About Houston Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuits
In 2003, the State of Texas passed a Tort Reform law which was designed to limit medical malpractice and nursing home abuse lawsuits in Texas. It did this in two significant ways:
1) The law capped the amount of non-economic damages (also called “pain and suffering”) at $250,000 in most cases.
2) The law introduced a number of legal changes and traps designed to stack the deck in the hospital or nursing home’s favor.
Tort reform was effective. In the year before Tort Reform took full effect approximately 1,250 medical malpractice and nursing home lawsuits were filed in Harris County. In the years since the law has been in force, the number of cases filed in Harris County has fallen to approximately 215 each year.
Over the last five years, as a result of tort reform, most Texas nursing home lawyers have either sought early retirement, moved to other states, or changed the area of law that they practice in.
While tort reform did dramatically reduce the number of nursing home abuse lawsuits and nursing home lawyers in Texas, it actually increased the number of incidents of abuse. That is because, now that Texas nursing homes are no longer afraid of being sued for their neglect, they have begun to cut the quality of their care so that they could increase their profits. This has meant cutting the number of staff, reducing the amount paid to staff, and cutting back on staff supervision, care quality and not investing in new technology. Stated simply, because nursing homes have not been held accountable for abusing or neglecting their patients, they have begun to make intentional cost-cutting business decisions which virtually ensure abuse and neglect will occur.
Unfortunately, for many nursing home abuse victims and their families, they face a dual problem of worsening care at nursing homes, and a lack of experienced attorneys able to handle their Houston nursing home case.
Attorney Rich McIver is one of the few dedicated nursing home and medical malpractice attorneys practicing in the Houston area. He has been voted by Texas Lawyer’s Group as the Texas’ Top Nursing Home Abuse Attorney in 2011, and was able to achieve the largest verdict in a Texas nursing home abuse case in 2011, according to VerdictSearch.