North Carolina's Attempts at Tort Reform

Side Note: North Carolina is attempting medical liability reform and the state is currently entertaining two different bills: one in the Senate and one in the House. The new North Carolina draft House bill aimed at med mal tort reform varies significantly from its Senate counter-part. First, the House bill would cap non-economic damages (eg, pain and suffering) at $250,000. The Senate bill sets the cap at $500,000. (There is currently no cap on non-economic damages in the state of North Carolina.) Second, the new House bill would have cases with punitive damages awarded over $100,000 have only one quarter of that go to the plaintiff. The remaining seventy-five percent would go to a new fund to support the state’s public schools. We here at are not quite sure why punitive damages in a med mal case should support the state of North Carolina’s school system… Finally, the draft House bill would protect drug manufacturers from liability in lawsuits. Again, we here at are not sure why. While we generally like to see attempts at tort reform, overall, this bill is not the best attempt at med mal reform that we’ve seen.

True med mal tort reform, like what has been accomplished in California, for example, can help to reduce the number of frivolous physician malpractice lawsuits and lower physicians’ medical malpractice insurance rates. We will continue to monitor North Carolina and keep you posted on their attempts at med mal reform. We hope that North Carolina will succeed in a reasonable tort reform effort and that its physicians will reap the rewards, including lower North Carolina liability insurance premiums.

Would you like to lower your North Carolina liability policy rates? To see if we can lower your med mal insurance rates, complete our free, no-obligation quote request form today.

Malpractice bill would protect drug companies
By Craig Jarvis
Posted: Thursday, Mar. 24, 2011

Doctor holding medical chartRALEIGH The House version of the medical malpractice reform bill that cleared the Senate this month would protect drug manufacturers from liability in lawsuits.

The draft legislation, presented Wednesday to the House Select Committee on Tort Reform, would also lower the cap on non-economic damages – such as pain and suffering – to $250,000 from each defendant. There is currently no limit on those damages; the Senate bill would cap damages at $500,000.

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