Doctors, nurses and other clinical professionals are an integral part of our lives, especially at the beginning and towards the end. In order to let them help us, we must implicitly trust that they have our best interests at heart, and this is almost always true. But all humans make mistakes. Some have larger consequences than others.
North Carolina’s allowances for the people who are victims of medical mistakes has caused some controversy over the last decade. A 2011 decision by the legislature in Raleigh followed several other U.S. states in setting a limit on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits when victims did not earn a wage.
Noneconomic damages represent the value that a court or a settlement can assign to the losses that have no real monetary value. In a wrongful death lawsuit, these damages may represent the loss of companionship for a spouse. In a medical malpractice suit, the pain and suffering that a patient would have avoided without an error may be included in noneconomic damages.
There was a logic to this decision. North Carolina was hoping to remain a business-friendly state for insurers and other companies. But many consider this decision unfair to families of children and elder people because they were not in the workforce when they faced medical problems.
An attorney can help review a case of medical errors to see what noneconomic damages may be claimed. Legal representation can also make it easier to consider a lawsuit or other action after a doctor or health care provider has made an error that has affected someone’s life.