So, who’s the man looking to fill Rick Perry’s boots?
“When Greg Abbott’s spine was crushed by a falling oak tree in 1984 he had no health insurance, no paycheck and no feeling in his legs.
But he had a good lawyer and, back then, access to a civil justice system that was generally hospitable toward plaintiffs. So Abbott did what many people would do in his situation: he sued.
The parties reached a settlement in 1986, the details of which Abbott discussed for the first time last week. The proceeds were paid by the defendants’ insurance companies. Under the agreement, Abbott receives periodic lump sum payments plus monthly income. By the end of this year, he will have received about $5.8 million and is entitled to monthly income from the settlement until he dies.”
The accident first became an issue in Abbott’s 2002 race for attorney general, when he criticized his Democratic rival for being a personal injury lawyer. Don Riddle, the lawyer who represented Abbott in his own personal injury suit against the owner of the tree and the company that took care of it, suggested his old client was being a hypocrite.
“Then in 2003, the Legislature capped noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases at $250,000, a move that Abbott supported. That means when the medical equivalent of a freak tree accident happens in an emergency room today, people who sue the doctors face a limit on the amount of noneconomic damages they can receive. That limit is frozen in statute at $250,000 and does not have any built-in increases for the rising cost of living. ”
Catastrophically injured Texans now often find themselves without the legal remedies Abbott had at the time of his settlement, and they are forced to go on government assistance at taxpayer expense because the liable party cannot be held accountable for negligent acts.
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