If you’ve been injured by a doctor or other healthcare provider you may find yourself dealing with serious financial trouble in addition to recovering from your physical injuries. Serious medical malpractice can lead to expensive medical bills, doctor’s visits, rehabilitation and time off work. The costs can pile up quickly, making it crucial that those responsible for your injuries are held financially accountable for their actions.
To help on your road to recovery, a medical malpractice claim is designed to ensure that injured victims are compensated financially for the damages they’ve suffered. Though you wouldn’t expect there to be a limit on the amount an injured person could recover, because the injury itself should dictate the extent of damages, South Carolina lawmakers had other things in mind when designing the state’s med mal laws. The state, like many others, has a cap on certain damages written into the law. To find out more about how this works, keep reading.
Two types of damage
In a South Carolina medical malpractice case the damages awarded are divided into two broad categories: economic and non-economic. Economic damages include things like medical bills, funeral expenses and lost wages. Non-economic damages are different and include things such as pain and suffering, loss of consortium, loss of companionship, grief and emotional anguish.
What is the difference?
While economic damages are often easy to determine and can be clearly proved through bills or paystubs, non-economic losses are much more difficult to pin down and are often open to interpretation. Non-economic damage includes things like pain and suffering, emotional distress and loss of companionship. These non-economic losses tend to be for intangible injuries and usually have no clear value. As a result, it is left up to juries to decide how much to value such claims.
Is there a limit in South Carolina?
The answer is sadly, yes. Like a large number of states, lawmakers passed laws to protect insurance companies and doctors from having to pay potentially enormous med mal damage awards. Rather than defending victims in these cases, the laws are aimed at protecting those who cause harm, ensuring that there’s a ceiling on the amount of money a negligent or reckless doctor could be forced to pay.
Under South Carolina law (Section 13-32-220), noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases are capped at $350,000 when the claim is against a single health care provider. The cap on noneconomic damages is raised to $1.05 million when the award is against multiple health care providers. Thankfully, no such cap exists for economic damages, meaning the full amount awarded for lost pay or healthcare expenses can be recovered.
David Aylor has assisted injured individuals across South Carolina and helped secure damages for the harms they’ve suffered. David Aylor understands that medical malpractice can devastate a patient and his or her family, leaving everyone worried about how the injured individual will get back on his or her feet, both physically and financially. If you’ve been injured by a doctor, nurse, paramedic or medical technician and believe you have suffered from South Carolina medical malpractice, feel free to contact David Aylor today at (843) 310-4900.