Press Release
From the Office of State Senator Craig Estes, District 30

For Immediate Release
November 12, 2002
Contact: Lewis Simmons
Phone: (512) 463-0130 ~ (940) 636-3765

Senator Estes Supports Medical Liability Reform

AUSTIN -- State Senator Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, is co-authoring legislation designed to prevent medical lawsuit abuse and the exploding costs of medical liability insurance from causing further damage to the state's health care system and improve access for patients.

Estes is co-authoring the legislation which was filed today by State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Lewisville. Nelson is chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Prompt Payment of Health Care Providers which has been studying ways to rein in the cost of medical liability insurance.

"I am proud to join Senator Nelson in supporting this important piece of legislation as we seek solutions to the medical liability insurance crisis in our state," Estes said.

"The skyrocketing cost of medical malpractice insurance is driving doctors out of business, further aggravating the shortage of physicians we are experiencing. This legislation seeks to make sure all Texans have access to the medical care they need and deserve," Estes said.

Tuesday was the first day that members of the Texas Legislature could pre-file legislation for the 78th Session which opens Jan. 14, 2003.

Senate Bill 12, the Medical Liability Insurance Reform Act, seeks to reduce the number of frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits and place a reasonable cap on lawsuit judgments. Key components of the bill include a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages, clarification of the statue of limitations for filing malpractice cases, a provision allowing payment of claims through periodic payments rather than a lump sum, and a limit on attorney contingency fees.

Nelson's committee found that doctors and hospitals are spending $1 million a day fighting frivolous lawsuits and that about 85 percent of all malpractice lawsuits are closed without a finding for the plaintiff.