Posted on: 28 August 2014
When you or a loved one has been injured due to medical negligence or accident, it is only natural to want to bring a malpractice lawsuit against the doctor, doctors, or medical facility responsible. Sometimes, it is a mix of all of these, and you can definitely talk to an accident lawyer about suing multiple people or entities at once. Just be aware that different states have different laws regarding medical malpractice lawsuits. These laws include how the lawsuits must be brought, and the amount of money you may be able to receive from it. If you follow the rules in your state, you stand a good chance of winning at least some amount of compensation.
Here are the rules for bringing a medical malpractice lawsuit in North Carolina.
1. Obey the State's Statute of Limitations
Nearly every state has a statute of limitations when it comes to bringing medical malpractice lawsuits. If you don't talk with an attorney from a place like Bailey Law Office Ltd and get your complaint filed within that time, you will not be able to bring the lawsuit to court, even if you have a legitimate injury caused by medical negligence. For example, in North Carolina, the statue of limitations depends on the circumstances of the injury. Here are the general rules.
- If you are bringing the lawsuit on behalf of someone who died, you have three years from the date of their death to file the medical malpractice lawsuit.
- If the injury is not discovered right away, you have one year from the date you discovered it to bring your lawsuit.
- If the injury is discovered right away, you have four years to bring your lawsuit.
- In cases where an object was left inside you during an operation, you have one year from the date you discover the object, and ten years from the date of the operation to file a lawsuit in North Carolina
2. Comply With Rule 9J
Before a judge will consider hearing your medical malpractice case, you must comply with what is referred to as Rule 9J. This rule, set by the North Carolina state legislature, states that you must get another doctor to review your medical records and state in a certified letter to the court that their belief is that your injury is the result of medical malpractice. It is often difficult to get doctors to willingly testify against other doctors, because they know it could happen to them one day, too.
Sometimes it is easier to get a doctor from out of state to do it, since they won't feel as much loyalty to North Carolina doctors as a local doctor would. Even then, most doctors who will testify for you charge thousands of dollars to do so. The potential rewards of winning your case can offset this expense, though, especially if your case is very clear cut.
3. Understand There is a Cap on Non-Economic Damages You Can Win
Economic damages are those that result from lost wages from time off work from the injury, or the inability to return to work due to the injury. Medical bills fall within this category, too. There are no limits on these awards in North Carolina. However, the state does have a limit on non-economic damages....the pain and suffering side of your injury.
According to LegalMatch.com, the cap on non-economic damages is $500,000. The only exception is if you suffered a particularly catastrophic disabling and/or disfiguring injury and are a low-income person. In this case, no cap for non-economic damages applies
Doctors are human and make mistakes just like the rest of us. The only difference is that when they do it at work, it can result in injuries to their patients. You deserve to be compensated if you've been injured by a doctor's mistake (or by the mistake of a medical facility, usually due to its policies). Knowing the rules for bringing a medical malpractice lawsuit in North Carolina will ensure you get the best chance at getting a fair and reasonable compensation settlement for your injury.Share