Thursday, 21 of June of 2018

Medical Malpractice Damages Cap Considered in North Carolina (NC)

Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, said GOP colleagues will file a bill this week to limit noneconomic damages in malpractice cases and divide such trials into two parts for questions of liability and monetary damages.

By Randy Appleton, North Carolina Medical Malpractice Attorney

North Carolina lawmakers are seeking to bring in a medical malpractice cap in the state like the one in Virginia. The new Republican majority is attempting to advance a policy that has been talked about for years in the state: Medical malpractice reform that they claim would bring down costs for doctors and other businesses, CNBC reported.

Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, said GOP colleagues will file a bill this week to limit noneconomic damages in malpractice cases and divide such trials into two parts for questions of liability and monetary damages.

The NC Medical Society, which represents 12,000 licensed physicians, or about 70 percent of the state’s practicing doctors, praised the Legislature for being willing to take up medical liability issues.

But North Carolina Advocates for Justice, the state’s leading trial lawyer lobbying group, said malpractice premiums and lawsuits are down and caps have been found to be unlawful in some states. The Georgia Supreme Court ruled unanimously last year that a $350,000 cap on noneconomic damages was unconstitutional.

In contrast, Virginia (VA) has a medical malpractice cap that’s been frozen at $2 million for the last two years. Although the cap is likely to be raised by $50,000 a year beginning in 2012, our firm has argued it’s an arbitrary law that gives special treatment to healthcare companies at the expense of the victims.

In Virginia, if a physician or a nurse causes a permanent injury and your spouse can never work again as a result, for example, the most he or she can ever receive is $2 million dollars because of the cap, even if an economist estimates that over their work-life expectancy, your husband or wife would have made $5 million dollars.

Notwithstanding the limitations of the cap our attorneys are committed to fighting for the highest awards possible for those who have been injured by acts of medical malpractice. In 2007, one of our own attorneys, James Lewis was recognized by Virginia Lawyers Weekly for obtaining one of the state’s largest verdicts that year. Jim’s case involved a medical malpractice claim for injuries inflicted upon the plaintiff, an infant, during a difficulty delivery. The delivery resulted in permanent injury to the plaintiff’s shoulder and arm. A Virginia Beach Circuit Court jury awarded $1.75 million, the medical malpractice cap at the time of the injury to the plaintiff and an additional $137,224 to the plaintiff’s mother.

DM

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper Lewis & Appleton is a law firm whose attorneys focus on injury and accident law, and we have experience handling medical malpractice cases involving hospital and doctor mistakes, nursing home abuse and neglect. Check out our case results to see for yourself. Though not every case meets our criteria, we offer free, initial consultations. Give us a call at (800) 752-0042. If you can’t get through due to high call volume, leave a message and we will return your call promptly. Also be sure to check out our free special report Top 10 Tips from a Medical Malpractice Insider. Our primary office is in Virginia Beach, Virginia (VA), but we also have offices in Hampton, VA, and Elizabeth City, North Carolina (NC).  Our lawyers hold licenses in NC, SC, WV, KY, FL and DC. We also host an extensive injury law video library on Youtube . Furthermore, our lawyers proudly edit the Virginia Beach Injuryboard and Norfolk Injuryboard as pro bono public information services.