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Does Texas limit wrongful death via medical malpractice damages?

It is known as a "damages cap" and like other states, Texas does indeed pose such limitations on the amount of damages a victim's family can collect. In 2003, a constitutional amendment was enacted that essentially capped wrongful death involving medical malpractice at no more than $500,000 per claimant for non-economic damages.

This means that you may seek the total amount of economic damages such as medical expenses, lost income and funeral bills. However, non-economic damages such as pain and suffering remain capped at $500,000, adjusted up or down according to the economy or inflation. This $500,000 cap applies whether your case involves a single defendant or several entities.

In other words, even if more than one person contributed to your loved one's wrongful death, you may still only seek the maximum amount in damages. This is the also the case if more than one medical facility is found to be at fault.

For example, say a patient receives a negligently improper diagnosis and treatment at one hospital and then is transferred to another facility. If the staff at the new facility fails to act on the patient's condition, it may share liability for the patient's wrongful death.

While $500,000 is certainly a lot of money, many argue that it is not enough to deter physicians and medical facility staff members from failing to use due caution. Regardless of what you believe about the state's damages cap, you should consider talking about these issues and others with a personal injury attorney. This can empower you to find justice for your loved ones while holding the responsible parties accountable.

Source: Texas Constitution and Statutes, "Civil Practice and Remedies Code, Medical Liability," accessed Feb. 06, 2017

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