If you or someone you love was injured by a medical professional, you can hold them responsible for their negligence. The damages you can recover in a medical malpractice lawsuit in South Carolina may include all reasonable medical care and lost wages from all income sources throughout your recovery.
In some cases, you may seek compensation for pain and suffering, disabilities and impairment, and diminished quality of life. Your family can recover wrongful death damages if a loved one was fatally injured by a medical mishap. You do not have to assess your damages on your own, though. A medical malpractice lawyer in your area can explain the varying types of compensation you can request from the liable party.
Are Punitive Damages Available in Medical Malpractice Cases?
Punitive damages are rarely awarded in personal injury cases. They aim to penalize the at-fault party rather than financially compensate the injured party. Typically, punitive damages are awarded in cases of egregious or intentional wrongdoing.
The personal injury lawyer who handles your case will explain the details of this type of recoverable damage and clarify whether you can recover them as part of your medical malpractice case.
What Is the Statute of Limitations on South Carolina Medical Malpractice Cases?
Like all civil lawsuits, your medical malpractice case has a filing deadline called a statute of limitations. In general, S.C. Code of Laws § 15-3-545 gives you up to three years to file your lawsuit.
Medical malpractice cases are already complex. The statute of limitations can add another layer of complexity since the actual date of your injury can be difficult to determine. The deadline is usually:
- Three years from the date of the error, or
- Three years from the date it was discovered
Various additional factors might cause the filing deadline to fluctuate. The best way to understand the statute of limitations is to let a local attorney handle this part of your case. With enough notice from you, they can do everything in their power to file your lawsuit within the allotted time.
For a free legal consultation, call 1-803-366-0333
How do I Know If My Injuries Constitute Medical Malpractice?
Not every unfavorable medical outcome constitutes medical malpractice or entitles you to financial compensation. In South Carolina, S.C. Code of Laws § 15-79-110(6) defines medical malpractice as:
- Taking an action a reasonable healthcare provider would not take in the same situation
- Failing to take an action a reasonable healthcare provider would have taken under similar circumstances
Specific acts that might constitute medical malpractice include:
- Misdiagnosis or missed diagnosis
- Prescription medication errors
- Failure to disclose potential risks
- Deviating from appropriate care
- Wrong-site surgical procedures
- Surgical errors and mishaps
- Performing unnecessary surgery
Some birth injuries can also constitute medical malpractice. The lawyer who accepts your case will review the details of what happened, often at no cost. They can explain the merits of your case and help you build a strong case against the negligent party.
Who Can I Sue for Medical Malpractice in South Carolina?
Many people erroneously believe you can only pursue medical malpractice against a physician. In fact, you can pursue compensation from other healthcare professionals and facilities, including:
- Physical therapists
You have rights as a patient, and every healthcare professional who treats you has responsibilities. When you hire a medical malpractice attorney, they will explain both and help you determine who to hold accountable.
What Evidence do I Need to Prove a Medical Error?
Your medical records are a major component of your medical malpractice case file. The lawyer who represents you will obtain medical records from every person and place involved in your care. They may also compile the following supporting evidence:
- Photos and videos
- Lay witness statements
- Subject matter expert statements
- Prescription records
- Diagnostic test results
- Laboratory test results
Your lawyer can take a written statement from you that details the physical and emotional toll your injuries have taken on you and their effect on your lifestyle.
What Is a Medical Malpractice Certificate of Merit?
According to S.C. Code of Laws § 15-36-100, a qualified expert must support your medical malpractice case. They need to be properly licensed, board-certified, and sufficiently knowledgeable in the appropriate medical specialty applicable to your case.
The medical expert must review your case in detail and testify to its merit and that you did not receive medical services that meet the acceptable standard of care. Their testimony must be signed and filed alongside your potential lawsuit and provide specific details on at least one act of medical negligence that led to your current condition. The certificate or merit must also name all potentially liable healthcare providers.
How do I Obtain a Medical Malpractice Certificate of Merit?
This critical piece of evidence can be difficult to understand or to obtain on your own. If a medical malpractice lawyer represents you, they will:
- Identify qualified medical experts
- Consult with them on your behalf
- Obtain the required certificate of merit
Your lawyer will not tax you or your family with collecting this or any form of evidence that supports your case. Instead, they will compile, sort, and organize your case file and present it to the at-fault party and their insurance provider for you.
They can also handle the negotiation process from start to finish and fight hard for the compensation you need to recover your health and rebuild your life.
Contact Our South Carolina Medical Malpractice Team Now
Few things can be as unsettling as suffering an injury or damage to your health from a professional you relied on for help. If this happened to you or someone you love, our medical malpractice team will advocate for you.
Get started by contacting Schiller & Hamilton today. Our team offers complimentary case reviews.