North Carolina Legislature Makes ER Malpractice Suits Harder

June 13, 2011

North Carolina lawmakers have decided to make it very difficult for a patient harmed by an emergency room doctor to collect compensation for anything beyond medical costs and lost income.

The House and Senate on Thursday approved final versions of legislation that in most cases would limit a physician’s malpractice responsibility to $500,000 for any death, disfigurement, permanent injury or loss of a body part like legs or vision.

Gov. Beverly Perdue now must decide whether to accept the measure or veto it.

Republicans said their effort will attract more doctors to the state and create jobs. Supporters said everyone will save money passed along when doctors order tests to defend themselves from lawsuits.

Opponents said the liability limit may be an unconstitutional restriction on the jury system of justice.

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