SCOTUS to North Carolina: “Ya Gots To Do Better Than This!”

The Supreme Court of the United States (aka “SCOTUS” aka “The Supremes“) recently handed down a decision that will bring profound changes in the way North Carolina disburses settlement proceeds in catastrophic injury claims.

Before this month’s decision, whenever a person on Medicaid was injured by someone else’s carelessness, but there was not enough funds recovered from the careless party to pay for all of the injured person’s expenses and damages, attorneys were required to pay back to Medicaid basically one third of all those funds.

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(Not SCOTUS)

No more.  In the case of Wos v. E.M.A., the High Court decided that “North Carolina’s scheme is “arbitrary” and often leads to results where a person already badly harmed gets injured even further by the civil justice system.  The Court summarized the essential problem with North Carolina’s practice this way:

“The state law has no process for determining what portion of a beneficiary’s tort recovery is attributable to medical expenses. Instead, the State has picked an arbitrary percentage and by statutory command labeled that portion of a beneficiary’s tort recovery as representing payment for medical care… 
 
The State offers no evidence showing that its allocation is reasonable…and the law provides no mechanism for determining whether its allocation is reasonable in any particular case. 

 Read more in my March 2013 LEGAL TRENDS e-newsletter.

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About Mike Daisley @ DaisleyLawOffices, PC

Civil Litigation Attorney and Certified Mediator in North Carolina Superior Courts; President of Daisley Law Offices, PC, a law firm devoted to helping Veterans, the Disabled and severely injured victims of corporate or individual negligence. Experienced in Civil Trial Advocacy and Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mike is also a political analyst for WCNC-TV and WBT Radio,a writer and blogger on law, political discourse and theology, and a lifelong Episcopalian (which, as he explains, means "I'm a raging agnostic at least three days a week.") Office email : Mike@DaisleyLawOffices.com (704) 331-8014 Charlotte, North Carolina
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