How Long Do You Have to Sue for Medical Malpractice?

Apr 1, 2020

Photo of Suing for Medical Malpractice

Medical errors claim the lives of more than 250,000 patients every single year. In fact, it is the third-leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer. Sadly, negligent doctors and healthcare professionals caused many of these errors. When a serious medical injury results in harm, patients are often left wondering what they can do. Fortunately, South Carolina law allows patients to sue for medical malpractice. However, medical malpractice lawsuits are complex and notoriously difficult to win. As such, it is important that injured patients ensure that they are meeting the appropriate filing deadlines. If you fail to meet these deadlines, then you may not be able to sue for medical malpractice in South Carolina. Thus, you should obtain the services of an experienced medical malpractice lawyer from the start.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in South Carolina?

Every state treats medical malpractice claims differently. In South Carolina, injured patients only have a specific amount of time to sue for medical malpractice. This is known as a statute of limitations. South Carolina Code of Laws section 15-3-545 says that this kind of case must be filed “within three years from the date of the treatment, omission, or operation giving rise to the cause of action or three years from date of discovery or when it reasonably ought to have been discovered, not to exceed six years from date of occurrence.” If you miss this deadline, then you most likely cannot file a lawsuit to collect damages.

Unfortunately, injured patients spend a large amount of this time trying to recover. They may struggle with rehabilitation and life after their injury. For this reason, it is important to contact an experienced Rock Hill medical malpractice attorney. Your attorney can ensure that you do not miss any critical deadlines. He or she can also investigate your incident and gather the evidence needed to win your case during this time.

Proving Medical Malpractice in South Carolina

In the state of South Carolina, injured patients can sue for medical malpractice. Yet, in order to have the best chance of success, your attorney must clearly establish the following:

  • The healthcare professional owed you a duty of care
  • He or she breached this duty of care and was negligent
  • The healthcare professional’s negligence caused the injury
  • The injury you suffered led to specific damages, such as pain, suffering and medical bills

Yet, just because you may be unhappy with the care you received or the outcome of your surgery, does not mean medical malpractice occurred. Even adverse events and complications are not always the result of medical malpractice. In order to win your case, your attorney must show that the doctor acted negligently. There must be a clear deviation from the acceptable standard of care. This is best shown by having a medical expert testify on your behalf.

Seeking Damages After a Medical Error

Finally, if you can prove that the medical professional acted negligently, then you have the option of recovering damages. However, there are medical malpractice claim caps in South Carolina. For example, South Carolina law caps noneconomic damages at $350,000 when the claim is against a single health care provider. When you file a lawsuit against multiple health care providers, you can seek up to $1.05 million in noneconomic damages.

Your attorney can help you sue for both economic and noneconomic damages.

Economic Damages

  • Medical bills
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Future medical treatment
  • Long-term care

Noneconomic Damages

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of quality of life

Contact Our Rock Hill Medical Malpractice Lawyers

Did you suffer a medical injury? Do you believe that your doctor was to blame for the injury and your suffering? At the Law Offices of F. Craig Wilkerson, Jr., our Rock hill medical malpractice lawyers know that a medical injury can cause significant harm to patients and their loved ones. We believe in helping injured patients put their lives back together. We also know how to hold negligent doctors and medical professionals accountable. Call us today at (803) 324-7200 or fill out our confidential contact form for more information.