Doctors, lawyers support N.C. medical malpractice bill

Doctors and lawyers are in agreement on a bill that would cap monetary damages at a million dollars in some medical malpractice cases.

Both the North Carolina Medical Society and the N-C Academy of Trial Lawyers support a bill, which is set for House debate tonight. The measure caps monetary damages in negligence cases at a million dollars, but only for those who agree to go to binding arbitration.

The agreement is a marked change from previous years. Before now, physicians have blamed rising malpractice insurance premiums on multimillion-dollar awards by runaway juries, of which lawyers usually receive a percentage.

Trial attorneys wouldn’t agree to award limits sought by doctors and hospitals, saying patients need financial protection for mistakes by the truly worst physicians.

Under the bill, plaintiffs and defendants in a patient negligence lawsuit against a doctor or hospital could agree to settle their case under binding arbitration.
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