Patients in Texas whose health has been ruined by incompetent decisions by ER physicians are having a hard time finding malpractice attorneys to represent them, even when the lawyers admit they have a great case. The reason: The tort reform state lawmakers passed in 2003, which made it more difficult for patients to win damages in any health care setting, but especially in ERs.
The “reform” capped medical liability for noneconomic damages at $250,000 per health care provider, with a maximum award of $750,000. But it also safeguarded emergency physicians from civil damages unless it could be proved that they acted with “willful and wanton” negligence (i.e. that they not only put the patient in extreme risk but knew they were doing it.).
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