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.
Conference report recommends the following changes to 5th edition to reconcile matters in controversy. Amends Rule 9(j), clarifying that the pleading must assert specified information pertaining to the alleged negligence (was, alleged negligence and resulting injuries). Rewrites proposed GS 90-21.12(b) to provide that a claimant must prove a violation of the standards of practice set forth in subsection (a) of the statute by clear and convincing evidence in any medical malpractice action arising out of the furnishing or failure to furnish professional services in the treatment of an emergency medical condition, as defined (previously, services specifically in a hospital emergency room).
Amends proposed GS 90-21.19 to add additional language providing that judgment against any defendant for noneconomic damages is capped at $500,000 for all claims brought by all parties arising out of the same professional services. Provides that there is no limit on the amount of noneconomic damage for which judgment may be entered if the trier of fact finds that: (1) the plaintiff suffered disfigurement, loss of use of part of the body, permanent injury or death; and (2) the defendant’s acts or failures, which caused the plaintiff’s injuries, were committed in reckless disregard of the rights of others, grossly negligent, fraudulent, intentional, or with malice. Adds additional language to direct the Administrative Office of the Courts to inform the Revisor of Statutes of the reset limitation and directs the Revisor of Statutes to publish this reset limitation as an editor’s note to the statute. Adds same professional services as a defined term in the statute.
Provides that if the provision of the act concerning the limit for noneconomic damages is declared to be unconstitutional or otherwise invalid, then the provision of the act concerning verdicts or awards specifying what amount is awarded for noneconomic damages, is repealed (previously also provided for the repeal of provision concerning actions commenced by persons on behalf of minors).
Makes other clarifying changes.
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