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The Bison Law Firm is here to help individuals and families who have been injured due to a healthcare professional's negligence.

Medical malpractice can be fatal. If you or anybody in your family has been affected by the negligence or irresponsible behavior of a medical professional, you need to call someone with experience in legal representation to pursue and recover the damages.

If you’re thinking about filing a medical malpractice claim in Collin County, Dallas, Fort Worth or the surrounding DFW area, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the different state laws that could have an impact on your case.

The Texas Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Texas has a specific “statute of limitations” that puts a time limit on an injured patient’s right to file a medical malpractice case in court.

In Collin County, Dallas, Fort Worth or the surrounding DFW area, a person injured by medical negligence has two years to bring a lawsuit to court. The two-year clock begins running on the date the malpractice occurred. If the medical error occurred as part of a course of continuous medical treatment, the two-year statute of limitations “clock” usually begins to run on the last day of that treatment.

If the injured patient was a child under the age of 12, a medical malpractice lawsuit may be filed on the minor’s behalf anytime before the child’s 14th birthday.

It’s important to note that Texas courts don’t give much weight to whether or not the injured patient could have known (or in the eyes of the law should have known) that he or she had been harmed by a health care provider’s error. The key date for purposes of the statute of limitations “clock” is the date on which the error occurred (one big exception seems to be cases in which the health care provider’s error was fraudulently concealed).

You can find the Texas statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits at Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code section 74.251

The “Statute of Repose” in Texas Medical Malpractice Cases

Texas also observes a so-called “statute of repose” for medical malpractice lawsuits, which says that no matter when a medical malpractice-caused injury might have been discovered or treatment might have ended, a case must be brought within ten years of the date the negligent act occurred. Cases that are filed more than ten years after the date of injury will almost certainly be dismissed by the court.

Texas Caps “Non-Economic Damages” in Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Texas is one of many states that place a legislative cap on damages in medical malpractice cases, although the Texas cap applies to non-economic damages only. Non-economic damages include compensation for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, anxiety and stress, and other subjective losses caused by the defendant’s malpractice. Economic damages, which cover financial losses like medical bills and lost wages, are not capped in Texas.

Here are the highlights of the law (you can read the full text at Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code section 74.301): There is a $250,000 “per claimant” cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases against a single physician or other health care provider in Texas (that means per injured patient in a particular lawsuit against one defendant). For cases against multiple health care institutions, there is an overall cap of $500,000 per-claimant for non-economic damages. Finally, no single institution can be on the hook for more than $250,000 in non-economics, per-claimant.

The Notice Requirement in a Texas Medical Malpractice Case

Before an injured patient can file a medical malpractice lawsuit in the Texas civil court system, Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code section 74.051 requires that the prospective plaintiff (usually through an attorney) provide written notice of the claim to each health care provider to be named in the lawsuit, at least 60 days before the case is filed. This notice must be sent via certified mail, return receipt requested.

Along with the notice of claim, the patient must provide each named health care provider with an “authorization form for release of protected health information,” so that the provider(s) can begin to investigate the patient’s claims.

The Expert Report Requirement in Texas Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

In Texas, an injured patient (or his or her attorney) who files a medical malpractice lawsuit in court must also serve an expert report—similar to an affidavit of merit—on each defendant. In 2021, the Texas legislature passed a law intended to prevent health care providers from demanding expert reports from plaintiffs in cases beyond medical malpractice claims (such as a slip and fall accident on hospital property, for example). The new law allows the injured patient to ask the court to issue a “preliminary determination” as to whether the claim is a medical malpractice claim that requires an expert report. If the court determines that the case does require an expert report, the injured patient must serve the report on each defendant within the later of:

  • 120 days of filing the lawsuit
  • 60 days of the court’s order, or
  • a date agreed to (in writing) by the plaintiff and the defendant(s).

If the court doesn’t issue a preliminary determination ruling within 90 days of the plaintiff’s request, the court must issue a preliminary determination that the claim requires the plaintiff to serve an expert report on the defendant(s). (You can find these rules at Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code section 74.353.)

If the injured patient does not request a preliminary determination from the court, the expert report must be served on each defendant within 120 days of filing the lawsuit.

The expert report must summarize:

  • the opinion of a qualified expert regarding the applicable standard of care
  • the way in which the defendant failed to meet that standard, and
  • the causal relationship between the failure and the harm inflicted on the plaintiff.

If the expert report is not filed before the appropriate deadline, the court may dismiss the case.

If you have questions about what it takes to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Texas, contact the Bison Law Firm today.  Our attorneys provide years of expertise to those families and individuals who have been injured due to a healthcare professional’s negligence.

At the Bison Law Firm, we understand the hardships caused by the mistakes and negligence of a medical professional. Our attorneys can help with the issues of medical bills, loss of employment, disability, and many other difficult situations.

Types Of Medical Malpractice Cases Handled

Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, nurse, or other medical workers fail to meet the professional standards of their field. Some examples of medical malpractice may be:
Surgical Malpractice
If you or a loved one has been injured due to a surgical error, we may be able to recover damages on your behalf. Read more ›
Hospital Malpractice
If you have been victimized by substandard hospital care, our team can help you. Read more ›

The Bison Law Firm attorneys have helped many families injured due to hospital negligence. Read more ›
Pharmacy Errors
If you or a loved one has been injured due to a pharmacy error, our lawyers can provide you with professional assistance. Read more ›
Defective Medical Devices
If you or a loved one has been negatively affected by a failed medical device, our attorney’s offices are here to help. Read more ›
Birth Injuries
The Bison Law Firm has the expertise necessary for cases in which individuals have been harmed due to a birth injury. Read more ›