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July 26th, 2011

NC Lawmakers Override Gov’s Veto of Much Needed Medical Liability Reform

Following similar action by their Senate colleagues earlier this month, members of the North Carolina House have voted bipartisanly to override Gov. Bev Perdue’s veto of important medical liability reform legislation, immediately winning consideration for a legislative “Points of Light” citiation in the latest Judicial Hellholes report coming later this year.

The North Carolina News Network reports the override vote was 74-42 with “support from eight House Democrats, who crossed party lines to support the GOP-penned reform.”

The centerpiece of this reform legislation, designed to make health care in the state more accessible and affordable, is a $500,000 limit on noneconomic damages (pain and suffering).  The limit is subject to adjustments every three years, starting in 2014, based on the Consumer Price Index.  And the new law does provide for humanitarian exceptions to the cap if: (1) the plaintiff suffered disfigurement, loss of use of part of the body, permanent injury or death; and (2) the defendant’s acts or failures, which are the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries, were committed in reckless disregard of the rights of others, grossly negligent, fraudulent, intentional or with malice.

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