In 2003, the state of Texas passed tort reform. This legislation created special considerations specific to medical malpractice claims, which includes the notice letter, medical authorization, and a tolling of the statute of limitations.
Before a plaintiff can sue a healthcare provider, they must provide the provider with a medical authorization. The required medical authorization is found in Chapter 74 of the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code. A notice requirement is also particular to medical malpractice claims. Prior to filing suit, the plaintiff can put the offending healthcare provider on notice of the claim and wait 60 days before actually filing. Alternatively, if the plaintiff does not wait to file suit, the healthcare provider can request a 60 day abatement from the court.
Providing notice and the required medical authorization also has the effect of tolling the statute of limitations for 75 days. One example would be if a plaintiff were injured by a healthcare provider on January 1, 2011, the plaintiff would normally have until January 1, 2013 to bring suit. The effect of tolling the statute gives the plaintiff 75 more days to bring suit, which means suit would have to be filed no later than March 17, 2013.
Medical malpractice is a difficult area of law as it requires an understanding of both the legal practice and the mechanics of medicine. Abraham Watkins offers a free consultation to anyone wishing to pursue such claims.