October 28, 2022
- Injury Lawyer
- Legal Questions
- By Brian
Someone who has been injured in an accident has their time consumed with physical therapy appointments, picking up prescriptions, and seeing specialists.
With all that you have on your plate, you don’t have time to worry about taking legal action against the party that is responsible for your pain. That is where we can help.
If you are in need of a personal injury attorney, turn to the legal team at Cesar Ornelas Injury Law to handle your case from start to finish. Let us help you get back on your feet.
Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Cases
Every personal injury case is governed by a certain time period in which a plaintiff can bring the case to court. This is known as a statute of limitations. According to the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.003, most personal injury cases are governed by a two-year statute of limitations. The two-year time limit includes medical malpractice and wrongful death cases as well. The clock starts ticking the day the cause of action accrues.
The cause of action is defined as “a factual situation that entitles one person to obtain a remedy in court from another person.” This would be the day of the accident or the date of death in a wrongful death suit. The lawsuit must be filed within two years of that date in order to be eligible for relief.
Unfortunately, if an injured party waits more than two years before filing a lawsuit, then the case will be thrown out. You are not allowed to take any legal remedy once the clock has run out.
Personal Injury Caps on Damages
Texas imposes a damage cap on personal injury cases, depending on who is listed as the defendant, under the Texas Tort Claims Act (Texas Civ Prac and Rem Code § 101.023). The maximum amount the plaintiff can recover from a government entity (i.e., a police officer) is $250,000 per defendant. A plaintiff is able to recover a total of $500,000 per personal injury case. This will apply to compensatory damages, both economic and non-economic. Additionally, there is a property damage cap of $100,000 for each occurrence of damage or destruction to property.
A plaintiff may also seek punitive damages with the intention to punish the defendant for his or her wrongdoing. If the “trier of fact” (a judge or jury) finds the defendant’s behavior to be malicious, they may award the plaintiff punitive damages.
According to Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 41.008, the damage cap for punitive damages may not exceed an amount equal to the greater of:
- (A) two times the amount of economic damages; plus
(B) an amount equal to any non-economic damages found by the jury, not to exceed $750,000; or
Medical Malpractice Caps on Damages
According to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB), from 2017-2021, there were over 3,000 medical malpractice payment reports in the state of Texas. This calculation is based on the number of formal complaints or demands for compensation from complainants. This data reflects poorly on the medical community and shows a high level of medical negligence.
Compensatory damages are either economic (verifiable monetary value) or non-economic (intangible losses). Economic damages would include past and future lost wages, medical bills, rehabilitation services, and medical equipment. Non-economic damages are losses that the claimant incurred that do not come with a price tag, such as loss of consortium, emotional distress, and loss of society and companionship.
Medical malpractice cases have a non-economic damage cap of $250,000 against each physician or healthcare provider and a total cap of $500,000 against all healthcare providers involved in your lawsuit.
Therefore, the maximum allowed amount in a medical malpractice lawsuit for non-economic damages is $750,000.
A plaintiff can sue for the death of a family member under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 71.002 (d)(2) if the injuries which caused the death were the result of careless or negligent actions by another person.
Wrongful death cases often involve automobile accidents, truck accidents, 18-wheeler accidents, workplace injuries, drunk driving cases, and medical malpractice.
In Texas, there is a limit on how much a plaintiff can recover for a family member’s death at the hands of a medical professional. A plaintiff can only recover $500,000 from a provider, regardless of the number of providers that are involved in the lawsuit. The cap does not apply to past or future medical or non-medical costs (i.e., homemaker services), but will be applied to other economic damages and all non-economic damages.
However, the Texas legislature did allow for the cap to be adjusted for inflation. Based on the inflation rate, families are eligible to receive up to $1.5 million in compensation.
There is a special punitive damages cap for children, elderly people, or disabled people who were treated by a hospital or health care facility and “…[were] knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly injured by omission in the course of health care.”
The cap is the greater of:
- $200,000; or
- The award for non-economic damages (i.e., for pain and suffering), up to $750,000 plus twice the award for economic damages (i.e., lost earnings).
Personal Injury Lawyers Fighting on Your Behalf
Any accident can leave you reeling. All the information on personal injury lawsuits can be overwhelming, and you may not know where to turn. If you have been the victim of an accident, you need personal injury lawyers who will make your case a priority. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-risk case evaluation.