Anyone who spends time in a hospital is supposed to receive quality care that helps with their medical issues, treats their injuries, and avoids further harm. Victims of medical negligence and medical malpractice are often entitled to file a lawsuit against the doctors and hospitals that allowed them to be injured or allowed their conditions to get worse. In many states, there are caps on the damages you can receive from medical malpractice cases, and there are different ways to calculate damages that might change how much your claim is worth. The Arlington, TX medical malpractice lawyers and hospital negligence lawyers at The Queenan Law Firm explain how to calculate damages in a lawsuit against a hospital in Texas, and we discuss what kinds of caps and issues might limit your damages.
Calculating Damages in a Lawsuit Against a Hospital in Texas
When you are injured by someone else’s mistakes, you can often sue them for “negligence.” When it comes to medical malpractice lawsuits against doctors and hospitals, you need to prove that their care fell below the standard of care and breached the legal duty set up by the doctor-patient relationship. If you can prove this breach of duty, then you can claim compensation for any damages related to that negligence.
In most cases, this means claiming three main areas of damages: medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If the injuries you faced from negligent medical care required additional treatment to reverse the effects of negligent care or treat conditions that got worse, then you can sue to have this care covered. You can also get damages for any wages or earning capacity you lost as a result of the negligent care.
Damages for pain and suffering are harder to calculate because they are based on physical and mental sensations rather than economic effects, but these damages often make up a huge part of medical malpractice damages. These damages can cover things like physical pain, mental anguish, emotional distress, fear, discomfort, lost enjoyment, and more. If there are legal “caps” on medical damages in a lawsuit, they usually affect these “noneconomic” pain and suffering damages rather than the “economic” damages that compensate medical bills and lost wages.
It is important to have an Arlington, TX ER and hospital mistakes lawyer review your case and calculate damages with you. Every lawsuit is different, and the damages that you faced might be different from the damages that someone else in a similar situation faced, especially when it comes to pain and suffering. This breakdown is merely meant to help you get a ballpark figure of what your medical malpractice case could be worth.
Damages Paid by Hospitals, Doctors, and Insurance Companies in Texas Malpractice Lawsuits
When you sue for malpractice, you typically sue the individual caregivers as well as the hospital where the negligent care took place. In some cases, the hospital is the doctor’s employer, so they will respond to the lawsuit and cover any damages that their employee committed in the course of their work duties. In cases where the doctor was in private practice, the hospital might not be responsible, but they could share fault if hospital conditions affected the case or if the injuries were caused by staff at the hospital (such as nurses or orderlies).
In most cases, doctors and hospitals have medical malpractice insurance that covers the damages they cause. This does not necessarily mean that you have to accept an insurance settlement, but it does mean that the hospital and the doctor will call on their insurance companies to provide them with lawyers and pay for damages in medical malpractice cases. This means that you should have your own experienced Dallas medical malpractice lawyer to fight against these strong legal teams, but it also means that you can often get paid more in damages than the individual doctor or the cash-strapped hospital might be willing to pay.
Caps and Limits on Damages in Lawsuits Against Negligent Hospitals in Texas
Texas law places caps on how much a medical malpractice victim can claim in damages under Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 74.301. This rule places a lower limit on lawsuits against individual doctors and care providers but expands this limitation when suing a hospital or multiple hospitals.
When you sue individuals for medical malpractice, such as a doctor or two doctors in private practice, then your noneconomic damages are capped at $250,000. This $250,000 limit applies no matter how many doctors and nurses you sue; you can only claim up to $250,000 total in noneconomic damages. Similarly, if you sue a single hospital or other healthcare institution, the noneconomic damages are capped at $250,000.
If you sue multiple hospitals or healthcare institutions, you can claim $250,000 from each institution, but you can’t claim more than $500,000 in total. This means that there is a benefit to holding more hospitals responsible instead of individual doctors since hospitals are usually better equipped to pay damages for medical malpractice victims anyway.
Note that these caps only apply to noneconomic damages. You can claim as much as you deserve for medical bills and lost wages; the law only caps damages for pain and suffering and other noneconomic damages. There may also be damages available for “punitive damages” to punish a bad actor, but these are also “noneconomic damages” and would also be subject to caps in Texas medical malpractice cases.
Call Our Texas Hospital Negligence and Medical Malpractice Lawyers
If you or a loved one was injured in a hospital or faced medical malpractice or a bad outcome in your hospitalization or surgical procedure, talk to a Fort Worth medical malpractice lawyer about filing a lawsuit. The Queenan Law Firm’s Arlington, TX personal injury lawyer represents victims of medical negligence and other injuries in lawsuits against hospitals and other responsible parties. For a free case consultation and more information about how much a case against a hospital can be worth, call our law offices today at (817) 476-1797.