List Headline Image
Updated by HCWB on Aug 27, 2020
Headline for 5 Facts About Medical Malpractice Damages in North Carolina
5 items   1 followers   0 votes   2 views

5 Facts About Medical Malpractice Damages in North Carolina

If you have a medical malpractice claim, it is important to understand the different damages that may be involved, limits on the compensation you can receive and exceptions related to the law. All of these factors can affect your potential claims.


There is a Cap on Compensation for Medical Malpractice

The state of North Carolina enacted new medical malpractice legislation several years ago that put in place a $500,000 noneconomic damage cap on compensation to individuals who have suffered harmed due to medical malpractice. That said, if you were the victim of medical malpractice, your potential damages may be limited unless you can overcome the new damage cap by proving that an exception is applicable.


There are Two Types of Damages

Harmed individuals in a medical malpractice claim can possibly seek both economic and noneconomic damages which will be fundamentally different.


Economic Damages Are Financial Losses

Economic damages, also known as compensatory damages, are damages that are directly related to actual financial losses that you sustained as a result of the medical malpractice. This includes, but is not necessarily limited to, damages for lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, medical costs and much more. For instance, suppose that a surgeon operates on the wrong body part, which ultimately leads you to schedule several new surgeries to fix not only the old issue that was never fixed, but also the newly-created issues that arose from the improper surgery. You could presumably seek economic damages that include the medical expense of the new surgeries, as well as lost wages caused by the malpractice injuries to account for time spent out of work for the new surgeries.


Noneconomic Damages are Pain & Suffering

Noneconomic damages, under the law, are damages to compensate for pain, suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium, inconvenience, etc. Though noneconomic damages do not include punitive damages, the noneconomic damages portion of your claim may be the most significant. For example, suppose that a doctor commits malpractice by failing to detect a spinal degenerative disease that you have. The disease progressively gets worse without treatment, resulting in severe daily pain that limits your movements and causes you a great deal of suffering. Though your economic damages may be limited, your noneconomic pain and suffering damages will likely be substantial.


There are Exceptions to the Damage Cap

According to the law, the cap of $500,000 affects only the noneconomic damages portion of your claim, not the economic damages portion. As such, you can still obtain a sizable award as compensation for your medical malpractice injuries, even if the damage cap applies to your claim.

Still, is there a way to bypass the damage cap? The law provides injured plaintiffs with one sole exception for avoiding application of the damage cap. The noneconomic damages cap will only be lifted if you suffered disfigurement, loss of use of part of your body, or permanent injury/death and the defendant’s acts or failures in committing malpractice were reckless, grossly negligent, fraudulent, intentional, or malicious in nature. A skilled legal professional can assist you if you have questions or concerns about your potential claims.