.
  • Bard PowerPort Lawsuit: Complications including infections associated with the use of Bard PowerPort devices are leading to litigation.

Hiring a Texas Personal Injury Lawyer

Our firm handles severe injury and wrongful death lawsuits in Texas. We are a national law firm that partners with lawyers in Texas to work to maximize the settlement amounts of personal injury cases.

How much more does it cost you to have two law firm working for you instead of one?  Zero.  We cover the costs of your Texas lawyers – and we ensure we’re working with the best – from our own attorney’s fees. You are not charged any additional contingency fees for the involvement of two law firms instead of one. Just as importantly, you only owe a fee if you receive settlement compensation or a jury payout.

If you’ve suffered an injury and believe you may have a viable civil tort claim,  contact us today at 800-553-8082 or get free no-obligation consultation online.

This post was originally published on 3rd party site mentioned in the title of this site

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