Whenever you go to the doctor to receive treatment for an injury, illness, or other condition, you have a right to expect a certain standard of care from the medical professionals caring for you. Fortunately, most doctors, nurses, and technicians meet this standard without any issue. However, medical practitioners who violate their Hippocratic Oath can cause significant harm to patients.
If you suffered preventable harm due to a healthcare provider’s careless behavior while treating you, you should consider retaining one of our personal injury attorneys at Whetstone Perkins & Fulda. Personal injury claims involving medical negligence are uniquely complicated, so it would be in your best interest to work with a Marion medical malpractice lawyer from our firm.
Special Filing Requirements for Medical Malpractice Claims in Marion
In most cases, before you can file a medical malpractice lawsuit, you must first submit a Notice of Intent to File Suit to both the providers you want to sue and the court in which you will file your complaint. As per South Carolina Code of Laws §15-79-125, this notice must specify every defendant you intend to name, briefly describe your grounds for litigation, and include many other disclosures and interrogatories.
Expert Witness Affidavit
Pursuant to S.C. Code §15-36-100, the initial complaint for a malpractice claim must include an affidavit prepared by or with direct input from at least one expert witness. This witness should have similar or identical qualifications and experience in the same field of medicine as the defendant(s).
Through this affidavit, the expert witness must affirm that they believe the actions or inaction of the defendant(s) constituted a breach of the standard of care applicable under the circumstances and caused you harm.
What is the Deadline for Filing a Medical Negligence Case?
S.C. Code §15-3-545 states that plaintiffs have three years from the date they discovered their injuries to file a claim for medical negligence. However, many medical providers are affiliated with governmental entities and in those cases the deadline to file a medical malpractice action is only two years. It may be difficult for a patient to determine whether a particular practitioner is private or governmental.
Another specific statute applies if you discovered a foreign object negligently left inside your body. That type of claim must be filed within two years from the date of the discovery.
Regardless of when you discovered your injury, you will have no more than six years from the date the negligent act occurred to file your case. A Marion lawyer familiar with medical malpractice cases could go over these laws with you in more detail to ensure that a claim is made timely.
Caps on Damages in Medical Negligence Claims
In a medical negligence claim, you may recover compensation for all your objective economic losses, such as medical expenses and lost work income. However, state law restricts how much compensation you may recover for non-economic losses, such as physical pain, lost enjoyment of life, and lost personal opportunities.
Pursuant to S.C. Code §15-32-220, there are caps, or limits, that you can recover for non-economic losses from a single defendant and from all defendants combined. These caps on non-economic damages change every year. In addition, if the defendant is an employee of a governmental or charitable entity, there may be other caps on damages that apply. The application of caps on damages to cases can be very complicated. A Marion lawyer experienced in medical malpractice cases could provide more clarification about how these damage caps work, whether there are factors that might render the caps inapplicable in your case and how much compensation you could recover in your medical negligence case.
A Marion Medical Malpractice Attorney Could Help
Civil claims alleging medical malpractice involve complex medical and legal concepts that can be very difficult for the average person to understand. Additionally, there are many procedural steps for personal injury cases involving medical negligence.
Fortunately, our Marion medical malpractice lawyers could help you navigate the legal process. Call us today to discuss your options.