There are professions in which the smallest mistakes can have life-changing consequences. A slip of the wrist by a surgeon, a doctor’s error in reading test results, or hospital staff that fail to examine the patient’s allergy chart can have serious and even fatal consequences. Many of these errors will lead to wrongful death.
If you or those in your family have suffered because a medical professional has deviated from what can be considered “acceptable medical care” you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. But proving that medical malpractice is the underlying cause of injuries or death will require a skilled Greenville medical malpractice lawyer.
Call the law offices of Hernandez & Cabra in Greenville, South Carolina. Our reputable personal injury lawyers have extensive experience in handling medical malpractice cases and can provide you with guidance in how to make the best of your situation.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Legitimate medical malpractice cases result from the health provider’s actions and/or inactions that do not measure up to what is considered “appropriate” standards of treatment considering the circumstances. Most often this includes negligent treatment, but in some cases, the accident that leads to damages was caused by recklessness on the part of the doctor or health care provider.
Medical malpractice is the term given to occurrences when a doctor or health care provider provides substandard care. In other words, the care provider is not up to the standards that a skilled, prudent, and educated provider is expected to provide in a situation dealing with the same conditions.
This can happen when conditions are not properly diagnosed, patients are not made fully aware of the risks involved with certain treatments or unacceptable errors are made during medical and/or surgical procedures.
How Do You Know if You Have a Medical Malpractice Claim?
To prove that you or your family member was the victim of medical malpractice, your lawyer will have to establish that these elements existed in the case:
Doctor-Patient Relationship: Duty of Care
First, a “doctor-patient” relationship must have been established between the patient and the doctor providing treatment. The duty of care is established when the doctor agrees to provide treatment to the patient and informs the patient of all the risks involved in the treatment they intend to provide.
Negligence: Action or Inaction Breaches Duty of Care
The medical decisions and treatment, or lack thereof, fell below the standards of what can be considered “acceptable” when providing care for the conditions in question. In other words, treatment was not up to standard with treatment that any other responsible medical professional would provide in similar circumstances.
Causation means that the Medical practitioner’s action/ inaction directly caused harm. There must be a definite link between the actions or inactions of the medical professional and the damages received by the patient.
Finally, the patient themselves must have suffered “quantifiable” damages from the actions/inactions of the medical care professional.
Who Can Be Held Liable in a Medical Malpractice Case?
Doctors will act as the primary healthcare provider to their patients and, as such, primarily responsible for the treatments provided. But even the most qualified doctors rarely work alone. Here are some of the other individuals and entities that can be liable in a medical malpractice case:
Doctors often work as independent contractors in the hospital scene and are not part of the hospital staff. It will be essential to determine if the malpractice was the fault of the doctor or the staff of the hospital in which they practice.
Whether public or private, hospitals are responsible for the negligence of their staff, including nurses and assistants of all types. In some cases, hospitals can even be held responsible for the actions of non-employees, if these non-employees were given certain privileges by the hospital.
Errors on the part of pharmaceutical companies can also result in damages to the patient. If these companies failed to warn medical professionals and the general public of the risks involved with their products, they may be held liable for any damages that occur as a result.
Other Healthcare Professionals
Nurses, nurse practitioners, and physicians’ assistants can also be liable in a medical malpractice case, but often the case will be made against the hospital. Nurses are not required to carry liability insurance.
What Damages Can I Get From a South Carolina Medical Malpractice Claim?
Studies have shown that victims in medical malpractice cases can recover up to 17 times the damages in malpractice cases compared to regular personal injury cases.
Like most other types of personal injury cases, damages collected in a medical malpractice case can be divided into three categories. Here are the three types of damages calculated in a medical malpractice case in South Carolina:
Some damages can be easily calculated by examining medical costs, bills, and other financial records. Economic damages are those that have a fixed financial figure like the costs of treatment, medication, medical procedures, and other costs related to making a full recovery. For example, the construction of a wheelchair ramp at home, if needed. Economic damages cover expenses accrued in the past, present, or future.
Some of the damages suffered will be harder to convert to a financial figure. For example, it is difficult to place a price on pain and suffering or loss of consortium. Your medical malpractice lawyers will call in professionals to provide an accurate figure for your damages.
Punitive damages are applied to the defendant by the courts to punish specific actions that are considered especially dangerous, life-threatening, or reckless. If the liable parties have committed especially egregious negligence, punitive damages may be applied to punish these intolerable actions.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Claims in South Carolina?
Different states will have their own specific time limits for filing malpractice lawsuits against health providers, health care institutions of other entities involved in medical malpractice. This time limit is called the “statute of limitations” and must be carefully observed. If a claim were to be filed after the statute of limitations has expired, the claimant may lose their right to demand compensation.
As a general rule, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice in the State of South Carolina is three years from the date treatment was received that resulted in injury. The date may also start running from the time that the injury caused by medical malpractice was discovered.
How Can a Greenville Lawyer Help with Your Medical Malpractice Claim?
Personal injury law is notoriously complex and intricate and it takes an experienced personal injury lawyer with extensive experience in medical malpractice cases to represent your case properly. Here are some of the most important tasks your medical malpractice lawyer can help you with.
Finding the liable parties in your medical malpractice case is no small task. But we will place all the resources we have at our disposal to conduct a thorough investigation. This may include calling in expert testimony to determine who is at fault.
There are many details that will have to be properly documented to prepare a strong case. Additionally, there will be many other time constraints and other legalities that must be given meticulous attention. Our highly-experienced team of medical malpractice lawyers have done this before and won millions of dollars in similar lawsuits — will apply our talents and experience in doing the same for you.
Most often these cases will be solved through negotiations where we will attempt to reach a suitable settlement with the insurance adjusters of the opposition. These insurance adjusters will stop at nothing to protect their interests — but we will defend your right to fair compensation tenaciously.
Representation in Court
If the negotiations fail, it will be necessary to take the case to court. It takes a skilled courtroom attorney with an understanding of courtroom dynamics to turn the favor of the court in your direction and obtain the compensation you deserve.
How Much Will it Cost to Hire a Medical Malpractice Lawyer?
At Hernandez & Cabra, we offer our experience, skills, and the full resources of our reputable fee on a “contingency fee” agreement. This means that we will not charge you anything upfront for our services. As a matter of fact, we will charge you nothing at all unless we win you your case and obtain the compensation you deserve.
We will also throw the entire resources of our firm behind your case and shoulder the considerable risks involved to ensure you are given the best chances of a positive outcome. After we win the case and obtain your compensation, we will take our fee for services rendered as a percentage of the settlement or compensation granted by the courts.
Call Our Greenville Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Hernandez & Cabra
When patients are harmed by the very individuals and institutions created to protect and restore health, our team at Hernandez & Cabra are here to defend the rights of the injured parties. If you or someone in your family has suffered from the treatment they received in a hospital or from medical professionals, call us right away at 864-501-4384. We will arrange a free consultation with our experienced medical malpractice lawyers and provide you with professional advice on what to do next.