When a healthcare professional is negligent and injures you as a result, you have the right to recover compensation for your injuries. However, medical malpractice claims in South Carolina are extraordinarily complex, and people often face numerous challenges relating to time limits and other requirements that can make it all but impossible to pursue these actions on their own. Contact our Columbia medical malpractice lawyer today.
The Jeffcoat Firm represents medical malpractice victims in communities all over South Carolina. Our firm can provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case when you call us or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with our team.
Columbia Medical Malpractice by a Doctor, Surgeon, Nurse, or Hospital
Chapter 79 of Title 15 in the South Carolina Code governs medical malpractice actions. South Carolina Code § 15-79-110(6) defines medical malpractice as “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 care provider or health care institution would do in the same or similar circumstances.”
An act that causes injury to a patient because of a medical professional or institution’s negligence generally constitutes medical malpractice. Some of the most common kinds of medical malpractice actions involve such claims as:
- Medication or prescription errors
- Failure to diagnose
- Failure to perform necessary tests
- Unreasonable or delayed treatment
- Failure to treat
- Anesthesia errors
- Surgery errors or injuries
- Unnecessary surgery
- Wrong site surgery
- Leaving sponge or surgical instrument in patient
- Other hospital or emergency room errors
- Wrongful death
If you or a loved one has suffered from any of these errors, you may be eligible to pursue financial compensation for your costs.
Why Doctors Make Medical Malpractice Mistakes
Most physicians make sure all of their professional actions are taken with the utmost care and are well-considered. It is important for people to understand that medical malpractice actions are based on harm caused by professional negligence, not dissatisfaction with a medical outcome.
Some of the most common errors committed by doctors can simply be the result of them being responsible for multiple patients. Additional care being provided to one patient can reduce a physician’s availability for another patient.
Errors relating to medications or prescription drugs are often the result of miscommunication. In many cases, a dosage may have been increased or decreased because of an incorrect reading of a doctor’s handwritten order.
Several other medical professional errors also share issues with miscommunication. Some medical malpractice claims stem from a failure to deliver some kind of service to a patient that employees may have assumed a doctor, nurse, or other staff member was handling.
How a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Columbia Can Help
People who believe they have valid medical malpractice actions will need to get help from a lawyer. An experienced medical negligence attorney will be able to immediately conduct an independent investigation to determine what really happened and who may be held liable.
Determining liability is one of the primary reasons for a victim to hire a lawyer, as it can be especially complicated determining which parties could ultimately be responsible for a victim’s injuries. In some cases, there may even be multiple defendants.
Additionally, a knowledgeable attorney will know when and where to file the Notice of Intent to File Suit that is required under South Carolina Code § 15-79-125 as a prerequisite to any medical malpractice action. The lawyer will also be able to handle the expert affidavit required by South Carolina Code § 15-36-100.
The Standard of Care in Columbia Medical Malpractice Claims
Determining whether a medical professional acted negligently often depends on whether the person violated what is considered the medical standard of care. Keeping South Carolina’s definition of medical malpractice in mind, the standard of care is often assumed to be conduct a prudent health care provider or health care institution would exercise in the same or similar circumstances.
An alleged violation of the standard of care is typically where an expert affidavit becomes very important. State law defines an expert witness as “an expert who is qualified as to the acceptable conduct of the professional whose conduct is at issue” and who is licensed by an appropriate regulatory agency to practice their profession in their professional location.
An expert witness also needs to be board certified by a national or international association or academy that administers examinations for certification in the area of practice or specialty about which the opinion on the standard of care is offered. If the witness cannot satisfy this requirement, then they must have actual professional knowledge and experience in the area of practice or specialty in which the opinion is to be given as the result of having been regularly engaged in the practice or specialty area for at least three of the last five years immediately preceding the opinion, the teaching of the practice or specialty area for at least half of their professional time as an employed member of an educational institution accredited in the teaching of their profession for at least three of the last five years immediately preceding the opinion, or any combination of the active practice or the teaching of their profession in a manner for at least three of the last five years immediately preceding the opinion.
An expert witness can also be an individual who has scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge that could assist the trier of fact in understanding the evidence and determining a fact or issue in the case, by reason of the individual’s study, experience, or both. The defendant is entitled to challenge the sufficiency of the expert’s credentials under this section, so it is important to have an attorney who can find the expert witness with the strongest possible credentials.
The Importance of Hiring a Columbia Medical Malpractice Attorney
Medical malpractice actions are not only important for victims to get justice, but they also serve a very important purpose for many other people who could be receiving similar treatment from the same health care provider or at the same institution.
When a medical error has resulted in a medical malpractice lawsuit, doctors, hospitals, and other professionals all take greater steps to ensure that nobody else has grounds for similar claims.
Contact Our Medical Malpractice Attorneys in Columbia for Help
If you or your loved one suffered severe injuries because of medical malpractice in South Carolina, you should immediately contact The Jeffcoat Firm. Call us or contact us online to have our firm review your case and answer all of your legal questions during a free consultation.