Patients and family members are often devastated to discover that doctor negligence has caused injury, illness, or death. Doctors are supposed to help, not hurt, but all medical care providers can make serious mistakes that affect patient outcomes. The Christmas Law Firm represents clients who have been victimized by medical malpractice in South Carolina, providing help to patients and surviving family members in holding doctors accountable. We know how frightening it can be to face a poor health prognosis, mounting medical bills, or the death of a loved one- all caused by your doctor. We’re here now and ready to help you with your case.
In representing clients in medical malpractice cases over more than 40 years of combined experience, our attorneys know that many plaintiffs are overwhelmed and don’t know what to expect when going through the process of bringing a malpractice claim. We encounter common questions over and over from patients and their families who cannot believe a doctor or hospital they trusted could have behaved so careless. We aim to ensure every question you have is answered, and we take care of all of the legal aspects of your case for you. Give us a call today to get a one-on-one case evaluation, or browse some of the answers below to common questions that you likely have about your malpractice claim.
Common Questions About Medical Malpractice
Some of the most common questions clients ask us about medical malpractice include the following:
- What exactly does medical malpractice mean? Medical malpractice means your caregiver failed to live up to the obligation to provide professional quality care. A bad outcome is not necessarily malpractice- you have to prove your adverse health outcome occurred as a direct result of negligence or substandard care below what a reasonable professional should have provided.
- Who can commit medical malpractice? Any provider who owes you a duty to provide professional care can commit malpractice. This could include a doctor, a nurse, a dentist, a surgeon, a hospital, or any other healthcare professional. As long as you had a doctor/patient relationship with the provider, the caregiver can be held accountable for negligence.
- How do I know if my doctor committed malpractice? The best way to know is to have a lawyer help you get your medical records, and have those records reviewed by an expert who your lawyer helps you find. Whether malpractice occurred is a complex question that requires an understanding of technical decisions made during your care. If you can prove a reasonable physician or caregiver with a similar background wouldn’t have acted as your doctor did, you may have a malpractice case.
- What types of damages are covered by medical malpractice claims? You should be able to recover for actual out-of-pocket financial expenses like medical treatment expenditures and loss of income due to missed work, permanent injuries that reduce your physical ability to work, or the death of a family member before the end of his working life. Compensatory or non-economic damages should also be paid to victims or surviving family members, including compensation for loss of quality of life, loss of a family member’s companionship, and pain and suffering.
Questions About the Medical Malpractice Claims Process
Understanding what medical malpractice means is only half the battle when it comes to making a case and recovering compensation from a caregiver. You also need to understand what is involved with the legal process used to make a malpractice claim. Many clients come to us confident that their doctors or caregivers have made errors- but uncertain of what to do next. Here are a few answers to the most common questions about bringing a claim:
- How do I file a malpractice case? You can file a malpractice case by submitting court paperwork in the location where the malpractice occurred, and/or where you and the caregiver are located. An attorney can help you to find the correct court in which to make your claim. South Carolina law requires an expert to render an opinion that malpractice occurred before a lawsuit is actually filed, so your attorney can also assist you in getting an expert on the record.
- Is timing important to filing a medical malpractice case? In South Carolina, the time to file a malpractice claim before the statute of limitations is exceeded and your claim is time-barred will depend on several factors so it is important to contact an attorney for verification. If a child under 18 was injured by malpractice, the clock on the statute of limitations doesn’t start running until the child is 18.
- What do I need to prove? To win a malpractice case, you will need to show a caregiver owed you an obligation to provide quality care, the caregiver or his staff failed in the professional obligation owed, and that you were hurt or your loved one was killed as a direct result of the medical negligence. You can show medical malpractice by acts (like botched treatment) or omissions (like a failure to diagnose a condition or report bad lab results in a timely manner).
- How long will a medical malpractice case take? The amount of time your case will take varies depending upon many factors, including the complexity of your claims and whether your case settles or is resolved in a jury trial.
- Is it necessary to bring a medical malpractice case to trial? Many malpractice cases settle. Caregivers are represented by malpractice insurers, who may offer a payment in exchange for releasing liability and giving up the right to sue. Before you agree to settle, your case should be reviewed by a malpractice lawyer who handles medical negligence claims in South Carolina.
Each case is different, and you deserve answers to your questions that are tailored to your specific situation. Call The Christmas Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation with a medical malpractice attorney serving clients in the state of South Carolina.