How Can a South Carolina Medical Malpractice Attorney Help Me?
Most doctors chose their profession because they want to help others. So why is medical malpractice the third leading cause of death in the U.S.? Because doctors and nurses are people, and people make mistakes. And when these mistakes are made because of negligence, there are laws in place in South Carolina that allow patients to seek compensation for their injuries or the death of a loved one.
Patients are injured by healthcare providers more often than you’d think. A study by Johns Hopkins University reports that more than 250,000 people in the U.S. die from medical errors and negligence every year.
If you have been injured due to the actions or inaction of a medical professional or institution, talk with an experienced personal injury attorney to see if you have a medical malpractice case and what the next best steps are.
The attorneys at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin will take your case on a contingency fee, which is a percentage of the total amount you receive.2 We don’t charge an attorney’s fee unless we achieve a recovery on your behalf.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice covers professional medical misconduct – when a doctor, nurse, hospital, or other health care facility does something, or neglects to do something, that they are supposed to. People are injured by the negligence of their healthcare providers in South Carolina too often. Fortunately, South Carolina law allows patients to file claims for medical malpractice so that they can seek monetary relief for their injuries.
Who Can Be Sued for Medical Malpractice? In South Carolina, medical malpractice cases can be brought against institutions, such as hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation facilities, and nursing homes, and against individuals, such as doctors, nurses, dentists, and other health care providers.
There are many different types of medical malpractice:
- Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
- Surgery errors
- Treatment errors
- Medical device errors
- Medication errors
- Anesthesia errors
- Pharmacy errors
- Hospital and emergency room errors
- Postoperative negligence
- Postoperative complications
- Birth injuries
If you or your loved one has been injured due to the negligence of a medical care provider, consult with an experienced South Carolina medical malpractice attorney immediately.
The Four Elements of Medical Malpractice
To prove medical malpractice, you must show that your health care provider acted negligently in providing medical care, and that this negligence resulted in injury to you. You must prove that the following four things have happened:
- A professional medical duty and standard of care was owed to you.
Example: A doctor performed an operation on you.
- There was a breach of this duty.
Example: The doctor left a medical sponge inside you during this operation.
- This breach of duty caused your injury.
Example: The sponge caused internal bleeding and an infection in your intestines.
- Your injury resulted in actual damages.
Example: You were in pain and required additional surgery to remove the sponge and part of your intestines.
How Is Medical Malpractice Handled in South Carolina?
South Carolina follows a “modified comparative negligence” rule which allows a patient’s damages award to be reduced in proportion to the percentage of fault assigned to the patient. In other words, comparative negligence means that compensation for damages is awarded based on the amount of negligence attributed to the doctor. Here’s an example:
John (50) goes for his annual checkup and does not indicate on his medical history that his father has colon cancer. John’s doctor forgets to prescribe a colonoscopy that year even though this is standard medical care for a man his age. Three months later, John returns to the doctor, and it is discovered that John has colon cancer. The courts determine that John is 30% at fault (for withholding the information about his family’s history with colon cancer), and the doctor is 70% at fault (for neglecting to order a colonoscopy), so John receives 70% of any damages awarded.
South Carolina’s modified comparative negligence rule has a 51% bar which means in the above example, if John had been found to be 51% or more at fault, he would not have received any compensation.
Determining fault in medical malpractice cases can be difficult. A medical malpractice attorney at James Scott Farrin can help try to prove fault to recover maximum damages for you.
Three Steps for Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim in South Carolina
In South Carolina, medical malpractice laws encourage settlement outside of the courtroom.
There are three steps you must take towards recovering damages before you can file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
- The first step is obtaining an Expert Affidavit that asserts that your health care provider failed to meet the standard of care by act or omission. South Carolina requires that you submit an affidavit, signed by a qualified expert, specifying the negligent act or omission of the health care provider in question along with facts supporting each claim.
- The next step is filing a Notice of Intent to File. You cannot file a lawsuit against a health care provider without first filing the Notice of Intent and following its requirements. The expert affidavit must accompany the Notice of Intent.
- The final step is participating in Alternative Dispute Resolution. South Carolina law requires that you perform mandatory, but non-binding, arbitration and/or mediation before going to court. Both parties must try to resolve the dispute without litigation by engaging in alternative dispute resolution outside of the courtroom.
If after these three steps are taken you have not reached a satisfactory settlement, then you may want to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. In South Carolina, there is a three-year deadline requirement, a statute of limitations, for filing a lawsuit which means you only have three years from the date that the negligent care was given or from the date that you discovered the injury to file a lawsuit. There are some cases with shorter statutes of limitations so we strongly urge you to contact a South Carolina attorney as soon as possible.
Medical malpractice claims are complex and difficult to pursue. Your experienced South Carolina medical malpractice lawyer can assist you with each of these steps.
Our goal at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin is to get you monetary relief for the injuries caused by your healthcare provider. And we won’t take an attorney’s fee unless we obtain compensation on your behalf.2
How Much Is My Medical Malpractice Case Worth?
There are two types of damages for medical malpractice claims:
- Economic – medical expenses, lost wages
- Non-economic – pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life
In South Carolina, there is no cap on the amount of economic damages you can recover from a negligent healthcare provider, and an experienced South Carolina medical malpractice attorney may be able to help you recover the full amount for your medical expenses and lost income.
However, there is a cap on the amount of non-economic damages. Every year, these caps are adjusted in conformity with changes to the federal consumer price index. In 2020, the noneconomic damages cap was adjusted to $472,625 against a single health care provider and $1,417,880 against multiple health care providers.
Contact the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin for Your Medical Malpractice Claim
If you received medical care that made your existing condition worse or resulted in a new injury, you may be able to file a medical malpractice claim.