Medical Malpractice Attorneys in Rock Hill, South Carolina
What is medical malpractice? The simple answer—if there is one—is that it happens when a healthcare provider fails to live up to the required “medical standard of care.” Note that it can be any health care professional, not just a physician, but also surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, radiologists, and more. Malpractice can involve both acts done and acts that failed to be done or done improperly. Both misdiagnosis and mistreatment fall into the realm.
According to a five-year study of actual lawsuits, medical malpractice cases fall into three general categories: 26 percent pertain to failure to properly diagnose, 24 percent to surgery, and 28.5 percent to improper treatment. Another 5.1 percent pertain to adverse drug events.
Other cases involved adverse reactions to anesthesia, lack of informed consent, and improper monitoring. In 2022, South Carolina ranked 13th nationwide in the number of medical malpractice lawsuits at 598.
South Carolina provides legal remedies in cases of medical malpractice, but the path can be challenging in order to prevent trivial lawsuits. If you or a loved one believe you are the victim of medical malpractice in or around Rock Hill, South Carolina, contact us immediately at Duncan and Nobles LLC.
We will listen to your story, evaluate what’s happened, and advise you of the proper path forward to recover from any losses or damages you’ve suffered. We also proudly serve clients throughout the counties of York, Chester, and Lancaster.
How South Carolina Defines Medical Malpractice
The South Carolina Code of Laws states: "Medical malpractice means doing that which the reasonably prudent health care provider or health care institution would not do or not doing that which the reasonably prudent health care provider or health care institution would do in the same or similar circumstances.”
Note the use of the repeated phrase “reasonably prudent.” This again means that the care provided must meet the standards of the health care profession in whatever phase of care or treatment is being offered. To make a medical malpractice claim, you, therefore, have to show that the provider or institution failed to meet such standards, which can be a high bar to prove.
Some common examples of medical malpractice include:
failure to diagnose
nursing home negligence
nursing home falls
surgical items left in the body cavity after surgery
Statute of Limitations on Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
South Carolina law also places a statute of limitations on filing medical malpractice lawsuits, which is "within three years from the date of the treatment, omission, or operation giving rise to the cause of action or three years from the date of discovery or when it reasonably ought to have been discovered, not to exceed six years from the date of occurrence."
If an error is discovered two years after the surgery or other treatment, for instance, then the three years commence from that point. Note, however, that South Carolina law also imposes a statute of repose of six years, meaning no matter when you discover the harm, you must file within six years.
If a minor is involved, the statute is paused for up to seven years but no longer than one year after the minor turns 18. Also, if the lawsuit involves a foreign object being left in a patient, the statute is two years from discovery or when it reasonably should have been discovered.
Filing a Lawsuit
State law imposes several steps for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. The first is submitting to the court a “Notice of Intent to File Suit,” which indicates a lawsuit is possible and maybe imminent.
This must also be accompanied, in the case of a medical malpractice claim, by an “expert affidavit.” This document must be prepared by a medical expert witness, who describes at least one negligent action, or inaction, on the part of the person or institution being sued.
Within 90 to 120 days of filing these documents, the parties involved (plaintiff and defendant, so to speak) must engage in mediation to try to resolve the dispute before the actual lawsuit is initiated. If the parties don’t agree to the mediator’s resolution, or fail to reach one on their own, then a lawsuit can proceed.
Proving Medical Malpractice
There are basically four elements in proving medical malpractice. You must show that:
A healthcare provider (person or institution) had a professional duty toward you.
The provider failed to fulfill their duty because their actions did not meet their profession’s medical standard of care (or inactions).
As a result, you were harmed.
You, therefore, should be compensated for the harm caused to you.
Caps on Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
South Carolina imposes a $512,773 cap on any noneconomic damage award for a single care provider or institution. If there are multiple defendants, the cap is $1,538,319, with no one paying more than $512,773. These caps are raised each January 1st to account for inflation.
Note also that these caps are for noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering. If you suffered economic loss (say, you can no longer work), those damages are uncapped. Your actual medical expenses, past and future, resulting from the original error or harm are also economic damages.
If you believe you or a loved one has been misdiagnosed, mistreated, or otherwise suffered because of medical malpractice, reach out immediately to Duncan and Nobles LLC. Our medical malpractice and personal injury attorneys will consult with you, assess what happened, and advise you of the next steps to take to pursue a medical malpractice claim. We are located in Rock Hill but we represent clients throughout the state of South Carolina, so contact us wherever you are.
Medical Malpractice Attorneys Serving Rock Hill, South Carolina
If you believe you or a loved one has been misdiagnosed, mistreated, or otherwise suffered because of medical malpractice, reach out immediately to Duncan and Nobles LLC. Our medical malpractice and personal injury attorneys will consult with you, assess what happened, and advise you of the next steps to take to pursue a medical malpractice claim.We are located in Rock Hill but we represent clients throughout the state of South Carolina, so contact us wherever you are. Let’s communicate and fight for the just compensation due you.