Doctors and lawyers agree on a malpractice bill

Hell has frozen over in NC:

In a turnaround from previous years, both doctors and lawyers are supporting a bill that would cap monetary damages at $1 million in some medical malpractice cases.

Both the North Carolina Medical Society and the N.C. Academy of Trial Lawyers support a bill, set for House debate Monday night, that caps monetary damages in negligence cases at $1 million, but only for those who agree to go to binding arbitration.

“This is significant because smaller cases could be fast-tracked and get over with quicker,” said Dick Taylor, chief executive of the trial lawyers academy.

Update:
Welcome readers from the WSJ! Feel free to have a look around, or read some of the archived discussions on malpractice, defensive medicine, and health courts.

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  • Ted F.

    The bill, as described, does absolutely nothing: if the plaintiff and defendant agree to arbitrate, they can arbitrate–but they can do that now without the bill.

  • Anonymous

    That’s kind of like the claims that health courts are needed to establish “standards of care”. Physicians can do that now without health courts.

  • The Independent Urologist

    I agree with Ted F. Personally, I’d prefer to take my chances in front of a jury than in front on 1 individual, without the ability to appeal his decision.

  • Ted F.

    The analogy to health courts is incorrect. Physicians cannot establish standards of care, because the physician cannot trust that an expert witness will not contradict him in hindsight. Health court precedent would provide advantages in this regard.

  • Anonymous

    Physicians absolutely can and do establish standards of care.

    Health court precedent would not provide any more advantages than precedents from courts today. As physicians will tell you, every patient is different, and that’s what makes it difficult. Not to mention that the standard of care also varies by locale. Health courts aren’t going to change those facts.

    The analogy to backdoor damage caps, ie. health courts is right on.