New Changes in House Bill 4 - The Parker Report News Insurance Claims Adjuster Property and Casualty Insurance Claims Adjuster,insurance newsletters,independent adjuster newsletters,claims adjuster newsletters,insurance adjuster newsletters,quinley, kevin quinley, ahmed, visibillity,Bernazzani, Newsletters,

Become a member and contribute content to Add your company to the Vendor Directory Add job openings to the Career Center
My Claims-Portal
Jan 25, 2021    
 - Member Benefits
 - Become a Member
 - About Us
 - Advertising

this page!
Independent Adjusters
Dyanclaim for Claims Websites

News Tools
Claims News Home
Member Blogs
Submit A News Story
Email Lists
The Claims Report
Contact The Editor
Browse Categories
Claims News Sections
  Claims News Archives
  Association Announcements
  Business Announcements
  NAIIA Member Announcements
  Other Categories
Claims-Portal Vendor Directory


Print Story
New Changes in House Bill 4
By Kevin McGillicuddy - Parker & Associates

Claims Software


The principal tort reform bill adopted by Texas’ 78th Legislature was HB 4. This is a long and complex bill, but some highlights of some of its provisions follow:

Art. 1 – Class Actions – Extends jurisdiction to the Texas Supreme Court to hear an appeal from a trial court order certifying or refusing to certify a class, and stays all proceedings in the trial court pending that appeal. Requires the Texas Supreme Court to adopt rules for calculation of fees to be awarded to class counsel, including rules that will base fees on hours actually worked.

Art. 2 – Settlement Offers – Provides a number of incentives for parties to make and accept reasonable settlement offers early in lawsuits by shifting litigation-related costs when a party refuses a pre-trial settlement offer that turns out to be as good as or better than what that party ultimately wins.

Art. 3 – Multidistrict Litigation – Creates a five-member Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation that is empowered to transfer factually related cases pending in multiple counties to a single court for consolidated or coordinated pretrial proceedings. However, the cases must be returned to the county in which the case was filed for trial.

Art 3. – Forum Non Conveniens – Creates a single standard, based on federal law, for determining whether a case should be dismissed so that it may be pursued in a more appropriate state or country. The court will be able to dismiss a case that has no connection to Texas and should have been brought in another state or country if dismissal is in the interest of justice and for the convenience of the parties.

Art. 4 – Proportionate Responsibility – Permits the jury to consider fault of any responsible person, including a bankrupt, criminal, person beyond the court’s jurisdiction, or employer with workers’ compensation immunity. Purpose is to ensure that named defendants will be held responsible only for the portion of fault attributable to them after the jury considers the conduct of all potentially responsible persons. However, this does not impose additional liability on parties such as subscribing employers who are immune to liability. Also adjusts certain rules on pre-trial settlement allocations.

Art. 5 – Products Liability Reform – Establishes a 15 year statute of repose for PL claims, except in “latent disease” cases. Creates an “innocent retailer defense,” although there are numerous exceptions to that defense. Provides some protection from liability (creates a rebuttable presumption) to manufacturers, distributors, or prescribers of pharmaceutical products when it is alleged that the defendant failed to provide an adequate warning and if the defendant provided government approved warnings. Also provides similar protections in some cases to manufacturers who comply with federal standards or regulatory requirements applicable to a product.

Art. 6. – Pre-Judgment Interest – Prohibits assessment of pre-judgment interest on an award of future damages. Also establishes a post-judgment interest rate based on the prime rate. Adjusts the current floor/ceiling post-judgment interest rate to 5% / 15%.

Art. 7. – Appeal Bonds – Modifies rules relating to bonds so that the cost of a bond alone will not make an appeal prohibitive. Bond requirement limited to compensatory damages, with additional reasonable limits.

Art. 8 – Evidence Relating to Seat Belts – Allows the jury or fact-finder to know whether a plaintiff was wearing a seat belt at the time of an accident for the purpose of allocating fault and determining the cause of damages.

Art. 10 – Health Care Liability Reform – Establishes certain limits on non-economic damages, based on whether the defendant is a physician or other health care provider, or a health care institution. Clarifies cap on damages in wrongful death and survival cases. Cap (which adjusts for inflation and is now at about $1.4 million today) now includes punitive damages. The cap also applies to all defendants, regardless of the number of defendants. Also, the liability of an insurer under the Stowers Doctrine is limited to the liability amount of the insured. Allows certain future damages to be paid through periodic payments. Limits the recovery of health care expenses to the amount actually paid or incurred by the claimant. Establishes a 10 year statute of repose for health care liability cases. Makes a number of other changes relating to HIPPA confidentiality, Expert qualifications, Good Samaritan Law, liability of hospitals providing charity care.

Art. 11 – Claims Against Health Care Workers in Public Hospitals – Extends limit on personal liability of governmental employees to health care personnel employed by a public hospital and physicians providing emergency services at the hospital.

Art. 13 – Damages – Requires jury awards of punitive damages to be based on a unanimous verdict. Allows the jury to consider a plaintiff’s income taxes when awarding lost future income. Limits recovery of health care expenses to those actually incurred by the plaintiff.

Art. 15 – Public School Teachers – Provides additional protection against frivolous litigation.

Art. 16 – Admissibility of Evidence (Nursing Homes) – Limits the admissibility of various surveys, reports and findings by state agencies.

Art. 17 – Successor Liability for Asbestos Related Litigation – Limits a successor corporation’s liability for wrongdoing of the acquired company to the amount of the assets of the acquired company if the acquisition took place before May 13, 1968.

Art. 18 & 19 – Charitable / Volunteer Immunity – Provides protection from lawsuits for volunteers of charitable organizations and volunteer firefighters.

Art. 20 – Design Professionals – Requires a plaintiff, in a suit against a registered architect or licensed professional engineer, to provide, at the time suit is filed, an affidavit by a third-party registered architect or LPE setting forth the specific acts of negligence alleged.

Art. 21 – Limitation on Trespass Actions for Air Contaminants – Limits trespass action for migration or transport of an air contaminant (except for odors) to require a showing of actual and substantial damage.

Art. 22 – Limitation of Liability for Nonprofit Hospitals – Limits liability of a nonprofit hospital or system that provides charity care in an amount equal to at least 8% of the net patient revenue of the hospital or system and provides at least 40% of the charity care provided in the county where the hospital or system is located.

Art. 23 – Effective Dates – All provisions of the bill effective September 1, 2003, however Article 4, Article 5, and Article 8 provisions apply to suits filed on or after July 1, 2003. Article 2 applies to actions filed on or after January 1, 2004.

Should you have any questions or need additional information regarding this article please email Kevin McGillicuddy

Submitted by:
J.T. Parker & Associates, L.L.C.
1341 W. Mockingbird Ln., Suite 300W
Dallas, TX 75247
214.631.3700 Fax

Related Links:
The Parker Report Directory Page
Print Story

Send Someone This Story
Your e-mail:
Their e-mail:

Browse All Columns and Newsletters
Newsletters Home   |   RSS Feeds
Claims News   |   Announcements   |   Member Blogs   |   Letters To The Editor
Contact The Claims News Editor

  •  Announcements
  •  Claims Events
  •  Insurance News
  •  Special Offers
  •  Newsletters
  •  Blogs
  •  RSS Feeds
  •  Directory
  •  insURLinks
  •  Classifieds
  •  About Us
  •  Contact Us
  •  Advertising
  •  Member Search

  •  Registration
  •  Login
  •  E-Mail Lists
  • Home  |   Privacy Policy  |   Terms of Service  |   Site Map
    © 1998-2021, LLC