Medical malpractice is far more complex than most people realize. In South Carolina, when a doctor or hospital makes an error in providing treatment, the victim has a right to bring a lawsuit to recover compensation. However, there are a host of laws designed to make sure these actions are not frivolous. In fact, despite what many people think, it’s actually quite difficult to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. One of the more confusing aspects of bringing a claim is the issue of how long you have to do so.
At the David Aylor Law Offices, we offer aggressive and skilled representation to victims of medical negligence throughout the Lowcountry. Here is what you should know about waiting to file a lawsuit for medical malpractice.
Statute of Limitations vs. Statute of Repose
South Carolina law gives two distinct limitations for bringing a lawsuit. The first is known as the statute of limitations. In South Carolina, you have just three years to bring a lawsuit. This begins counting from the date on which negligent care was rendered or from the date that you reasonably should have discovered the injury. If your doctor misses a diagnosis and you first discover it when a subsequent specialist points it out to you, this will generally be the date on which the three-year period begins to run. However, if you had some good reason to know there was a problem, a judge could set your statute of limitations earlier. Hence the reason you should always contact an attorney as soon as you even suspect a problem.
Second, there is a statute of repose. This law says that no matter what, you cannot bring an action more than six years after the negligent care. Just about the only way a court will extend the statute of repose is when a doctor or health care provider intentionally hides or conceals the negligence.
Other Requirements for Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in South Carolina
In addition to bringing the action within the proper time frame, there are three other requirements you should understand.
#1 Notice of Intent to File
Unlike many other states, in South Carolina, a plaintiff cannot just sue a healthcare professional. Instead, the plaintiff must file with the court a “Notice of Intent to File Suit.” This notifies all potential defendants of the grounds for the suit and the parties who may be named.
#2 Expert Affidavit
Along with the Notice, a plaintiff must include a signed affidavit from a medical expert who states that there is merit to filing a lawsuit and the grounds for filing the suit.
#3 Alternative Dispute Resolution
Finally, once notice is filed, the parties will be given time to perform mandatory arbitration and/or mediation. This process does not have to be binding, but the general rule is that the parties must engage in alternative dispute resolution out of court in an effort to resolve the matter without litigation. Only is unsuccessful can a plaintiff then file suit.
Get Help With Your Medical Malpractice Claim Today
If you are dealing with the effects of a medical error, don’t try to handle it yourself. Call an experienced litigation attorney who can help you navigate the complex system of medical malpractice in South Carolina. Call or visit David Aylor Law Offices today.