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Are new North Carolina laws harming medical malpractice victims?

The past few posts on our Fayetteville personal injury law blog have covered some tragic motor vehicle accidents that have resulted in the deaths of a child, a young man and a bicyclist. Not only have these wrongful deaths affected the victims' families in unimaginable ways, but other motorists have probably felt some hesitancy about getting back on the road.

Motor vehicle accidents caused by reckless or distracted drivers occur each day on our state's and nation's roads, injuring and killing innocent victims. But according to a new report, folks may actually be more at risk of suffering serious or fatal injuries at the hands of a negligent doctor rather than a negligent driver in North Carolina. According to a news report from WSOC-TV, more patients die from incidents of medical malpractice compared to the number of motorists who die in traffic accidents each year in our state.

Serious or fatal medical mistakes can forever change the lives of victims and their families. Victims could suffer permanent injuries and no longer have the capability of returning to work or living on their own. Families often suffer emotional pain, knowing that a loved one's death or injuries could have been prevented. But families also suffer financial consequences, especially when the victim is a family's primary wage-earner.

When considering the physical, emotional and financial effects a medical mistake can have on a Fayetteville patient and his or her family, folks might assume that they of all people are entitled to receive compensation for their injuries, pain and medical expenses. Unfortunately, this is not always the case in North Carolina.

Last year, Senate Bill 33 took effect. This bill caps non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases, prohibiting damages for emotional pain and suffering from exceeding $500,000 for patients and their families. This bill also gives more protections to doctors rather than patients.

Current laws may make it difficult for victims to pursue medical negligence claims on their own. But with the help of an attorney who will aggressively protect the rights of patients and their families, medical malpractice victims may have a better chance of receiving the compensation they need and deserve.

Source: wsoctv.com, "New NC law makes it harder for patients to sue for malpractice," Peter Daut, July 12, 2012

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Are new North Carolina laws harming medical malpractice victims? | Britton Law, P.A.