Medical malpractice is when a medical provider does not administer treatment with the appropriate standard of care. These are typically very complex matters. You have to address the medical and legal issues, comply with all the unique procedural rules, and the plaintiff needs to be aware of how any cap on damages will affect their case. If you believe you have a valid claim, it’s important to speak with a skilled South Carolina medical malpractice attorney right away.
Statute of Limitations
Like some other states, South Carolina has a strict statute of limitations when it comes to filing a medical malpractice claim. South Carolina Code of Law § 15-3-545 states that the case must be filed within three years from the date of treatment, omission, or operation that gives rise to the medical malpractice claim. Or, you have three years from the date of discovery, or when it should’ve reasonably been discovered. However, it cannot be more than six years from the date of occurrence.
What this means is that once six years have passed, you cannot file a medical malpractice claim, even if there was no way you could’ve known you were harmed by malpractice. There may be rare exceptions, like a situation where a foreign object is left inside your body. In these rare scenarios, you would have two years to file a lawsuit from the date when it was discovered.
Situations that Can Lead to Malpractice Claim
There are a number of scenarios that can lead to a valid medical malpractice claim in South Carolina. These include:
- Negligence during surgery
- Prescription drug overdose
- Birth injuries
- Anesthesia-related claims
- Errors in the emergency rooms
To determine whether your case qualifies as a medical malpractice claim, it needs independent evaluation and analysis. This is one of the reasons for retaining an experienced medical malpractice attorney is so important. The applicable laws and patient history will be carefully reviewed before determining whether there is a valid medical malpractice claim.
Just any mistake a doctor may make does not automatically qualify as a medical malpractice claim; it depends on whether the mistake was a deviation from the acceptable standard of care. Essentially, it refers to a patient with similar symptoms and circumstances, and what an average doctor with the same qualifications would do.
Medical Malpractice Damages
If you have a valid medical malpractice claim, you may be entitled to compensation for a variety of damages. These include:
- Necessary medical costs to correct or repair the damage caused by the malpractice
- Future associated medical costs
- Lost wages
- General damages for pain and suffering, which can include permanent damage like disfigurement, emotional distress, etc.
- If you have a spouse, they may be entitled to loss of consortium
In very select cases, there may be an award of punitive damages as well, depending on how outrageous the conduct was.
Retaining a South Carolina Attorney
If you believe you have a valid medical malpractice claim, contact the Elrod Pope Law Firm at 803-599-3080 to schedule a consultation as soon as possible.
Thomas E. Pope is a Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, and Medical Malpractice Attorney who practices in Rock Hill, Lake Wylie, and Lancaster, SC. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 31 years now. Thomas E. Pope believes in protecting the injured. Learn more about his experience here.