When a medical professional makes a mistake or an error in judgment the result can be devastating to the patient. Those who believe they or an immediate family member have been harmed in a medical procedure should immediately consult with a South Carolina medical malpractice lawyer who is well-versed in this area of law to learn if a lawsuit is feasible.
A qualified South Carolina medical malpractice attorney can evaluate the circumstances and weigh the prospects for a valid lawsuit to claim monetary damages. Many personal injury lawyers will work on contingency, meaning their fees are paid from a portion of the damages award but if no damages are awarded the attorney does not receive a fee. This is called working on contingency. Contact a professional attorney today.
Medical Malpractice Defined
Medical malpractice occurs when a physician or another healthcare professional in a case performs negligently, such as making a mistake in diagnosis, treatment, in health management aftercare, or if care was substandard. An omission, not doing something that should have been done, is also malpractice.
Types of Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice takes in a variety of scenarios, including errors made in the emergency room, injuries at birth, mistakes in surgery, misdiagnosis, and an overdose or adverse reaction to prescription medicines.
Statute of Limitations
Harmed patients have a limited amount of time under the state’s statute of limitations law to sue the medical professional, which is generally three years from the date of the injury or when the injury is discovered. If the statute of limitations expires, the patient loses the right to sue.
This deadline can be extended under certain circumstances, which is called “tolling.” The South Carolina medical malpractice lawyer can explain if tolling applies in a particular case.
For example, if the injured person is a child, the statute of limitations can be extended until the age of 18, the legal age to bring a lawsuit, or if the injured was mentally incapacitated because of malpractice.
Medical malpractice, while a highly technical and complex area of law, is adjudicated under South Carolina’s comparative negligence standard if the reason for the injury was a medical professional’s negligence.
Negligence law requires the medical professional to adhere to the professional standard of care, but if the services provided fail that test a breach has occurred, and that breach is the reason for the injury.
South Carolina defines damages as “economic,” which is an actual financial loss, and “non-economic,” such as pain and suffering.
State law allows full economic damages but the law limits how much compensation can be awarded in medical malpractice cases for non-economic damages, which is $350,000 for a single medical professional, or $1.05 million for multiple defendants.
Because of the technical medical aspects of medical malpractice cases, much of the evidence against the defendant may require the testimony of an “expert witness,” who is a professional from the same medical discipline. The witness can explain the technical aspects to a judge or jury.
Some medical malpractice cases may not go to trial. They are settled between the injured person and the medical professional. The defendant’s insurance carrier will act in its own best interests and try to limit the amount of damages in an early settlement offer, which should not be accepted.
How a South Carolina Medical Malpractice Attorney Can Help
The experienced South Carolina medical malpractice lawyer will firmly negotiate an amount for economic and non-economic damages that are acceptable to the injured person with the defendant’s insurance carrier.