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.
House amendments make the following changes to 4th edition. Amendment #1 deletes GS 90-21.19A (allowing periodic payments rather than lump-sum payments of certain medical malpractice damages awards), and amends new GS 90-21.19B to require a verdict or award of damages in a medical malpractice case to specify what amount, if any, is awarded only for noneconomic damages (was, noneconomic damages, present economic damages, future economic damages, loss of future earnings, and loss of future household services). Amendment #2 changes the definition of noneconomic damages in GS 90-21.19(b)(2) by removing the reference in the 4th edition to damages for physical impairment and disfigurement, and by adding an exclusion for damages to compensate for scars or disfigurement, loss of use of a body part, permanent injury, or death. Amendment #3 changes amendment #2 by deleting its reference to “scars” in the definition of noneconomic damages. Amendment #5 amends GS 1A-1, Rule 42(b)(3), to add that the court may, for good cause shown, order a single trial for the issues of liability and damages in a tort action in which a plaintiff seeks in excess of $150,000.
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