If you or a loved one have sustained significant injury due to negligent medical care, you may have a case for a medical malpractice claim. In the state of SC, there are a variety of injuries that could be considered malpractice. If your experience meets the criteria, you may be eligible to sue the parties responsible for damages. A medical malpractice attorney can help you receive the compensation you deserve.
Examples of Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice is the improper, illegal, or negligent act by a medical provider that results in injury to the patient. When seeking treatment for illness or disease, medical experts are expected to provide reasonable care. Doctors or medical care providers who fail to adhere to their standards of care can be held accountable by the law. Common examples of medical negligence include:
- Failure to diagnose a medical issue or identify symptoms
- Absence of informed consent
- Unnecessary surgery
- Wrong-site surgery (WSS)
- Surgical errors
- Anesthesia errors
- Improper sanitation and hygiene
- Medication errors - including incorrect medication or incorrect dosage
- Misinterpretation, incorrect completion, or disregard of laboratory results
- Misinterpretation, incorrect completion, or disregard of patient medical history
- Failure to order adequate testing
- Premature discharge
- Negligent after-care treatments or poor communication during recovery
Each of these medical errors could be considered malpractice if it led to suffering or significant injury in the patient. Besides permanent injuries, a medical negligence experience could lead to financial losses, extreme medical costs, mental anguish, and decreased quality of life.
How to Know if You Have a Medical Malpractice Claim
To be considered medical malpractice, an incident must meet a few select criteria. The claim must prove a violation of the standard of care, the injury was caused by negligence, and the injury resulted in significant damages.
Standard of care is a legal term used to describe the level at which the average, prudent health care provider within the field would practice. In plain terms, the standard of care is the average, acceptable level of care one should expect for their condition. If a healthcare provider fails to meet the acceptable standard of medical care, they have violated their patient's rights and may be guilty of negligence and therefore liable for damages.
This leads to the second factor to make a medical malpractice claim, the injury must be caused by negligence. Unfortunately, unlucky or unwanted complications are not enough to prove malpractice. Similarly, negligence alone is not enough to prove malpractice. In order to have a valid case, negligent practices must be responsible for the injury.
Lastly, a valid medical malpractice claim must also prove that the outcome resulted in severe damages. Severe damages include disability, hefty medical bills, loss of income, undue hardships, abnormal pain, and wrongful death. The patient must demonstrate that the lasting effects of the injury caused by negligence created unfavorable, life-altering circumstances.
Related Content: Statute of Limitations in South Carolina
Who Can Be Held Liable For Medical Negligence?
In some instances, one individual may be obviously responsible for substandard care. For example, if a doctor mistakingly or maliciously administered the wrong medication after being instructed to administer the correct one. Or if a surgeon operated under the influence of substances without the knowledge of anyone else.
However, considering most medical visits involve multiple medical professionals, there may be many people that could be held liable in the instance of malpractice. Beyond nurses and surgeons, radiologists, attending physicians, anesthesiologists, neurologists, pathologists, psychologists, and paramedics may be liable for medical negligence. Malpractice is also not limited to hospitals, dentists, gynecologists, general physicians, chiropractors, pharmacists, and other specialists who may also be responsible.
Other than the individual health care professionals, the facilities and medical groups may also be liable. A facility that knowingly employs a medical professional with a poor record or without doing proper background checks is absolutely culpable in a malpractice claim. Or hospitals that overwork their employees leading to mistakes.
A variety of parties may be liable in a malpractice suit. Speaking with a personal injury lawyer will help determine who is at fault and who can be held responsible for your unfortunate circumstance.
Damages You Can Get From a Medical Malpractice Claim
In the state of SC, a victim of medical negligence is entitled to compensation for economic damages, non-economic damages, and, in rare cases, punitive damages.
Economic damages cover financial damages from past and future medical bills, past and future loss of income lost earning capacity, and in the event of wrongful death, funeral expenses. This gives the person the right to recover any quantifiable financial losses caused by the injury sustained.
Non-economic damages refer to the familiar term "pain and suffering." This entitles a person to receive compensation for emotional distress, loss of quality of life, and loss of consortium (compensation for the spouse). In South Carolina, non-economic damages are capped at $350,000 in cases against a single health care provider. For cases involving multiple health care providers, the cap is $1,050,000.
Finally, an individual may be awarded punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish the responsible party and deter future mistakes. Punitive damages are rarely awarded in SC medical negligence cases but are capped at $500,000 or three times the amount of economic and non-economic damages combined.
How a Medical Malpractice Attorney Can Help You?
An aggressive and experienced personal injury attorney is essential to any malpractice claim. They will help you identify every party responsible, build a strong defense, and fight for the compensation you deserve. The worlds of medicine and law can be extraordinarily confusing to navigate, especially if you are dealing with new emotional and physical suffering. A medical malpractice lawyer will fight to hold every individual accountable. If you believe you or a loved one are the victims of medical malpractice, contact a lawyer today. At W. Trey Merck Attorney at Law, we pride ourselves on aggressive representation. Contact our law firm today to begin your free consultation for your personal injury claim.