Medical malpractice cases are complicated. Like all civil lawsuits, they have a state-mandated statute of limitations. In general, you have three years to file your lawsuit in South Carolina. Correctly interpreting this statute can be challenging, though, since it can be hard to determine the exact date a medical error or injury occurred. Fortunately, a local lawyer can help.
When you hire one to represent you, they can further explain the statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in South Carolina. They can also consult medical experts who can substantiate your case, identify the medical mishap, pinpoint the date it occurred, and help you obtain a Certificate of Merit to strengthen and support your allegations of negligence.
What Happens If I don’t File My Lawsuit Within the Allotted Time?
If you don’t file your medical malpractice lawsuit within the three-year time limit described in S.C. Code of Laws § 15-3-545, you could be barred from filing it at all. If you do file your lawsuit after the statutory filing deadline has passed, it is likely to be dismissed without ever being heard.
Either outcome could mean you inadvertently relinquish your right to compensation. Do not delay filing your lawsuit out of concern for its costs. A South Carolina medical malpractice lawyer can help, and many will accept your case on a contingency fee basis.
The sooner you get a lawyer involved in your case, the more time they have to:
- Obtain and review relevant medical records
- Locate and interview qualified medical experts
- Interpret the applicable filing deadline
The research involved in your case can be time-consuming and daunting. A lawyer can handle it for you, which can mean you have the time you need to focus on getting better.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me Comply With the Statute of Limitations?
The lawyer who handles your case will be familiar with the law that can benefit your pursuit of recoverable damages. They can research the statute of limitations and its exceptions.
Because the medical malpractice statute of limitations can fluctuate based on the injured victim’s age and on the date your injury was or should have been discovered, it can make compliance challenging. Let your lawyer take care of this matter for you. They have a pool of resources and team members that can steer your case toward compliance.
For a free legal consultation, call 1-803-366-0333
Is a Certificate of Merit Mandatory for My Medical Malpractice Case?
In South Carolina, a Certificate of Merit can be a beneficial form of evidence in your case, but it is not mandatory. According to S.C. Code of Laws § 15-36-100, it should contain:
- Your lawyer’s signature
- The signature of a qualified medical expert
- The expert’s opinion that your case has merit
It attests to the expert’s review of your comprehensive medical records and alleges that the medical care you received failed to meet the acceptable standard of care.
How Can I Obtain One?
It can be difficult to identify a qualified medical expert and obtain their opinion on your own. Your lawyer can use their resources to locate one and collect their testimony, as well as gather other evidence that supports your case. It may include:
- Past, current, and future medical records
- Statements from other medical professionals involved in your care
- Physical evidence such as prescriptions, diagnostic test results, foreign bodies, and other tangible proof of negligence
Evidence will vary according to each case and the cause of your current medical condition. Leave evidence collection to your lawyer. On your own, it can be a challenging, time-consuming, and potentially emotional process. Your lawyer can take an objective and comprehensive approach to evidence collection and build the strongest possible case file for you.
What Damages Are Recoverable If I File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in South Carolina?
If a medical mishap requires subsequent medical care, you should be able to recover those costs from the negligent party. They may include all treatment expenses, emergency care, hospital admissions, assistive medical devices, rehabilitation, therapy, in-home medical support, and treatment-related travel costs.
Additional recoverable damages can include:
- Past and future lost income
- Physical disability
- Physical disfigurement
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Punitive damages are rarely awarded in civil lawsuits. They are typically intended to penalize the at-fault party for egregious acts of negligence or intentional wrongdoing. The lawyer who represents you will inform you if punitive damages are a possible form of financial compensation in your case.
What If a Family Member did Not Survive a Medical Error?
The loss of a loved one due to a medical mistake can be devastating. While nothing can atone for your loss, the decedent’s family is entitled to financial recovery. Wrongful death compensation can include:
- Your loved one’s funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of your loved one’s financial contributions
- Loss of your loved one’s domestic contributions
- Loss of consortium, companionship, and society
Your family might also be entitled to file a survivors’ action. It will allow you to recover the compensation your loved one would have had they survived to file a personal injury or medical malpractice case.
While the loss of a loved one will affect your entire family, South Carolina law limits who can seek compensation. Your lawyer will explain which family members can benefit from a wrongful death action.
Get Your Free South Carolina Medical Malpractice Case Review
If you or a loved one was injured by a medical error or mishap and you plan to seek compensation, contact our law firm to avoid potential delays. Our legal team can explain the statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in South Carolina and help you comply.
You do not have to identify and pursue the negligent medical practitioner without legal guidance and support. Get started today and avoid the costs of filing your lawsuit too late by contacting Schiller & Hamilton today.