When you are hurt and get help from a doctor or other medical professional you should expect to get the best care possible. Sometimes, your provider may be neglectful, and your care may be below standards. If the treatment you are given hurts you, you may be able to file a claim for medical malpractice.
Malpractice claims are often complicated and it’s best to have a lawyer on your side when seeking compensation. The Jeffcoat Firm Injury Lawyers have years of experience in South Carolina medical malpractice lawsuits.
What is Medical Malpractice?
South Carolina law says that medical malpractice is “doing that which the reasonably prudent health care provider or health care institution would not do or not doing that which the reasonably prudent health provider or health care institution would do in the same or similar circumstances.” In other words, doctors need to act carefully to take care of you. If they don’t it may be medical malpractice.
Common examples of medical malpractice include the following:
• Errors in prescription or medication
• Leaving a sponge or surgical instrument in a patient after surgery
• Failure to diagnose
• Birth injuries
• Surgical errors
• Unnecessary surgery
• Failure to provide necessary testing
• Anesthesia errors
• Failure to treat
• Delayed or unreasonable treatment
• Wrong site surgery
• Wrongful death
• Other provider errors
Doctors usually are not trying to harm you with malpractice on purpose. It is often due to negligence or miscommunications. However, it is up to the provider to make sure they can deal with all their patients and that their staff provides clear means of communication. If their failure to pay attention to important details leads to severe injuries, they may be accountable for damages.
Medical Malpractice is rarely a simple thing to prove.
To prove malpractice, you will have to show that the medical professional acted in a manner that would be considered negligent and that, in doing so, they violated the medical standard of care. This usually requires the testimony of an expert witness that is board certified by a national or international association or academy in an area of practice relevant to the lawsuit.
Witnesses may also qualify if they have professional knowledge and three years of experience in a relevant area of practice within the last five years. Expert witnesses may also have scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge that could be helpful in the understanding of evidence and the determination of facts that are crucial to the case.
An expert’s credentials may be questioned by the defendant so it’s essential to find someone that’s well-qualified.
Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is a law that sets a time limit on how long you have to file your case. In South Carolina, the statute of limitations on medical malpractice practice is three years from the date of treatment or the date of discovery, not to exceed six years from the day of the treatment. However, some defendants may be protected by a two-year statute of limitations.
In other words, you will be given two or three years from the date the treatment occurred or the day you realized you were injured as a result of the malpractice to file a claim. The discovery rule extends the amount of time you have to file, but it cannot extend it for more than six years from the day you were given treatment.
However, if the malpractice involves leaving a surgical instrument or foreign body in the patient after surgery, the statute of limitations is set at two years and may not be extended by the discovery rule.
How Do I File a Malpractice Lawsuit in South Carolina?
Before filing a lawsuit, you must:
- File with the court along with a Notice of Intent to File Suit. This is a document that shows all providers liable for damages and explains your reason for filing.
- File an expert affidavit prepared by a medical expert witness describing at least one negligent action or inaction performed by the provider. (Note, filing the above documents pauses the clock on the statute of limitations).
- A mediation conference must take place within 90 to 120 days after these filings in an effort for the parties to reach a settlement. Negotiations may go back and forth but if no settlement is reached, the case may end up going to court.
Medical Malpractice Damage Cap
After being injured in a medical malpractice incident, you may be awarded damages for the following
These will cover lost wages, medical expenses, and reductions in earning capacity.
These will cover emotional and physical pain and suffering. It’s difficult to put a monetary value on these non-tangible damages but your lawyer will come up with an amount based on his or her years of experience.
It should be noted that there is a cap on non-economic damages. They may not exceed $350,00 for charges brought against a single care provider. If a judgement is made on more than one defendant, non-economic damages may not exceed $1.05 million with no single provider owing more than $350,000 in damages.
Why The Jeffcoat Firm Could Be Your Best Choice for Your South Carolina Medical Malpractice Case
Medical malpractice cases are often complicated. It’s important to have a skilled attorney on your side.
The Jeffcoat Firm is a team of lawyers serving Orangeburg, South Carolina with years of experience in medical malpractice law. We can provide a strong team of expert witnesses and fight to get the best outcome possible. We treat our clients with a high level of care and respect during difficult times.
If you were injured by medical malpractice, you deserve to be compensated. Call The Jeffcoat Firm to schedule a free consultation.