The North Carolina Senate has recently passed a bill that is expected to reform medical malpractice laws. Specifically, the bill will limit the amount of money plaintiffs can be awarded following a civil trial within the state. The legislature’s hope is that with the liability of medical malpractice limited, higher quality doctors and medical personnel will stay within the state. The goals of the Senate also include a hope to lower health care costs because as liability decreases, the cost of medical malpractice insurance will also become lower. Although it is a great advantage for the state to have lower health care costs and more respected medical personnel, this action may also limit the availability of just remedies to those who are hurt by medical malpractice and negligence.
Patient’s Remedies Become Limited
Patients in North Carolina will still be able to recover medical costs and lost income that result from medical malpractice or negligence. However, there will now be a $500,000 cap on the amount juries are able to award for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. A safeguard is included for plaintiffs which says that this cap is not relevant when a doctor or health care providers conduct is seen as grossly negligent, fraudulent, intentional, malicious, or reckless disregard for others that results in death, permanent injury, disfigurement, or loss of a part of the body. This exception does not cover incidents when patients are seriously injured by medical malpractice that does not fall into one of these narrow exception categories. North Carolina Senate President Phil Berger stated:
“Our citizens suffer in a lottery-like system that lets trial lawyers win big while doctors flee to states where they can practice without fear of unfair lawsuits. I commend our members for reaching a reasonable compromise.”
What Berger fails to recognize is that the legal system and judges are in place to decide when a lawsuit is unfair. If a judge allows a case to go to trial, why shouldn’t injured patients be allowed to collect damages that a jury of their peers found fitting? Medical malpractice and negligence is the problem, plaintiffs who collect money following extreme pain and suffering is justice. Limiting the amount of money that severely injured people can collect is extremely unfair, especially when much of that suffering comes at the hands of doctors that are paid to be attentive, not negligent.
Medical Malpractice Attorneys in New Jersey and Philadelphia
If you or a loved one has recently undergone a medical procedure but are still in pain which you believe can be attributed to medical malpractice, it is possible that you have some questions. Please contact the Mininno Law Office at 856-833-0600 in New Jersey, or 215-567-2380 in Philadelphia.