Texas Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Hindered By Tort Reform
Posted on Feb 28, 2013
In 2010, Connie Spears went to the emergency room at the Christus Santa Rosa hospital in San Antonio with severe pain in her leg. After a few tests, doctors diagnosed her with a non-life-threatening condition and sent her home. Only a few days later, Spears was rushed by ambulance to another hospital, where doctors found blood clots in her legs. The result of this mistake left Spears as a double amputee: the blood clots forced physicians to amputate both legs above the knees to save her life.
Now, Spears is battling not only her own Texas medical malpractice lawsuit, but also the tort reforms that have hindered her ability to get fair and just compensation.
In 2003, the state of Texas passed a law that said that compensation for non-economic damages could not exceed a payout of $250,000. The law further states that plaintiffs are required to provide an expert witness to prove the doctor’s acted negligently. This means the plaintiffs must find a doctor to testify on their behalf. Additionally, this must be done within the first 120 days of filing a lawsuit.
With these tort reform laws not working in her favor, her case soon fell apart. This happened simply due to an error in the expert witness report that stated the incorrect name in the testimony. This gave Spears and her lawyer too little time to find another expert witness as required under tort reform. As a result, she lost her case.
The hospital Mrs. Spears sued did not demand that she pay its legal fees, but other defendants did. Now, Spears has been forced to drain her personal savings, and she and her husband live with the risk of losing their home.
The staff and Texas medical malpractice attorneys at the Girards Law Firm send our best wishes to the Mrs. Spears and her family. We salute her continued determination to persevere, despite her tragic amputation and her struggle against the tort reform laws that left her and her husband in financial distress.