Mr. Louthian and the Louthian Law Firm provided me with excellent legal services regarding a legal issue with a major corporation.Errick Bethel Sr.
They were very down to earth and friendly, but they meant business. I would definitely recommend them. Thank you, attorney Bert Louthian!Keiron Gibson, Keianna Dukes & Ann Dukes
Outstanding customer care. Very professional and handled my case in a timely manner.Johnny Jackson
Medical malpractice is more common than you might think. It’s estimated that around 1 percent of all patients experience some form of medical malpractice. And yet barely 3 percent of these patients go on to file a claim. Reasons why claims are not filed often have to do with not understanding what medical malpractice is and how to move forward with a claim. If you are wondering whether you or a family member has been the victim of malpractice, we hope you will find the answers to your questions below.
Medical malpractice is also called medical negligence, and it happens when a health care professional does not uphold the standard of care for the patient’s treatment, resulting in their injury or death. The medical standard of care is often defined as the care and treatment that would be considered reasonable and appropriate for the health care professional to employ while taking care of the patient. Medical standards of care are often based on local criteria, and on what another provider(s) with a similar background might have done in the specific medical situation. Sometimes the “medical standard of care” is called “reasonable care.”
To bring a medical malpractice case, you need evidence that proves each of the following three points:
Generally, in South Carolina, you must file your case within three years of the medical occurrence, or within three years of the date of discovery of harm, which cannot be more than a total of six years from the date of the medical occurrence. If the claim involves a government agency it must be filed within two years. There are some exceptions.
We know it can be upsetting to receive care that didn’t go the way it was supposed to. But unless the outcome involved harm done to you, and you sustained damages, it likely wasn’t medical malpractice.
“Informed consent” means that you have been given the proper information needed to make a choice about your health care, and that you have the ability to make the decision. A lack of informed consent can be the basis for a medical malpractice case. The patient must demonstrate both of the following conditions:
The terms “medical professional” or “health care professional” include doctors, but these terms can also mean nurses, physician’s assistants, midwives, chiropractors, physical therapists, dentists, pharmacists, and others. You can also sue the hospital or other medical institution for which they worked if they were an employee.
Medical malpractice cases hinge on evidence, so much time will be spent gathering and analyzing facts. Items needed for a malpractice case to begin include copies of all relevant medical records for the patient. The records then need to be reviewed by neutral-party medical professionals in order to determine whether the case involved negligence/an avoidable mistake, or whether the medical standard of care was met.
In South Carolina, your attorney is required to obtain an “affidavit of merit,” which is a statement signed by an expert medical witness. The statement must pinpoint at least one act of negligence that caused harm to the patient.
If it is determined that the case involves negligence and should proceed, several more steps will be taken before the suit is filed with the court. These steps are:
Almost all malpractice cases are settled before going to trial—over 90 percent of them. You may not have to go to court at all.
Many states have some type of cap, or limit on monetary damages, and South Carolina is one of them. The legal cap on what you can collect applies only to non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering and emotional anguish. In a medical malpractice case, $350,000 is the most you can collect against a single institution or provider of care for this type of damages. If a judgment is won against more than one defendant, the total non-economic damages cannot be greater than $1.05 million.
Economic damages include actual money paid for medical care, or money that is expected to be paid for future care, as well as reimbursement for loss of wages, compensation for any loss of ability to earn future wages, and similar financial losses. Economic damages in South Carolina have no cap.
Most medical malpractice attorneys handle cases on contingency, meaning that they take a share of the recovery and don’t ask for money up front. The Louthian Law Firm abides by this practice, meaning that you can concentrate on taking care of yourself and your family, not worrying about how you will pay for your case.
Medical malpractice in South Carolina is a politically charged issue, which has led to an extremely complex set of laws in our state governing malpractice lawsuits. If you or someone you care about has been injured by the negligence of a medical professional, you should speak with an experienced South Carolina medical malpractice attorney like the ones at the Louthian Law Firm as soon as possible.
Our attorneys can help you evaluate your case; protect your legal right to the courts, stand by your side throughout the legal process, and get you the best possible results. For a free consultation, call the Columbia medical malpractice lawyers at Louthian Law Firm today at 1-803-454-1200, or fill out our confidential online consultation form.