What Is Medical Negligence?
Proving medical negligence is the most important part of a birth injury malpractice lawsuit. Any time a doctor, nurse, or other heathcare provider causes an injury by failing to follow the accepted medical standard care of their practice field, he or she may be considered negligent. Basically, if another responsible doctor could have prevented a birth injury by handling your situation differently, your doctor would be considered negligent.
Common examples of medical negligence leading to a birth injury include:
- Failure to properly monitor the pregnancy – Healthcare providers have a responsibility to properly monitor pregnancies and identify and treat any potential complications. Sometimes, doctors may fail to identify health conditions in the mother (like high blood pressure or an infection) or the developing child (such as oxygen deprivation or low body temperature), which can lead to serious birth injuries.
- C-section malpractice – In some deliveries, a c-section is medically necessary to prevent birth complications. This is especially common for larger infants. If a doctor opts for a traditional birth instead of a c-section or begins a c-section too late, it could result in serious birth injuries.
- Errors during difficult deliveries – Sometimes, infants can become stuck in during delivery. Shoulder dystocia is a common birth complication that occurs when the infant’s shoulder becomes stuck after the head has been delivered. Doctors sometimes cause birth injuries during difficult deliveries through mistakes involving vacuum extractors, forceps, or excessive manual force.
- Medication errors – Doctors occasionally make mistakes involving medication, such as prescribing a medication for the mother which has harmful side effects for the pregnancy.
In most cases, the cause of a birth injury may not be immediately clear to a layperson. It’s usually necessary to have the circumstances of your child’s birth injury reviewed by a qualified medical expert in the same field as your healthcare provider in order to determine if medical negligence is to blame for the injury.
Common Birth Injuries Caused By Negligence
Medical negligence during any stage of pregnancy has the potential to lead to a serious birth injury. Some of these injuries involve permanent physical and cognitive disabilities.
Some of the more severe and common birth injuries in birth injury malpractice claims include:
These debilitating conditions often require decades of care and treatment. Some victims of birth injuries never fully recover and require extensive care for the rest of their lives. The expenses for this treatment often exceed the budgets of most middle-class families. This makes it extremely important to consider taking legal action if you believe your child’s injury was caused by negligent medical care.
Medical Malpractice Laws In South Carolina
Like every other state, South Carolina has their own laws and legal statutes that govern medical malpractice lawsuits. It can be good to have a basic knowledge of these laws, but you’ll need to discuss your family’s situation with an experienced South Carolina birth injury malpractice lawyer in order to understand how they may apply to your case.
Time Limits For Filing Malpractice Lawsuits
Each state has their own time limit for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. This law is known as the statute of limitations. Determining when this time limit begins and ends can often be difficult – it’s especially complicated for birth injury claims. Since you will lose your right to file a lawsuit if you fail to meet the statute of limitations, it’s best to take legal action as soon as possible following a preventable birth injury.
Is There A Cap On Damages In South Carolina?
South Carolina is one of a handful of states that do not set a maximum cap on medical malpractice damages. The amount of your award will be determined by a jury, who will take all relevant damages into consideration, or negotiated during settlement talks. You can receive compensation for economic damages (like medical expenses, lost wages, equipment, etc.) and noneconomic damages (pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, etc.).
Notice Of Intent To File Suit & Expert Witness Affidavit
Before filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in South Carolina, you must file a Notice of Intent to File Suit and a signed affidavit from an expert witness. The affidavit must contain a written statement from the witness which states that the medical evidence of the case suggests that your child’s birth injury was the result of medical negligence.
Filing A Birth Injury Malpractice Lawsuit
If you believe your child’s injury could have been avoided by more careful medical care, you should consider speaking with an experienced South Carolina birth injury lawyer as soon as possible. This is often the only way families in your situation can acquire the financial support they’ll need to provide a comfortable life for their children. These lawsuits also help hold negligent medical professionals liable for their carelessness.
Our dedicated South Carolina birth injury malpractice lawyers know how to build a strong case, how to present evidence effectively in court, and how to make sure families affected by preventable birth injuries get the full financial support they need and deserve. To find out more about how you can plan for your child’s future, contact us today for a free consultation.