Jeff Segal, MD, JD, FACS

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

On July 25th, the North Carolina House of Representatives overrode the Governor’s veto of substantive tort reform. The North Carolina Senate overrode the veto last week. The bill will now become law.

This effort began decades ago and was finally realized this week. Most notable is the cap on non-economic damages. The law caps these damages at $500,000. This is considerably higher than other states that have passed reforms – such as California and Texas. But, it removes the uncertainty from what was previously the status quo – where the sky was the limit.

The bill was designed to balance the interest of injured patients with those of practicing physicians.

In 1942, Winston Churchill described a transition point after the tide started turning in World War II. “…we have a new experience. We have victory – a remarkable and definite victory.”

Kudos to all the doctors who called legislators these past two weeks to push toward victory. Congrats to all of the medical societies that played a role.

Doctors in other states with similar victories have taught us not to rest on our laurels. Do not be surprised if the plaintiff’s bar mounts a constitutional attack – as was the case in Illinois and Georgia these past few years.

As Churchill continued: Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

To our North Carolina colleagues: Well done.