Tags:FROM REP. JIM DAVIS' OFFICE
The North Carolina Senate on Thursday passed a bipartisan compromise that reforms the state’s medical malpractice laws, a move that will help attract new jobs and high quality medical personnel and make health care more affordable and accessible for all North Carolinians.
Like the original version of Senate Bill 33, the conference report sets a $500,000 cap on the amount juries can award for pain and suffering and other “noneconomic damages.” But the new cap does not apply if a defendant’s act of gross negligence, fraud, intentional failure, malice, or reckless disregard for the rights of others results in someone’s death, disfigurement, permanent injury, or loss of a body part.
Patients still can recover all medical costs and lost income.
The bill protects doctors and medical personnel from frivolous lawsuits that force them to perform unnecessary procedures and tests. Every North Carolinian pays for that defensive medicine through higher insurance costs and taxpayer-funded medical programs for the poor.
“Serious efforts to improve our broken health care system must include malpractice reform,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham). “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.”
More than 25 other states have passed similar malpractice reform laws, and the number of physicians in many those states has steadily increased as a result.