When people in Columbia go to the doctor or hospital, they expect the medical diagnosis and treatment they receive will be appropriate for their medical condition and will help them get better. Unfortunately, some patients instead suffer harm due to substandard medical care.
If you have been seriously injured or have lost a family member in an untimely death and you believe substandard medical care was to blame, you should have an experienced Columbia medical malpractice attorney review the facts and discuss your legal options. If the actions of a doctor or health-care facility caused preventable harm, you will need a knowledgeable Columbia medical negligence lawyer to help you hold the health-care provider accountable.
For 50 years, our experienced personal injury attorneys at Joye Law Firm have helped South Carolinians who have been harmed by negligent actions including medical malpractice. Our clients are good people facing difficult situations as result of others’ carelessness or disregard for safety. Joye Law Firm has a statewide presence with offices in Columbia, North Charleston, Clinton and Myrtle Beach. Our attorneys have the knowledge and resources you need on your side when filing a medical malpractice claim is necessary.
Schedule a free consultation with a Columbia, SC medical malpractice law firm by calling (803) 771-3100 or by contacting us online.
Medical Malpractice in Columbia
Patients may have a medical malpractice claim if they suffered serious harm or if a serious condition worsens because of a health-care provider’s failure to provide a specific standard of care. Medical malpractice claims often arise from:
- Delayed diagnosis. A doctor’s initial diagnosis may be incorrect because he or she failed to order standard diagnostic tests or misread the results, allowing a disease such as cancer time to spread undetected. Although doctors may later correct their initial diagnosis, it may be too late to manage a fatal disease.
- Misdiagnosis. A more common occurrence in medical malpractice cases, doctors may fail to diagnose their patient correctly. There may be a basis for a medical malpractice lawsuit based on misdiagnosis if it can be shown that the medical professional deviated from the standard of care that other professionals would have provided under similar circumstances.
- Birth injury. From obstetricians failing to provide adequate prenatal care, to failure to anticipate complications of a high-risk pregnancy to preventable injuries caused during delivery, birthing injuries can cause the mother or baby serious harm.
- Surgical errors. While not all surgery-related errors qualify as negligence, those where too much or too little anesthesia was administered, the wrong part of the body was operated on, or surgical tools were left inside the person may support a medical negligence claim.
Our medical negligence attorneys at Joye Law Firm have helped patients and their families with malpractice claims in Columbia and across South Carolina. Because the circumstances surrounding each case are different, we encourage you to take advantage of a free, no-obligation consultation to review the specifics of your situation with us right away.
The consultation is free and there is no obligation to hire us.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice happens when medical professionals and medical facilities deviate from the established treatment standards established and, as a result, cause serious or fatal preventable harm to a patient.
Medical professionals who may be liable for medical negligence include doctors, physicians’ assistants, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, chiropractors, dentists, surgeons, pharmacists, hospitals, and others. An injured patient may hold responsible the health-care provider as well as the hospital or other medical facility that employed the at-fault provider.
Not every medical error constitutes medical negligence. To prove medical malpractice, the attorney for the injured patient will need to show through medical expert testimony that the doctor deviated from the standard of care and failed to do what a reasonably prudent doctor would do in a similar situation.
How Do I Know If I Have a Medical Malpractice Claim?
Being injured or having an illness worsen isn’t reason enough to file a malpractice claim against your doctor. There are certain inherent risks involved in many treatments such as surgery, for example. Recovery from illness is not always guaranteed.
As long as medical professionals attempt to provide the highest standard of care for you, they cannot be held liable simply because the outcome was not what you desired.
To clarify, your injuries could qualify for compensation if:
- Your attorney can prove the hospital or medical professional had a responsibility to care for you;
- The health-care provider or facility breached their duty to provide the standard of care that a reasonable health-care professional would have followed in similar circumstances;
- An injury arose from that breach of duty, which led to either further complications or death; and
- That injury caused economic and noneconomic losses for which the facility or professional should compensate the patient.
If our Columbia medical negligence attorneys believe that you have a valid malpractice case, we will work with independent medical professionals to analyze your medical records and determine what happened. A medical professional must attest to at least one act of medical negligence in order to proceed with filing a malpractice claim.
We would prepare a demand letter and submit it to the health-care professional and their malpractice insurance carrier and seek to negotiate a settlement that reflects the seriousness of your injuries.
Damages Available in Medical Malpractice Cases in Columbia
In medical malpractice cases, the patient may be eligible to seek compensation including:
- Economic losses. These are calculable losses that were induced by the negligent party’s medical malpractice. They could include bills for follow-up medical procedures necessary to correct the injury caused by a medical error, wages that the patient lost and may lose in the future due to the medical errors, and expenses related to transporting the patient to another facility. In South Carolina, there is no cap on economic damages.
- Noneconomic losses. Pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and emotional distress qualify as noneconomic losses. Under South Carolina law, noneconomic damages are capped at $350,000 unless there is more than one facility involved; if so, the cap is raised to $1.05 million.
- Punitive damages. In special cases where negligence was so extreme that it seemed intentional, punitive damages may be permitted.
Joye Law Firm has recovered millions of dollars in personal injury cases and will do what it takes to earn your trust.
Frequently Asked Questions About Medical Malpractice
We understand that you likely have questions about your legal options if you have been the victim of medical malpractice. The following are some common questions and answers to help you better understand the basics of medical malpractice in Columbia.
Columbia Medical Malpractice Attorney
Do I need an expert witness to back my claim?
South Carolina law states that before an actual lawsuit is filed, a Notice of Intent to File Suit and expert affidavit must be submitted to court beforehand. In that affidavit, a professional must attest to at least one (1) act of medical negligence as described in South Carolina Code of Laws section 15-36-100. If the case is taken to trial, that expert will often be called to validate their affidavit and the information they included.
I don’t like the outcome of a surgical procedure. Is that malpractice?
Laws are very specific in what is considered malpractice. For example, dislike of how the surgeon stitched up an entry point does not rise to the level of medical malpractice. However, if the surgeon accidentally left surgical tools inside your body when he or she stitched you up and you developed complications as a result, then you may have a medical malpractice claim.
I heard there is a mediation process. Is this true?
Roughly 90-120 days after filing the pre-lawsuit paperwork in court, both the health-care provider and the injured patient and their legal representatives must attempt to resolve the issue in mediation before filing the lawsuit. While some cases are settled in this conference, others may go to trial.
How long do I have to file my claim?
South Carolina imposes a three (3)-year statute of limitations on filing medical malpractice claims. In certain situations, however, that time limit can be increased provided an attorney shows just cause in requesting an extension.
Contact a Columbia Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today
Patients who trust their lives to doctors, surgeons, pharmacists, and medical facilities have the right to expect quality care. When health-care providers deliver substandard care and cause harm, they may be held accountable. Medical negligence can cause long-term or permanent harm, or even death.
You can trust our experienced Columbia malpractice attorneys to build the strongest medical negligence case possible on your behalf. Joye Law Firm has built a reputation for its excellence in representing injured people in South Carolina.
To discuss your medical malpractice claim in Columbia, contact Joye Law Firm today to schedule a free, confidential case evaluation with an experienced attorney. If we take your case, we won’t charge you anything unless we secure a settlement or jury award for you. We’re here to help make things right, so contact us for help today.