The American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys (ABPLA) defines medical malpractice as a negligent act or omission by a hospital, doctor, or other healthcare professional that results in injury to a patient. This negligence may be in diagnosis, during treatment, aftercare, or overall health management of the patient in question. The basic concept behind medical malpractice is that the healthcare professional did not do right by the patient.
How Common is Medical Malpractice in the United States?
The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that medical negligence is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Approximately $3 billion was spent in medical practice payouts in 2012. It is estimated that medical errors kill nearly 200,000 patients in the country each year. A vast majority of these errors and payouts are because of the negligence of healthcare providers.
How Can I File a Lawsuit for Medical Malpractice in Chester, South Carolina?
If you believe that you were a victim of medical malpractice and wish to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, you need to ensure that your claim has the following characteristics:
- During your medical treatment, there was a violation of the standard of care. This means that the healthcare professional(s) failed to meet medical standards that are accepted by the profession. All patients have the right to expect that these basic standards will be met. If this is not the case, the standard of care is deemed to have been violated.
- You suffered an injury due to the negligence of the healthcare professional. Even if you can establish that the standard of care was violated, you also need to prove that you actually sustained an injury that would not have occurred if there had been no negligence on the part of the healthcare professional or the hospital.
- You suffered significant damages from the injury. This means that you have to provide evidence that you incurred medical expenses, loss of income, disability, pain, and suffering, as a result of the medical provider’s negligence.
Some common examples of medical malpractice include:
- Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose
- Ignoring medical lab results or misreading them
- Surgical errors or wrong site of surgery
- Unnecessary surgery
- Wrong dosage
- Inappropriate follow-up
- Premature discharge from hospital
- Ignoring patient history
- Failure to conduct proper testing
- Ignoring symptoms
Any of these actions can result in injury or harm to the patient. If this happens, the patient has the right to file a personal injury claim so that he or she may be compensated for the damages the patient suffered because of this injury.
How to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Chester, South Carolina
In Chester, SC, any healthcare provider can be held liable in case of suspected medical malpractice and injury to a patient. This means that any doctor, nurse, surgeon, dentist, or any other licensed healthcare professional can be held accountable for any damage that they cause to the patient due to their negligence.
There is, however, a statute of limitations in South Carolina for medical malpractice lawsuits. Any patient who believes that they have been injured because of the negligence of a healthcare professional must file a claim within three years of the negligent act or three years after the injury, whichever comes first.
If there are certain circumstances which prevented the patient from determining that the injury was due to the negligence of the healthcare provider within these three years, they may still be permitted to file a claim. However, no claim can be filed more than six years after the negligent act. There are no exceptions to this rule except in the case of minors. If the injured patient is a minor, they can still file a claim one year after their eighteenth birthday or within seven years of the negligent act, whichever comes first.
If you do not file a medical malpractice claim within these specified timeframes, you will lose the ability to file a claim and have no chance of being compensated.
Before a medical malpractice action is brought to trial, the plaintiff and the defendant are required to participate in pre-suit mediation. The mediation proceedings will be governed by procedures established in the South Carolina Circuit Court Alternative Dispute Resolution Rules. If mediation fails, the plaintiff has the right to initiate civil action by filing a claim.
Contact an Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyer in South Carolina
If you believe that you or a family member is a victim of medical negligence, you should consult a medical malpractice attorney immediately. Remember, there is a statute of limitations, and you do not want to lose the ability to file your claim. Most people are unaware of the legal process of filing a medical malpractice claim and are also unsure what damages they can seek.
The experienced lawyers at Elrod Pope Law Firm have been serving clients for over 30 years. If you are suffering from an injury or illness related to malpractice after being treated by a medical professional, call the experienced lawyers at the Elrod Pope Law Firm. Medical malpractice cases can be complicated. For your case to be strong, you will need to present a persuasive case to the jury. Contact our lawyers today at 803-599-3080 for a free consultation. Our lawyers will be happy to assist and advise you on how you should proceed with your claim.
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.