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Fri Jan 25, 2013, 09:42 PM

Despite Counsel, Amputee Hindered by Tort Laws

Preface: This story is of special interest since I am in the 1% of people knowledgeable about tort reform that is not an attorney or an insurance claim adjuster. When I read or hear about possible changes to tort reform laws, I jump to alert because it violates my sense of social justice when loopholes and obstructions are placed in the way of injured litigants and their dependents. Limiting monetary damages on the negligent or liable parties of a tort may lead to the less fortunate having to rely on social programs such as Medicaid, Social Security disability and food stamps. Therefore, I view some of the tort reform laws akin to corporate welfare and fascism.

In this story, we learn about some of side effects of the tort reform law changes in Texas that ruined the life of an unfortunate woman.




SAN ANTONIO — When Connie Spears arrived at a Christus Santa Rosa hospital emergency room in 2010 with severe leg pain, she told medical staff about her history of blood clots. Doctors sent her home with a far less serious diagnosis.

Days later, swollen and delusional, Spears was taken by ambulance to another hospital where doctors found a severe clot and extensive tissue damage. With her life on the line, they amputated both of her legs above the knee.

Nearly three years later, Spears says she is a victim not only of a medical mistake but also of Texas’ tort reform laws.

The massive tort reform package that Texas lawmakers approved in 2003 capped noneconomic damages a plaintiff can receive for medical malpractice at $250,000 and set a “willful and wanton” negligence standard — interpreted as intentionally harming the patient — for emergency care. It also required plaintiffs to find a practicing or teaching physician in the same specialty as the defendant to serve as an expert witness, and to demonstrate evidence of negligence ahead of a trial. Under the strengthened rules, if plaintiffs fail to produce adequate expert reports within 120 days of filing their cases, they are liable for defendants’ legal fees.

The story continues at http://www.texastribune.org/2013/01/25/double-amputee-challenges-texas-tort-reform/ .

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Reply Despite Counsel, Amputee Hindered by Tort Laws (Original post)
TexasTowelie Jan 2013 OP
mbperrin Jan 2013 #1
Ilsa Jan 2013 #2
LeftInTX Jan 2013 #3

Response to TexasTowelie (Original post)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 09:49 PM

1. Quite tragic. Warren Burnett, an Odessa attorney who took the first temporary insanity case all the

way to the US Supreme Court and won, once said about a proposed cap on damages: "Put a limit on pain and suffering, and I'll support a limit on awards."

Made sense then, makes sense now.

But we ARE talking about the Texas Legislature, the national laboratory for bad government, and themselves the cause of much pain and suffering.

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Response to TexasTowelie (Original post)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 11:15 PM

2. I hope she was awarded additional money

For her future medical expenses related to her prostheses, rehabilitation, prescriptions, etc. It isn't enough to cover her suffering, but I hope her lawyer added up all of her additional expenses in not being able to fully care for herself.

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Response to TexasTowelie (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 11:12 PM

3. When tort reform happened, I knew it was bad.

You're right, it's more or less a form of corporate welfare.

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