Tort Reform Moves to NC Senate Floor

Senate Judiciary I Committee considered S33, the Medical Liability Reforms Act today.  The latest version would provide limited protection from liability to those required under federal law to provide emergency medical care, authorize the bifurcation of trials on issues of liability and damages, and authorize periodic payments for future economic damages in lieu of a lump-sum payment.

It would also limit noneconomic damages in medical malpractice actions to $500,000 per plaintiff for judgment entered against all defendants.  In addition, judgment entered against any particular defendant for noneconomic damages shall not exceed $500,000 for claims brought by all parties arising from the same cause of action.

Noneconomic damages include damages covering pain, suffering, emotional distress, physical impairment, disfigurement, and any other nonpecuniary compensatory damages.  It does not include punitive damages.

After a brief discussion and a failed amendment offered by Senator Nesbitt, the bill was passed on a motion offered by Senator Apodaca.  According to Senator Brunstetter’s office, it will be reported out of Judiciary I later this afternoon and will be debated on the Senate floor later this week.

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