Medical malpractice is a form of negligence that can have severe consequences. It can potentially lead to catastrophic injuries, worsen a patient’s health, or even endanger their life. Malpractice can manifest in various ways, such as when a healthcare provider fails to meet a reasonable standard of care.

If you have experienced injury or illness as a result of negligence by a healthcare professional, you should speak with our legal team immediately about liability in Columbia medical malpractice claims. Schedule a consultation today to discuss your situation with a seasoned medical malpractice attorney.

Medical Malpractice Actions Involve a Breach of Care

South Carolina has specific laws governing medical malpractice lawsuits. Pursuant to South Carolina Code § 15-79-110, a healthcare professional can be held liable for medical malpractice if their actions deviate from what a reasonably prudent provider would do in a similar situation. Some common breaches in the standard of care that can lead to medical malpractice allegations include the following:

  • Errors in prescribing or administering prescription drugs
  • Failure to adequately monitor a patient
  • Surgical errors
  • Failure to notify a patient of a medical procedure risks or provide alternative options
  • Diverging from generally accepted treatment protocols
  • Diagnostic errors, such as misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose, or a delay in diagnosis

A plaintiff must provide sufficient evidence or expert testimony to establish liability in a Columbia medical malpractice claim. This must demonstrate that the healthcare professional’s behavior deviated from the generally accepted standard of care and directly caused the plaintiff’s injury.

Procedural Protocols Before Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

The state has instituted mandatory procedures that plaintiffs must follow before filing a lawsuit against the at-fault party. Any patient seeking to file a medical malpractice action must first provide the healthcare professional with a notice of intent to file suit, pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. § 15-79-125.

You must also file an affidavit of a medical expert witness, pursuant to the guidelines in S.C. Code Ann. § 15-36-100. The notice of intent to file suit must name all adverse at-fault parties and contain a short statement of facts demonstrating your entitlement to relief.

The expert witness affidavit must come from someone qualified to opine on acceptable conduct within a particular medical field. The statute requires the expert to be licensed and board-certified or have the requisite professional knowledge and experience in that field. In addition, the affidavit must reference at least one specific breach in care by the at-fault party and describe the factual basis for that claim.

Mediation and The Statue of Limitations

After the notice of intent is served on the at-fault individual or entity, all parties must participate in a mediation conference within 90 to 120 days. If you cannot resolve the dispute through mediation, you may initiate a medical malpractice lawsuit.

You must file the action within 60 days after the mediation is deemed not viable or before the expiration of the statute of limitations, whichever occurs later. Patients have three years from the date of injury to file a medical malpractice claim, pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. § 15-3-545, or two years for suits against healthcare professionals associated with government entities.

Medical Malpractice Money Damages

If you successfully prove malpractice took place, you can recover economic and noneconomic damages. However, state law limits certain types of damages in medical malpractice cases.

Economic damages consist of losses with a definitive financial value, such as medical costs, lost wages or earning capacity, or lost employment opportunities. Noneconomic damages include pain and suffering, disfigurement, mental anguish, emotional distress, or loss of consortium with a spouse.

Medical malpractice claims cap noneconomic damages, pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. § 15-32-220, and the limits are adjusted annually for inflation. However, the cap does not apply if the at-fault party’s negligence was gross, willful, wanton, or reckless. Similarly, there are no limits if the at-fault party engages in fraud or misrepresentation regarding the claim. For more information on the types of damages available for your claim, contact a medical malpractice liability attorney in Columbia.

Learn More About Columbia Medical Malpractice Claims and Liability

A Whetstone Perkins & Fulda lawyer could discuss potential liability in Columbia medical malpractice claims based on the facts of your case. Filing as soon as possible is essential to ensure compliance with state protocols related to medical malpractice claims. Please schedule a consultation with one of our diligent personal injury attorneys today to discover whether you have a case in which to pursue compensation.

Whetstone Perkins & Fulda