Many plaintiffs now ask what can be recovered in a Texas wrongful death medical malpractice case . Under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code (TX CPRC ) Section 74.301, there is a cap of $250,000 on “non-economic” damages.
Non-economic damages compensate an injured plaintiff for physical pain and suffering, mental or emotional pain, loss of consortium (the services of a spouse), disfigurement, physical impairment, and other types of non-monetary losses.
Exemplary damages, also known as punitive damages, are those damages which are often assessed against defendants for reckless or malicious behavior. Juries award these types of damages for the defendants’ behavior. Exemplary damages are not included in the cap for non-economic damages.
The limit of civil liability for non-economic damages for a physician or health care provider is $250,000. The civil liability of healthcare institutions such as hospitals is $250,000 for non-economic damages. Registered nurses fall under the realm of healthcare providers and would be subject to a $250,000 cap.
Even if there are multiple number of plaintiffs suing under the death of the single individual, the plaintiffs count only as on claimant for purposes of the cap. With multiple health care institutions, the most a medical malpractice plaintiff can recover in non-economic damages from personal injury is $750,000.
In Texas wrongful death cases , the limit for civil liability on a health care liability claim is $500,000 including exemplary damages. The cap does not include medical or hospital expenses incurred in the treatment of the injury. The cap applies regardless of the number of plaintiffs. In addition, the liability of any insurer for a healthcare defendant is limited to the cap, circumventing the Stowers doctrine which deals with insurer liability.
Those plaintiffs who are not seeking recovery for a wrongful death health care liability claim can expect to recover economic damages.
A Texas wrongful death attorney must know how to navigate costs to maximize recovery to a plaintiff given caps on non-economic and exemplary damages.