TO REFORM THE LAWS RELATING TO MEDICAL LIABILITY BY PROVIDING LIMITED PROTECTION FROM LIABILITY TO THOSE PROVIDING EMERGENCY MEDICAL CARE, BY AUTHORIZING THE BIFURCATION OF TRIALS ON ISSUES OF LIABILITY AND DAMAGES IN CERTAIN ACTIONS, BY LIMITING THE AMOUNT OF NONECONOMIC DAMAGES THAT MAY BE AWARDED, BY AUTHORIZING THE PERIODIC PAYMENT OF FUTURE ECONOMIC DAMAGES IN LIEU OF A LUMP-SUM PAYMENT, AND BY MODIFYING APPEAL BONDS IN MEDICAL MALPRACTICE ACTIONS.
This act is effective October 1, 2011.
This act is effective October 1, 2011.
Amends GS 90-21.12(a) to clarify that in any medical malpractice action, the defendant health care provider is not liable for the payment of damages unless the trier of fact finds (was, is satisfied) by the greater weight of the evidence that the care provided by the health care provider was not in accordance with the standard of practice among members of the same health care profession with similar training and experience situated in the same or similar communities at the time of the alleged act giving rise to the cause of action. Adds new subsection (b) to provide an exception to any medical malpractice action that arises from providing emergency services as defined in GS 58-3-190(g)(2). Provides that in such an action regarding provision of emergency services, all of the criteria set out in subsection (a) for any medical malpractice action apply and in addition, the trier of fact must find by the greater weight of the evidence that the failure to meet the applicable standards of practice constituted gross negligence, wanton conduct, or intentional wrongdoing by the health care provider. Provides that nothing in subsection (b) is to be construed to change, alter, override, or otherwise affect the provisions of GS 90-21.14, 90-21.15, 90-21.16, or 20-166. Applies to causes of action arising on or after the effective date.
Amends GS 1A-1, Rule 42(b) to authorize the separation of trials on issues of liability and issues of damages when the medical malpractice action is begun under Article 1B of GS Chapter 90 and the plaintiff seeks $75,000 or more in damages. Requires the same trier of fact to try both the issues relating to liability and the issues relating to damages. Applies to actions commenced on or after the effective date.
Enacts new GS 90-21.19 to define and set liability limits for noneconomic damages. Enacts new GS 90-21.19A to allow the payment of future economic damages, defined as damages for future medical expenses, to be made periodically at regular intervals to the plaintiff. Provides additional governing criteria regarding a judgment authorizing periodic payments. Enacts GS 90-21.19B to require that any verdict or award of damages in any malpractice action is to specifically indicate the amount awarded for (1) noneconomic damages, (2) present economic damages, and (3) future economic damages. Applies to causes of action arising on or after the effective date.
Amends GS 1-289 to modify appeal bonds in a malpractice action, as defined in GS 90-21.11, to require that the appellant provide the lesser of the amount of the judgment or the amount of the appellant’s medical malpractice insurance coverage that is applicable to the action in order to stay execution of the judgment. Makes additional conforming changes. Applies to judgments entered on or after the effective date.
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