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What kinds of damages may be awarded for medical malpractice?

In the state of Texas statutory law controls how much a successful plaintiff in a medical malpractice lawsuit may recover for noneconomic damages.

Economic damages – meaning amounts of money to compensate the plaintiff for actual economic or monetary losses – are not subject to restriction. Noneconomic damages, however, are subject to statutory maximum amounts.

Noneconomic damages refer to amounts sought in connection with claims that do not lend themselves to economic calculation, such as physical and emotional pain and suffering, loss of consortium, companionship or society, disfigurement or physical impairment, loss of enjoyment of life, and injury to reputation. Texas law restricts these damages based on whether they are awarded against a health care provider or a health care institution.

Damages against a health care provider – which can be an individual like a doctor or an institution like a hospital – are capped at $250,000 per claimant. Damages against a health care institution found to be solely liable may be no more than $250,000 per claimant; if multiple institutions are found liable, then each defendant institution may be liable for $250,000 per claimant, but no claimant may be awarded more than a total of $500,000.

The law controlling these damages amount caps was passed in 2003. Unlike some other states which allow the damages limitation to be adjusted for inflation, the Texas law does not allow for inflation indexing.

Thus, the amount of damages that any one individual may be awarded for a medical malpractice claim are the sum of his or her economic damages plus up to $500,000 in noneconomic damages.

Be aware that this post is only a summary of how Texas law calculates medical malpractice damages. Economic damages in particular may be complex to calculate, and depend heavily upon the facts of each individual case.

If you have specific questions about a possible medical malpractice claim and how much you may recover for it, it is advisable to consult with a qualified legal professional.

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