Doctors and hospitals are supposed to help, not hurt. So, when a medical mistake occurs, it can be hard to know what to do. The first thing you should do is call a South Carolina medical malpractice attorney who can walk you through the legal process.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
According to South Carolina Code of Laws Section 15-79-110, medical malpractice is action or inaction taken by medical professionals or facilities that does not match what a reasonably prudent health care provider or health care institution would do in the same or similar circumstances.
In order to prove medical malpractice in South Carolina, you must be able to prove the following:
- There was a doctor-patient relationship
- There are recognized and accepted standards exercised by competent health care providers in similar circumstances
- The health care provider’s negligence deviated from recognized and accepted standards
- That negligence was the proximate cause of your injury
- Thus, a health care provider’s negligence is not the only element that leads to a medical malpractice claim. You must also prove that you were injured, and negligence was the cause of that injury.
How to Prove You Have a Medical Malpractice Case
If a health care provider caused your injuries, then you might have a case for medical negligence against them. However, you must be able to prove each and every element of medical malpractice. That’s why it’s important to work with a medical negligence attorney who is familiar with the legal process and knows how to prove medical malpractice in court.
First, you must prove there was a doctor-patient relationship. This can often be easily established with medical records that show your health care provider treated you for medical conditions. Your medical malpractice attorney can request all of your medical records to ensure you have them as evidence of a doctor-patient relationship.
Then, you must present the recognized and accepted standards that the medical professional should have followed and establish that they did not adhere to these standards. This is accomplished with a qualified medical expert witness who will describe the medically negligent actions or inactions taken by the health care provider.
Finally, you must be able to prove that the negligence of the medical provider was the cause of your injuries. This will require support from eyewitnesses (potentially other health care providers who were present), medical records, outside medical opinions, and medical experts.
How Long Do I Have to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, you only have three years from the date on which you were harmed by the medical provider or from when you could reasonably be expected to know you were harmed. However, if you exceed six years, you no longer have a right to file a medical malpractice claim even if you weren’t aware of the harm within that time.
There are a few exceptions. For example, if your injury involves “the placement and inadvertent, accidental, or unintentional leaving of a foreign object in the body,” you have two years from the date when the presence of the foreign object was discovered. The larger six-year deadline does not apply.
How Much Money Can I Get in a Medical Malpractice Claim in South Carolina?
You can get 100% of the damages you have incurred for economic damages like medical bills, lost wages, etc. However, South Carolina puts a damages cap on how much money you can recover for non-economic damages like pain and suffering in a medical malpractice claim. The most you can get for non-economic damages against a single care provider or institution is $350,000. If your case involves more than one defendant, then you cannot get more than $1.05 million, but each defendant cannot be ordered to pay more than $350,000 for non-economic damages.
Contact The Boggs Law Firm for Help
Medical malpractice lawyer Bozzie Boggs understands South Carolina laws and can help you navigate a claim. He has helped countless victims recover the compensation they need to get their lives back to normal after an injury by a medical provider. Contact us today for a free consultation of your case.