With thousands of individuals seeking medical attention every day, errors are bound to be made. A mistake could be made during surgery, a patient could die from an illness that was never diagnosed or a patient could be given the wrong medication. Sadly, many of these errors are a result of medical negligence and have caused patients in North Carolina and throughout the entire U.S. to suffer severe injuries or death.
When a doctor, nurse or other health care professional fails to follow standard procedures to diagnose, treat or care for a patient, he or she puts the life of that patient in danger. Instead of an individual recovering from health problems after seeking treatment from a doctor, negligence could make a patient’s health even worse. In addition to suffering more health problems or physical pain, a patient may also be worried about how he or she will pay for additional medical expenses.
Fortunately, victims of medical negligence in North Carolina may pursue malpractice claims in order to recieve compensation and justice for damages. Taking legal action will not undo the physical pain or harm a patient may have to live with after a medical mistake, but the victim may at least find some comfort in knowing that the negligent party will be held liable for his or her actions and that one’s medical expenses will be covered.
Although it is important that these victims receive the compensation they need and deserve in order to move on with their lives, patients in North Carolina may soon discover that compensation recovered from a malpractice settlement may not always be enough. Effective Oct. 1, North Carolina placed a cap on what victims of medical malpractice can collect for non-economic damages. Non-economic damages include physical suffering and injuries. The cap has been set at $500,000 in a 12-month period.
Juries will also have to use higher standards of proof when determining negligence in a medical malpractice case.
Victims of malpractice may be forced to suffer the physical consequences of a medical mistake, but they should not have to pay for it. With these new changes taking effect in North Carolina this month, victims of medical malpractice may benefit greatly from working with an attorney so that they can recover the maximum amount in damages that they deserve.
Source: Houston Chronicle, “New NC malpractice, hunting rules take effect,” Gary D. Robertson, Sept. 28, 2011