Like the majority of U.S. states, Texas has passed a law that limits or “caps” the amount of compensation a plaintiff can receive in a medical malpractice case. The controversial effect of laws like this is that, even after a plaintiff proves that the defendant committed malpractice—and a jury makes the same finding—the statute limits the actual amount of damages the plaintiff can be awarded.
Also like most states, Texas’s caps apply only to noneconomic damages. Here are the highlights of the law (you can find the full text at Texas Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code section 74.301):
So, what are these all-important noneconomic damages? In any injury case, noneconomic damages include compensation for things like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. Noneconomic damages are said to be more “subjective” from plaintiff to plaintiff, and they’re not so easy to capture with a dollar amount.
Remember that Texas does not cap economic damages, which typically consist of payment for past and future medical care, reimbursement of lost income, compensation for lost earning capacity, and other financial losses that can be attributed to the malpractice on which the lawsuit is based.
Read more about the different types of damages available in a medical malpractice case.