When you entrust your medical care to a professional, they owe you a duty of care. Like anyone else who breaches the duty of care, your doctor is legally responsible when their actions have injured you.
Medical malpractice victims in Mount Pleasant have a legal right to file a lawsuit against their medical provider if the standard of care has been breached and you have suffered damages. You may be entitled to significant financial compensation when you win your case. While medical malpractice cases can be difficult, the compensation they can provide can help you.
Our malpractice attorney Robert Rikard of Rikard & Protopapas has over 20 years of experience in holding medical providers responsible for their negligence. Call us today to discuss your case.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is often defined as “any act or omission by a physician during treatment of a patient that deviates from accepted norms of practice in the medical community and causes an injury to the patient.” Unfortunately, medical malpractice is a common occurrence in the United States, as the health care system in this country lags behind many other developed countries.
Every doctor has an obligation to act reasonably under the circumstances. However, some doctors make medical mistakes that can leave you with lasting harm. Some mistakes may have even killed a loved one. There are some estimates that 400,000 people in the United States die each year from medical malpractice.
In order for something that your doctor did (or did not do) to rise to the level of medical malpractice, you would need to show how they fell short of what would have been expected of them under the circumstances.
Types of Medical Malpractice Cases We Handle
At Rikard & Protopapas, we hold medical professionals responsible when they have injured a patient through medical malpractice. Here are some of the types of cases that we handle:
- Surgical errors
- Anesthesia errors
- Failure to provide adequate postoperative care, including the failure to prevent an infection
- Failure to diagnose or prevent infections in a hospital or emergency room
- Birth injuries, such as cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy and eclampsia
How Medical Malpractice Happens
Medical malpractice may happen for a number of reasons. Everything depends on the individual physician and the circumstances of their mistake. While medical malpractice is never excusable, some reasons why it may occur include:
- The doctor does not have the training for the type of procedure or care that they are providing
- The hospital has overworked the doctor, and they have more patients than they can handle, or they are at the end of a very long shift
- The doctor was simply careless, not doing what their training and education taught
- The hospital or doctor had a record-keeping error, and the physician was not able to receive crucial information
- The doctor was overconfident when providing care
Regardless of the reason, if you can prove that they breached the duty of care, the doctor and the hospital that employed them will be liable for your injuries.
Examples of Medical Malpractice
Some examples of acts that could be considered medical malpractice:
- A doctor prescribes a medication that is contraindicated to another medication that you are taking; both the doctor and the pharmacist may be legally responsible.
- An obstetrician fails to perform a C-section surgery when the mother is going through a difficult delivery, causing injuries to the mother or child.
- An emergency room physician fails to order a test that would have diagnosed a serious medical condition.
- A surgeon makes an error during a medical procedure that either does permanent damage to your health or causes you to need another surgery that otherwise would not have been necessary.
- The anesthesiologist uses the wrong type or amount of anesthesia for a procedure.
How You Win Your Medical Malpractice Case
Like every other personal injury case we handle in Mount Pleasant, the legal standard in a medical malpractice case is negligence. You must prove that the doctor did not act in a way that a reasonable doctor of ordinary training would have under the circumstances. Note that your doctor does not have to be perfect, and unfavorable medical results may be unavoidable.
It is not always easy to prove negligence in a medical malpractice case. You would need to take a jury back to the operating room or the emergency room to show them that the decisions that the doctor made or did not make were unreasonable.
In large part, your case would rest on the testimony of expert witnesses reviewing your medical records to explain what a reasonable doctor should have done and how this particular medical professional fell short. The average person has a healthy respect for doctors, so your lawyer would need to work to persuade the jury.
The Statute of Limitations in a Medical Malpractice Case
In South Carolina, you have different statute of limitations to file a medical malpractice case. With some defendants you only have two years to file a claim, and other defendants fall under a rule where you have three years to file a lawsuit from the date of the procedure or from the time that you were injured, or should have known you were injured.
The statute of limitations should not be considered how long you would wait to file your case. It takes time to investigate a medical malpractice case. In addition, you lose evidence as time passes.
It is extremely difficult to file a successful medical malpractice case if you wait too long to file. Even if the law says that you still have time, your case can become impractical the longer you wait. You need to call a medical malpractice attorney today to begin the legal process, even if it is difficult.
Contact a Mount Pleasant Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today
Not every attorney has the experience and knowledge to handle a medical malpractice case. At Rikard & Protopapas, we have been representing clients in these cases for two decades. Our team can help you get the compensation you deserve. To speak with one of our attorneys, you can call us today at 803-978-6111 or send us a message through our website.