Texas Supreme Court Throws Out Clear Cut Example of Medical Negligence

How terrible for the family of Beverly Gross, to actually receive justice following her wrongful death only to have it whisked away by the Texas Supreme Court.

On February 1, the Texas Supreme Court reversed both the trial court and the court of appeals in the wrongful death and medical malpractice lawsuit on behalf of Beverly Gross. Beverly committed suicide three days after a psychiatrist declined to involuntarily hospitalize her for psychiatric care.

Both the trial jury and the court of appeals found in favor of Beverly’s family, finding that the psychiatrist committed medical negligence by deciding against hospitalization and ignoring her history of suicidal behavior and the recommendations of two other psychiatrists, one of whom had treated Beverly within the week prior to the decision to release her.

Beverly voluntarily admitted herself to a hospital after police found her disoriented and trying to hurt herself in her home when they responded to a call reporting gunshots from her house. When she asked to be released, her doctor successfully obtained a detention warrant to have her involuntarily admitted based on the continuing risk she would harm herself.

After her transfer to a state mental health facility, a staff psychiatrist named Diego Rodriguez-Escobar examined Beverly’s medical records and spoke with her for a total of 45 minutes. Based on these minimal sources of information, Rodriguez-Escobar decided she did not meet the requirements of involuntary hospitalization and released her. She committed suicide three days later, on her 53rd birthday.

The Texas Supreme Court did not hear oral arguments in this case, basing its decision solely on review of the written arguments submitted by Rodriquez-Escobar’s attorneys and the attorneys representing Beverly’s family. The Texas Supreme Court found that the Gross family’s psychiatric expert witness failed during the trial to present enough evidence that hospitalization would have lessened the chance Beverly would commit suicide.

This case presents an excellent, and chilling, example of how time-consuming and expensive wrongful death and medical malpractice lawsuits are. You can read more about the history of the legal battle in this Austin Statesman article. A family that files a medical malpractice case will almost always experience years of legal battles, since hospitals and doctors are more than willing to fight back“ and have the resources to do so.

Families who have lost a loved one due to the negligence or malpractice of a medical malpractice should seek advice from experienced attorneys like the Texas medical malpractice team at the personal injury law firm of Bailey & Galyen. We encourage you to contact us for a no-obligation consultation if you“ or someone you know“ has questions about medical malpractice.


What Does It Take to WIN Your Slip and Fall Lawsuit?

The Texas Supreme Court has not been a friend of the slip and fall victim. Over the last decade the Texas higher courts have handed down multiple decisions making it increasingly difficult for slip and fall victims to obtain any recovery for their injuries and losses. Many victims have even lost their right to a jury trial due to No Evidence Summary Judgment rulings that kill the lawsuit prior to trial, denying slip and fall victims even an opportunity for justice. This is why you cannot fight this battle alone! You must find an attorney who understands what it takes to overcome these obstacles and WIN this battle! You cannot afford to trust your lawsuit to just any attorney. Choosing the wrong representative could be very costly!

To prevail in a premises liability (slip and fall) claim, you must prove:

  1. the owner or operator of the premises knew or should have known of the condition/substance that caused the injury
  2. the condition posed an unreasonable risk of harm
  3. the owner did not exercise reasonable care to reduce or eliminate the risk; and
  4. the owner’s failure to use such care caused or contributed to your injuries

Often, the most difficult element of your slip and fall claim to prove is that the owner of the premises knew or should have known of the dangerous condition or substance that caused the injury. This proof can be established in one of three ways:

  1. the owner or an employee created the harmful condition (i.e., an employee left water on the floor)
  2. the owner or an employee saw or was told about the harmful condition (i.e., a customer told an employee there was a spill); or
  3. a showing that the substance or condition was present for so long that it should have been discovered through reasonable inspection

If you become injured in a slip and fall incident, taking the following steps may prove invaluable in winning your lawsuit:

  1. Gather witness information from both employees and customers who may have knowledge pertaining to the incident
  2. Determine whether there is a video camera that may have recorded the area where the incident occurred and request that recording
  3. Observe the area, looking for the probable source/cause of the condition that caused the injury
  4. Listen to what the employees and witnesses are saying. Did anyone mention that the condition was there before for example, I was about to clean that or I told you to fix that? Any employee statement that indicates someone knew the condition was there before you fell is EXTREMELY helpful.
  5. Contact an attorney who is an expert in representing victims of slip and falls immediately.

And Now, Speaking on Behalf of Big Insurance: The Texas Supreme Court

Earlier this month, the Texas Supreme Court once again cast its arms around Big Business and shoved Texans out the door.

Not so long ago, if you were the victim of an accident wherein medical bills were incurred you could present the total amount of his bills to a jury even if your insurance had paid the majority of those bills. This was fair. After all, one of the elements of damages that you are entitled to is pain and suffering. One way to convey how much pain you suffered is to show the amount of bills you had to pay to not have that pain anymore.

But that has changed. The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that the only bills you can present to a jury are the ones you still owe.

Let me give you an example: Let’s say that you are the victim of an accident wherein your medical bills are $100,000.00. Let’s further say that you were responsible enough to have medical insurance (which, by the way, you paid dearly for because medical insurance is not cheap). In our example, your insurance paid $90,000.00 of your bill and has a lien to get reimbursed of $10,000.00.

The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that the only amount you can present to the jury is $20,000.00 (the $10,000.00 left over from the original bill plus the $10,000.00 insurance lien). Will $20,000.00 give the jury an accurate picture of how injured you really were? No. So, whatever pain and suffering you would have received is now likely reduced by a large amount.

But let’s take this a step further. Under this new law, the person who hit you and caused the accident, caused you to incur medical bills, caused you to lose time from work, and caused you the pain and suffering now benefits from YOUR insurance.

Yep, the person who slammed into you AND his insurance company get the benefit of all those premiums that YOU paid. The bills HE caused are reduced by the insurance YOU paid for.

It is as if you are being punished for being responsible enough to carry insurance.

And here is a head scratcher: On one hand, we have Federal Government trying to force everyone to buy insurance while the Texas Supreme Court says, yes, but you better never use it in car accidents!.

Excuse me, Texas Supreme Court, but your bias is showing. Again.