Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in South Carolina

Laws and procedural rules for medical malpractice claims in South Carolina can make filing a lawsuit an intimidating experience, but not with the right help. Pre-litigation steps, like obtaining an affidavit of an expert witness and submitting a Notice of Intent to File sound painstaking, yet these pale in comparison to the feeling of letting a trusted care provider escape responsibility. 

Being harmed by a treatment or operation performed by a medical professional can cause lasting emotional and physical scars, and coming to terms with the outcomes you’re facing can be difficult, especially when you don’t know where to begin. Every malpractice case is distinct, but filing procedures for these claims in South Carolina all follow the same basic steps.

Seeking Legal Help for Your Malpractice Lawsuit

The last thing you should have to worry about is learning the complexities of South Carolina malpractice laws and procedural rules. The healthcare provider’s insurance company will likely have an entire legal team assembled to try to discredit your claim; finding advocates to support your malpractice case should be your first order of business. These professionals understand the state laws and filing requirements and can draw on years of experience with malpractice cases. And when you have a team to request medical records, vet expert witness testimony, and gather evidence, you can focus on healing. 

Determining Fault for Malpractice According to SC Laws

Because medical malpractice can be caused by insufficient care during any phase of treatment, learning who is at fault can require extensive investigation. When harm is caused by a missed diagnosis or incorrect incision, assigning fault is fairly straightforward. But in many cases, the path to naming a defendant isn’t so direct. 

An adverse drug reaction could be due to the incorrect dosage administered (a nurse’s mistake) or the wrong prescription ordered (a doctor’s error). In some instances, more than one person could be at fault. The hospital or facility can also be held responsible for employing a negligent or underqualified provider. Unraveling the intricacies of liability laws in South Carolina with your legal counsel can help you determine who is responsible for your injury (and what evidence you need to prove it).

Gathering Evidence for a Malpractice Claim

Your legal advisor will likely begin collecting evidence to support your claim right away. Your testimony is an essential piece of proof. Provide as many details of the incident, treatments, medications prescribed, and conversations with doctors as possible. Additional items that can corroborate your malpractice claim include:

  • Medical Records: These documents provide a timeline of your health with diagnoses, treatments, medications, and progress notes leading up to the injury or illness.
  • Hospital Records: If a hospital stay was required, the admission and discharge summaries, lab results, operation reports, and followup care recommended can paint a picture of your condition before and after treatment.
  • Personal Witnesses: Get statements from any friends or family present at the time of the harm to explain the extent of the injury and any wrongdoings they witnessed, and to supply other supportive details.
  • Photos & Videos: Harm that includes decreased motor functions or physical changes can be supported with before-and-after photos and videos.

Procedural Steps for Filing Medical Malpractice Claims

Although some may assume a malpractice lawsuit has two steps—deciding to sue and going to court— that isn’t so. Several events must unfold before a case ends up in front of a judge or jury. Under the South Carolina Code of Laws, anyone wishing to file a medical malpractice claim must satisfy these prerequisites: 

Obtain an Affidavit From an Expert Witness

Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in South Carolina requires an affidavit of an expert witness. The person selected must meet all established guidelines per the state’s malpractice laws and provide testimony in good faith. The witness is tasked with defining what the standard of care should have been and how the faulty party failed to conform to those standards. 

Submit a Notice of Intent to File

The procedural rules for medical malpractice claims in South Carolina require a Notice of Intent to File to be submitted before the lawsuit may commence. Notices of Intent include information that legitimizes cases of merit and prevents frivolous claims from moving forward. South Carolina’s Notice of Intent to File must be accompanied by the expert witness affidavit and additional case details. 

Attend Pre-Litigation Mediation 

Pre-litigation mediation is one of the final procedural rules for malpractice claims in South Carolina before the case heads to trial. This conference allows both sides to present their cases to a neutral third party to try to resolve the dispute. 

File a Summons and Complaint

Finally, if the malpractice case cannot be satisfactorily resolved during pre-litigation mediation the next step is filing a summons and complaint. This initiates a civil action, which is a medical malpractice lawsuit. The case may be heard by a judge or a jury in South Carolina Courts.

Though the process of filing a medical malpractice case in South Carolina may sound complicated, an experienced medical malpractice legal team can handle most of the details. Holding medical providers responsible for negligence or errors is key to raising awareness of shortcomings in patient care and getting the retribution you deserve.