An electronic stethoscope.

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The new law effective on cases arising on or after October 1, 2011, requires the court to bifurcate a trial when a motion is made by counsel and where plaintiff seeks damages of $150,000 or more.  This means that in a medical malpractice case the jury must decide whether the doctor was negligent in a trial without knowing how much money the plaintiff is requesting. Then if the doctor is found negligent a second trial would determine how much money the plaintiff would be awarded.

Additionally, the law limits non economic damages to $500,000 except in cases of death, loss of use of a body part or disfigurement.

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