Texas Supreme Court Discusses Requirements Of Periodic Payments Statute In Birth Injury Medical Malpractice Case

Texas Civil Remedies & Procedures Code § 74.503

Texas Civil Remedies & Procedures Code § 74.503, Texas’ periodic-payments statute for medical malpractice cases, provides that “[a]t the request of a defendant physician or health care provider or claimant, the court shall order that medical, health care, or custodial services awarded in a health care liability claim be paid in whole or in part in periodic payments rather than by a lump-sum payment.” Id. § 74.503(a). “At the request of a defendant physician or healthcare provider or claimant,” moreover, “the court may order that future damages other than medical, health care, or custodial services . . . be paid in whole or in part in periodic payments rather than by a lump sum payment.” Id. § 74.503(b).

The statute further provides that: (c) The court shall make a specific finding of the dollar amount of periodic payments that will compensate the claimant for the future damages. (d) The court shall specify in its judgment ordering the payment of future damages by periodic payments the: (1) recipient of the payments; (2) dollar amount of the payments; (3) interval between payments; and (4) number of payments or the period of time over which payments must be made. Id. § 74.503(c)–(d).

The periodic payments are to be made “to the recipient of future damages at defined intervals.” Id. § 74.501(3). Such “[p]eriodic payments, other than future loss of earnings, terminate on the death of the recipient.” Id. § 74.506(b). Finally, “[f]or purposes of computing the award of attorney’s fees,” the court must reduce the periodic payments to present value “based on the claimant’s projected life expectancy,” id. § 74.507.

The Texas Supreme Court stated in a birth injury medical malpractice case in which the trial court failed to follow the statutory mandates regarding future medical expenses awarded by the jury, “The judgment below is reversed in part and the case is remanded to the district court for further proceedings that will allow it to render a judgment that complies with the periodic-payments statute, including the statutory provision governing calculations necessary for the payment of attorney’s fees. In all other respects, the judgment below is affirmed … Both parties are entitled to explain, and support with existing evidence, why a particular structure is sensible. The parties should have the opportunity to address whether the presentation of additional evidence that does not contravene the jury’s verdict would be necessary or helpful to the trial court in discharging its task of rendering a lawful judgment that complies with the periodic-payments statute.”

Source Columbia Valley Healthcare System, L.P. v. A.M.A., A Minor, No. 20-0681 (delivered on April 22, 2022).

If you or a loved one have suffered serious harm as a result of medical negligence in Texas or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a Texas medical malpractice attorney, or a medical malpractice attorney in your state, who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, July 7th, 2022 at 5:27 am. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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