Within the next few months, the North Carolina Supreme Court will decide whether a nurse can be held more accountable for a child’s injuries that occurred during heart treatment over 12 years ago. Based on a precedent dating back to 1932, nurses cannot face liability for medical negligence because they are not expected to be specialists in diagnosis or treatment. This idea is being challenged, since the role of nurses has changed dramatically over the last 90 years, and they are now more highly skilled practitioners. If the precedent is thrown out, the family of the child who experienced serious injuries during treatment could finally settle their claim against the hospital. Taking steps to ensure accountability when medical malpractice is suspected is vital for both patients and health providers, and, through challenging and updating the laws concerning negligence, more victims could reach a favorable outcome in their claims for personal injury.
Changes to Medical Malpractice Proceedings
A senate bill signed into law last summer contained two important changes to medical malpractice cases in North Carolina. During a case, juries will now be given additional written instruction to help them come to their decisions after listening to often very complex testimony. In addition, just one judge will be assigned to a case, enabling them to become more familiar with the facts from the start, develop a better understanding of the issues involved and, ultimately, make a fairer judgment once the case comes to court. While these updates should make court rulings more efficient, the whole process of filing a claim can still be overwhelming. In Charlotte, personal injury lawyers at JJS Justice highlight the importance of staying up to date with evolving legislation in complex cases. With the combination of trusted legal advice and more consistent court proceedings, victims of medical malpractice have a greater chance of being awarded the compensation they deserve.
Challenging Contributory Negligence Law
Although now abolished in most states, the common law of contributory negligence is still recognized in North Carolina. If an injured party is found to have contributed by just 1% to an accident then they are unable to claim any compensation from the party largely at fault. The rule can apply in medical malpractice claims where a patient’s negligence occurs at the same time as the negligence of a medical practitioner, but it is more commonly upheld in personal injury cases resulting from a traffic accident. Since her daughter was killed while she was walking on the side of a road, one North Carolina mother has been fighting against this law, which left her unable to claim for damages. In response to years of petitioning, a new bill to change the contributory negligence law has been introduced by the North Carolina legislature. The proposed new law called The Victims Fair Treatment Act would deal with injured parties more justly, enabling them to make a claim for compensation even if they are deemed to be partly at fault.
Changing and updating North Carolina’s laws concerning liability in the case of personal injury could mean a fairer outcome for victims of accidents and medical negligence.