It was recently reported that Texas Congressman Michael Burgess (R-TX) has introduced federal tort reform legislation modeled after the Texas law capping damages in medical malpractice cases. Burgess’ measure would cap non-economic damages against any single healthcare provider at $250,000 and wrongful death total damages at $1.4 million. Dubbed the Medical Justice Act (H.R. 3509), the bill also would provide certain instructions for juries to consider in their deliberations, as well as criteria for expert opinion and testimony in medical liability cases in civil court.
But as we’ve previously noted, the Texas cap on damages in medical malpractice cases has had a downside in terms of quality of care as evidenced by a 79% increase in disciplinary actions by the Texas Medical Board from 2002 to 2006. So a nationwide cap on damages in medical malpractice cases may not be such good news for patients.