North Carolina Senate Bill 33 Effects Still Felt By Injured Patients

North Carolina Senate Bill 33 Effects Still Felt By Injured Patients

Charlotte, NC Personal Injury Lawyer

Several years ago the North Carolina legislature passed Senate Bill 33, a bill that enacted sweeping changes to medical malpractice cases in North Carolina. A medical malpractice case is, in essence, a lawsuit filed against a doctor, hospital, or other healthcare provider seeking compensation for medical errors and mistakes. In times past these types of cases could result in injured patients recovering hundreds of thousands of dollars; however, in recent years, there has been significant national discourse regarding reforming medical malpractice laws as a way of curbing the rise in healthcare costs.

The changes to North Carolina medical malpractice law as a result of Senate Bill 33 are significant and can impact not only how much an injured patient can recover but whether that patient can recover any compensation at all. Some of the most significant changes include:

  • An expansion of the definition of a medical malpractice case. After Senate Bill 33, medical malpractice actions include claims for personal injury and wrongful death resulting from the furnishing of or failure to furnish medical, dental, or other healthcare services. The definition also includes claims of negligent supervision, monitoring, or credentialing of health care staff.
  • A medical malpractice claim is proven by evidence showing that the health care professional failed to deliver care in accordance with the practice standards of individuals both (1) in the same health care profession (doctor, dentist, etc.) and (2) who had similar training and experience and who were in similar circumstances at the time the malpractice occurred.
  • Emergency medical care providers can only be held responsible for care that violated the applicable standard of care and that is proven by “clear and convincing evidence” (a more difficult standard than the normal “by a preponderance of the evidence” standard applicable in most civil cases).
  • Noneconomic damages – such as damages for pain and suffering and loss of consortium – are capped at $500,000 in most cases. This is meant to prevent injured patients from receiving large sums of compensation for injuries that are difficult to assign a monetary value to. Juries can exceed this $500,000 cap only upon making certain findings.

Making Recovery More Difficult for Injured Patients

Medical malpractice cases are difficult for injured plaintiffs. Not only must injured patients deal with the physical and emotional aftereffects of a medical mistake, but Senate Bill 33 made it more difficult for injured patients to recover full and fair compensation for their injuries. If a health care provider (a term that covers a broad range of individuals after Senate Bill 33) makes a mistake, he or she can be held responsible only if the mistake or failure was one that a reasonable professional in the same discipline with similar education and experience and under similar circumstances would not have made. And even if an injured plaintiff is successful, the limit on noneconomic damages means he or she may not recover a full measure of compensatory damages.

If you or a loved one has been injured by the mistake of a health care professional, contact Bice Law right away at (855) 5-BICE-LAW for a free consultation. We are here to help in any way possible.

Contact the Personal Injury Law Firm of Bice Law

The personal injury firm of Bice Law will examine your case to determine the type and amount of damages that your injury warrants, including payments for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and any permanent disability.  We’ll determine whether an out-of-court settlement or trial is the best strategy to obtain maximum benefits for you or your family. If you have suffered injury or harm because of someone else’s actions, take the first step to protect your legal rights – contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law serving both North and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, so act quickly.  Call (855) 5-BICE-LAW today or submit an online request  to get a free consultation with a  personal injury attorney. We serve families across both North Carolina and South Carolina.

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