Friday, July 20, 2007


A bill that would reform the way medical malpractice cases are handled in North Carolina passed the General Assembly this week and is ready for the governor's signature. House Bill 1671 would require parties to discuss arbitration as a possible way to resolve malpractice cases. If all parties agree, a strict timetable for the arbitration, along with other guidelines for the negotiations, go into place. The guidelines are intended to help get the cases resolved quicker than a trial and a cap of $1 million on all damages --economic and non-economic -- would apply. The bill is the latest example of how state lawmakers are trying to speed up the handling of malpractice cases and limit the costs associated with lengthy trials and legal procedures that increase the costs. The bill represents a compromise crafted with the help of the NC Medical Society and the Academy of Trial Lawyers.

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