Sometimes a new solution is the best way to fix an old problem. Currently, relying on a case from the early nineteenth century, North Carolina courts refuse to consider an individual's cognitive disability when determining whether she acted reasonably in a negligence case. In other words, juries are instructed to hold a mentally disabled individual to the same duty of care they would use to judge an able-minded individual. Litigants are not allowed to discuss their clients' mental disabilities. This puts a great perspective strain on mentally disabled individuals who are already among the most disenfranchised groups in America.
This Comment discusses using modern neurological mapping technology to present mental disabilities as physical disabilities, which advocates are permitted to submit to a jury. Therefore, the jury is not judging a cognitively disabled individual against an unobtainable standard. Instead, it is considering the effects of differing neural anatomy and judging a defendant against a similar person in a similar situation.
Derek J. Dittmar, Have Your Cake and Eat It Too: Cognitive Neurology and Negligence Law in North Carolina, 41 Campbell L. Rev. 181 (2019).