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Medical malpractice law is meant to protect patients from injuries caused by the negligent acts of healthcare providers. However, in North Carolina, such law involves a complex area of litigation, with a number of rules that apply specifically to medical malpractice claims that are filed in the state.

If you have been injured due to medical negligence or substandard care, you may have grounds to bring a lawsuit against the responsible healthcare provider for financial compensation.

An experienced Winston-Salem medical malpractice lawyer understands the specific laws associated with such claims and can provide guidance on building an effective strategy in seeking compensation for your injuries.

Causes of Action for Medical Malpractice in North Carolina

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 90-21.11 provides the grounds for medical malpractice actions involving damages for personal injury or death due to a healthcare provider’s performance of medical, dental, or other healthcare services. In North Carolina, the following situations may give rise to a medical malpractice claim:

  • Misdiagnosis
  • Failure to Diagnose
  • Improper Treatment
  • Failure to Treat
  • Delays in Necessary Treatment
  • Surgical or Nursing Errors

Statute of Limitations for Claims

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 1-15(c) governs the statute of limitations on the filing of a lawsuit for medical malpractice in North Carolina. Generally, the statute of limitations for such lawsuits is three years from the date of injury or two years from the date of death. However, there are exceptions to these time limits.

If an injury is not initially “reasonably discoverable” by the injured party following healthcare, a lawsuit must be filed within one year of the date upon which the injury was discovered or discoverable by the individual. Under such circumstances, no more than four years may have passed from the date of the incident that caused the injury.

If an individual discovers that a foreign object has been left in his or her body by surgeons or hospital staff, he or she must file a claim within one year of the date upon which the foreign object was discovered or discoverable. For such cases, no more than 10 years may have passed from the date that the object was left in the body.

Because the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice claim is dependent upon the specific facts of the individual case, it is crucial that you act quickly upon the discovery of an injury that may have been caused by the negligence of a health care provider and contact an experienced lawyer who can help you to seek compensation before any time limits have lapsed.

Caps on Recoverable Damages

The filing of a medical malpractice lawsuit in North Carolina allows the injured party to seek a monetary award, known as damages. Such damages may take three forms, however, in some instances, North Carolina law sets limits on the amount that may be recovered by the injured party.

  • Compensatory damages cover expendable costs, such as medical bills incurred in the treatment of the injury. North Carolina does not set a limit on the amount of compensatory damages an individual may seek.
  • Non-economic damages cover non-tangible costs, such as pain and suffering. There are no limits on the amount of non-economic damages an injured party may seek. There is a $500,000 cap on non-economic damages.
  • Punitive damages are meant to punish the responsible healthcare professional for reckless actions, such as purposeful negligence. C. Gen. Stat. § 1D-15 (PDF) sets limits on the punitive damages that North Carolina courts may award a plaintiff to three times the amount of compensatory damages or $250,000, whichever is greater.

How a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Can Help

Medical malpractice law is complex; filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in North Carolina can be similarly complicated. Such lawsuits often involve multiple defendants, including the healthcare provider, equipment manufacturer, and responsible supervisor. This requires the injured party to establish a strong case, and may necessitate numerous court appearances before the case reaches trial.

Moreover, an individual who brings a medical malpractice lawsuit against a healthcare provider must prove that the healthcare provider violated the necessary standard of care, the generally accepted practices and procedures followed by healthcare providers in the state.

The injured party must also prove that such a violation directly contributed to the resultant injuries. Often, expert witnesses are needed to establish that a healthcare provider did not use the proper standard of care and that his or her actions were the direct cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.

An experienced lawyer can help to build the strong case malpractice lawsuits require. He or she can help to navigate this intricate litigation, keeping you well-informed at every step of the way.

Contact a Winston-Salem Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today

If you have suffered an injury due to the negligence of a healthcare provider, our experienced lawyers can help to answer the complex questions that follow and to recover the damages to which you are entitled.

Call our offices today at (888) 760-7973 for a free initial consultation, or submit at free case evaluation form online. We are available 24/7 to discuss any questions you may have and to help maximize your financial recovery in your personal injury litigation.