Did you know that a law passed in October 2011 caps the amount of non-economic damages you can receive from a medical malpractice case? Non-economic damages refer to issues such as emotional distress, pain and suffering, etc. The current cap sits at $500,000. There are arguments to be made on both sides of the issue, but this has recently come back into the news due to a Missouri Supreme Court decision.
Missouri had non-economic damages capped at $350,000 by jury award, and this decision strikes down that cap. The case began with a lawsuit from Deborah Watts of Springfield, Mo., whose son was born with “catastrophic brain injuries” after receiving a delayed emergency C-section. She was awarded $5 million in damages in a subsequent lawsuit but had it reduced under the law. No one is sure exactly how this will affect cases in Missouri yet, since the law just went into effect.
In North Carolina there are two additional considerations in a medical malpractice award of non-economic damages:
- “If a person is disfigured, loses the use of a body part or sustains permanent damage or death.”
- “The defendant’s actions were in reckless disregard of another or grossly negligent.”
If both of these conditions are met, the cap comes off. This decision may have happened in Missouri, but it could have further implications in a number of states. Are you involved in or considering filing a medical malpractice suit in NC? The Law Office of D. Hardison Wood are experts in this area of litigation, so please contact us today!