Supreme Court Weighing In On States Right To Portion Of Medical Malpractice Awards

January 31, 2013

A 12-year-old girl from Taylorsville, North Carolina—who was been disabled since infancy due to a botched childbirth procedure—is at the center of a case in the U.S. Supreme Court. The Charlotte Observer explained the case revolved around North Carolina’s ability to take a portion of awards given by a North Carolina Medical Malpractice lawsuit.

When the girl was being born by cesarean section on February 25, 2000, things did not go as planned and the child was born with cerebral palsy. The girl’s parents later sued both the physician and the medical facility where the procedure occurred in 2003 and was awarded a settlement of $2.8 million; however, North Carolina law allows the state to claim either one-third of the award given to a Medicaid beneficiary in a medical malpractice case or the total amount that Medicaid spent on the patient, whichever is less.

The family is now arguing that the law goes against a federal mandate that prohibits states from putting a lien on a Medicaid Beneficiaries property or portions of settlements that do not cover medical care. Since the family’s award doesn’t specify which portion is for medical costs and which is for pain and suffering, the Supreme Court will be left with a difficult decision to make.

The North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers with HensonFuerst Injury Lawyers hope a decision will bring a sense of closure to the case for the family of the victim.

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