Undergoing a medical procedure of any kind can be frightening, but when the medical process does not go according to plan and a new injury occurs, the results can be traumatizing and overwhelming. The additional financial costs for further treatment, the required time spent away from work to recover, and the potential pain and suffering of an injury can seriously impair your professional and personal life.
Fortunately, South Carolina law provides avenues a qualified personal injury attorney could use to help you pursue damages after a preventable mistake by a healthcare provider. Having an experienced Florence medical malpractice lawyer in your corner could help ensure you are in a favorable position to recover compensation.
Procedure for Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim
For an individual to bring a lawsuit against a medical provider, South Carolina law requires that they submit a Notice of Intent to Sue to the Court, as well as all potentially liable healthcare providers. In addition, the prospective plaintiff must file an affidavit prepared by a relevant medical expert, in which that expert certifies that some negligent action has occurred. Also, a legal concept known as the statute of limitations places limits on when an injured patient may file suit. Under South Carolina law, an injured person usually must file a suit within three years of the date of the medical procedure that harmed them. If this time frame passes, an injured individual may be barred from recovering any damages at all.
However, those who are harmed by a medical procedure often do not discover the problem for months or even years after the initial incident. Accordingly, there is an exception to the standard statute of limitations through which a plaintiff may file suit within three years of discovering their injury instead, so long as the discovery did not occur more than six years after the date of the actual procedure.
Furthermore, South Carolina law caps non-economic damages for medical malpractice claims against a single provider at $350,000. This cap means that total damages for intangible losses such as pain and suffering may not exceed that amount. However, this cap does not apply to economic damages, such as medical bills or lost wages from being unable to work. Adhering to these technical rules and requirements is essential to filing a proper claim regarding a doctor’s mistake. To effectively bring such a suit, it may be wise to consult a Florence medical malpractice attorney familiar with how these cases typically proceed in South Carolina.
Bringing a Claim Against a Hospital
There are additional hurdles that a plaintiff must overcome in order to bring a claim against a hospital directly. Even if a doctor or other healthcare professional acted negligently, for example, the hospital that employs them would only be liable under certain circumstances.
First, the negligent healthcare professional must be an employee rather than an independent contractor. Generally, hospitals are not liable for the actions of independent contractors because they do not have complete control over how an independent contractor works. However, an employee must follow hospital rules, meaning their negligent actions can result in the hospital taking on liability.
Second, a hospital can only bear liability if the injured person can show that the hospital is vicariously liable. Vicarious liability, also known as respondeat superior, means that the employer is responsible for the actions of an employee — if the employee was acting within the scope of their employment. The process of proving this type of liability exists can be fact-intensive, but an experienced medical malpractice lawyer in Florence could work on a plaintiff’s behalf to answer sufficiently.
Get in Touch with a Florence Medical Malpractice Attorney Today
A mistake made by a medical professional can be a dangerous and potentially life-altering event. However, there may be ways for you to recover financial compensation for the harm done to you by a careless or reckless medical care provider.
However, due to the complexity of filing a civil claim, you may not want to bring one forward on your own, especially as you recover from trauma. A Florence medical malpractice lawyer could go over the specifics of your case and identify the legal challenges that may affect your claim. A dedicated attorney could then shoulder the burdens of filing a claim so that you may focus on your recovery. Call today to schedule an initial consultation and get started on your case.