Turner Files Measures To Increase Child Car Seat Safety, Clarify Medical Liability Law

AUSTIN — Today, State Representative Chris Turner (HD 101- Grand Prairie) filed two pieces of legislation, HB 955, which would require children remain in rear-facing car seats until the age of two, and HB 956, which seeks to clarify the definition of a health care liability claim.

HB 955 

HB 955 would create a state law requiring children to be restrained in a rear-facing car seat until the age of two, unless the child exceeds the height and weight limit for the car seat. According to a 2007 study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children up to 23 months old are about 75 percent less likely to die or sustain serious injury in a rear-facing car seat than a forward-facing one. This measure mirrors the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) car seat safety recommendations.

“Keeping kids safe should always be our top priority,” said Turner. “This bill will help inform parents and others about car seat safety and the need to keep children rear-facing longer.”

HB 956

HB 956 would clarify the definition of “claimant” in respect to a health care liability claim. This legislation stems from the Texas Supreme Court’s decision in the Texas West Oak case, which held that an on-the-job injury claim brought by a hospital worker was required to have expert report like those required in a traditional medical malpractice case. As a result of this decision, cases stemming from sexual assault, racial discrimination, or basic slip and falls, are considered a “Health Care Liability Claim” under the Texas Medical Liability Act, simply because they occur in a health care environment.

“Under current law, if a person is assaulted or injured in a healthcare setting and seeks legal relief, they are subject to the liability limits and other provisions laid out in the Texas Medical Liability Act. I am confident that this was not the intent of the law and something must be done to address it this session,” said Turner. “By making the definition apply solely to patients, we’ll ensure that a case filed by nurse who is sexually assaulted on the job or an electrician hit by a falling beam isn’t treated as medical malpractice.”