Medical malpractice errors in South Carolina can be very serious and sometimes even fatal. Recovering from the after-effects of such unfortunate incidents needs a lot of courage and patience from the side of the patient and the patient’s family. Any injury due to medical negligence immediately poses this question: “What next?” To help you understand the criticality of the situation, this article provides a brief overview of medical malpractice laws in South Carolina.
Questions That Arise in Medical Malpractice Cases
The lawyer must do an investigation by consulting with medical experts, collecting medical records, and answering the following questions:
- Was I a victim of medical malpractice?
- Is there a case?
- How long will the case last?
- Is the malpractice case costly?
- How do I confirm if my doctor committed medical malpractice against me?
- Should I pay the lawyer’s fees in advance?
- Will my case get settled, or should I go to court?
- Does the case require me to pay from my pocket?
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice or medical negligence happens when a doctor, nurse, or medical professional fails to provide proper medical care, resulting in an injury. There is something called the standard of care, a rule that a medical professional must abide by in any medical situation. Violating this rule leads to medical malpractice.
Some of the injuries that are caused due to medical malpractice are:
- Surgery on the wrong site
- Surgical error
- A birth injury like hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy
- Failure to treat a condition
- Unnecessary surgery
- Injury during surgery
- Injury to the intestine or bowel during surgery
- Failure to diagnose an illness
- Failure to detect a blood clot in the lung or elsewhere
- Wrong diagnosis of an illness
- Pulmonary embolism
- Failure to treat or prevent a stroke
- Failure to treat compartment syndrome
- Leaving behind a surgical instrument or sponge inside the patient’s body
- Wrong dosage or medication
- Failure to recognize a condition or illness
- Failure to diagnose or recognize appendicitis
Meeting a Medical Malpractice Lawyer
The lawyer you consult with will require a set of medical records from the doctor’s office to understand your case better. The hospital will provide you with records like lab test results, operative reports, consultation notes, emergency room records, admission records, and diagnostic tests like MRI, CT scans, or X-ray reports.
The attorney will tell you whether you have a case or further investigation is needed. You can discuss with him to decide the further course of action. He will ask the following questions before taking the case:
- What injuries did you have, and what is the nature, extent, and duration of the injuries? Are the injuries temporary or permanent? Are the injuries minimal or severe?
- How difficult will it be to prove your case? The attorney will help answer this question.
- Will the cost of the case be more than any potential recovery? The attorney will help you with this question too.
Expenses of the Case
The medical malpractice case in South Carolina is usually taken on a contingency fee. This means that a percentage of the total recovery is paid to the attorney, ranging from 33.3% to 50%. If there is no recovery, no payment needs to be made. The case involves great expenses that include deposition costs, medical records, and travel costs, to name a few. Some lawyers ask for payment in advance, either in part or whole.
Medical malpractice cases demand the presence of expert witnesses to testify. The person who initiates the case has to file an affidavit from an expert with evidence of medical malpractice by a medical professional. A testimony from an expert witness is then necessary to state that the medical professional violated the standard of care. It is also mandatory to have a medical expert witness confirm whether the injuries caused were due to medical malpractice. You may have to pay a significant amount to the expert witnesses, but it is worth paying.
Will the Case Go to Trial?
Whether the case settles or goes to trial depends on the nature of the case. Cases in South Carolina may take about 10 to 18 months to get settled. And the recovery amount is decided according to the evidence presented in the case. Whatever your medical malpractice case, it is recommended to have an attorney by your side who can give expert advice at every point.
If you are looking for an attorney who can help you understand medical malpractice laws in South Carolina, we are here to help you. Contact us to learn more and to get professional assistance on your case.