Medical Malpractice Lawyers Serving South Carolina
Any medical procedure carries a certain risk. Sometimes treatment fails, and not all patients recover. But when a patient’s condition becomes worse or they die unexpectedly, there are questions that should be asked – and answered. Too often, patients are injured or die because of medical mistakes. This is medical malpractice, and those responsible should be held accountable.
Medical malpractice lawsuits seek compensation on behalf of the injured patient for their medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other losses. They may seek money from individual medical professionals or the institution that employs them, i.e., the hospital, clinic, nursing home, etc. In addition to helping the individual or family that has suffered an injury or loss, a medical malpractice lawsuit demonstrates to the offending medical practitioner or institution that they have deficiencies that must be corrected.
What constitutes ‘malpractice’?
If a patient has been injured by a medical professional’s failure to follow the accepted standards of medical practice (also stated as “reasonable care”), this may be considered a case of malpractice. Medical malpractice may be the result of an incorrect action (medical error) or failure to act (negligence) on the part of the medical professional.
In South Carolina, for a medical malpractice lawsuit to be successful it must demonstrate that:
- There was a relationship between the medical professional and the patient that gave rise to a duty of care;
- The medical professional breached the duty of reasonable care; and
- The patient was injured as a result of the breach of the medical professional’s duty of care.
Typical causes of patients’ injuries that may rise to the level of medical malpractice include:
- Emergency room negligence
- Medication error
- Surgical and/or anesthesia error
- Childbirth injury (cerebral palsy, brachial plexus, etc.)
- Nursing home neglect or abuse.
Who may be held liable for medical malpractice?
It is not only those usually thought of as medical “professionals” who may be cited in medical malpractice claims. Paraprofessionals and technicians may be also held liable if they violate standards. Individuals whose actions should be investigated in the consideration of a malpractice lawsuit include, but may not be limited to: physicians, surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists, physician’s assistants, paramedics and EMTs, radiologists, lab technicians, chiropractors, dentists, psychiatrists and pharmacists.
A medical malpractice lawsuit may also seek to hold a medical institution accountable for a patient’s injuries if it can be shown that an employee injured the patient. This includes: hospitals / medical centers, clinics, private medical practices, nursing / retirement homes and rehabilitation centers.
Proving a medical practice claim
Medical malpractice cases usually deal with complicated and technical issues. They require a thorough investigation, which includes collecting what are usually voluminous medical records, and having them reviewed by medical experts.
To move forward, a medical malpractice claim in South Carolina must include an affidavit of merit, which is a statement signed by an expert medical witness that says at least one alleged negligent act or omission occurred which caused injury to the plaintiff. It must also state the factual basis for each claim made against each defendant in the case.
South Carolina also imposes a statute of limitations on med mal cases, which in most cases requires a lawsuit to be filed within three years from the date the injury occurred, or three years from the date the injury was discovered or should reasonably have been discovered. However, if the doctor is a government employee or the hospital is a public institution (as opposed to a private corporation), the statue of limitations may only be two years.
Because of the technical nature of a medical malpractice case, these claims tend to progress slowly. That is why it is best to contact an experienced Spartanburg injury lawyer, such as ours at Harrison, White, Smith & Coggins, P.C., as soon as possible after an unexplained injury or death occurs to an individual under medical care.
We are here to help if a medical outcome was improper
Any sudden decline in a person’s health or a death causes grief and uncertainty among the individuals and families involved. At Harrison, White, Smith & Coggins, P.C., we believe any truly unexpected or unexplained medical setback that occurs while a patient is under a medical professional’s care should be properly investigated. In cases of medical error or negligence, we work diligently to hold those responsible by pursuing medical malpractice claims on our clients’ behalf.
Call Harrison, White, Smith & Coggins, P.C. at 864-585-5100 or fill out our online form to get in touch with us. An initial consultation to discuss your case is free, and if we can help you obtain justice, we will be honored to be of service to you and your family.