If your healthcare professional’s negligent actions caused your injury, illness, or the death of a loved one, the South Carolina personal injury attorneys at Evans Moore, LLC may be able to help you with your case.
When you need to be admitted to a hospital, you assume you’re in excellent hands. The thought that a doctor, nurse, or another staff member could make an error that causes a serious injury may never cross your mind. Unfortunately, however, hospital negligence is far from uncommon. According to one study by John Hopkins Medicine, medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in the U.S.
Medical malpractice is a broad term that includes hospital negligence. It refers to a healthcare institution or provider doing or not doing what a reasonably prudent institution or provider would under similar circumstances. Whether they diagnosed the wrong disease or failed to sanitize medical instruments before a procedure, they could be held liable for your resulting losses.
At Evans Moore, LLC, we understand the trauma that a hospital negligence injury can cause. It is your right to fight for justice, so the negligent party is held liable for the consequences of their actions. Call us at (843) 995-5000 today for a free consultation with one of our South Carolina hospital negligence lawyers.
Common Types of Hospital Negligence
When you’re in a hospital, you typically have more than one person tending to your medical needs. They must all follow proper protocols to ensure you receive the standard of care all patients deserve. Any mistake, lapse in judgment, or violation of state laws could cause an injury or lead to an incurable medical condition.
The most common forms of hospital negligence include:
- Inadequate staffing
- Insufficient supervision
- Failure to perform the correct procedure
- Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
- Administering the wrong drug or dosage
- Failure to monitor vital signs
- Using defective or malfunctioning equipment
- Reading a medical chart incorrectly
- Lack of pre or post-care
- Inadequate sterilization of tools, devices, and equipment
- Anesthesia errors
- Failure to inform the patient of side effects or risks
This is not a comprehensive list of all types of negligence that could occur at a hospital. You should speak with one of our South Carolina hospital negligence lawyers to determine if you are entitled to financial compensation.
Common Causes of Hospital Negligence
When you’re admitted into a hospital to treat accident injuries, to treat an illness, or to undergo a surgical procedure, you typically see more than one provider throughout your stay. Doctors, nurses, surgeons, assistants, radiologists, and other members of your healthcare team must work together to ensure your health and safety. If one person makes a mistake that other team members are not aware of, it could create a dangerous situation that puts you in harm’s way.
According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, there are eight leading causes of hospital negligence:
Inadequate information – The proper flow of information is crucial when it comes to patient care. Necessary information must follow a patient from one doctor to the next and upon discharge or transfer to another facility. When that doesn’t happen, the following problems can arise:
- Lack of communication about test results
- Inadequate coordination of medication orders
- Lack of specific details necessary to make medical decisions
Poor communication – The most common cause of medical malpractice is a breakdown in communication between hospital staff. Whether written or verbal, doctors, nurses, and other healthcare team members must communicate regularly and accurately with their patients and each other.
Human error – Medical providers are human and can make mistakes. Lack of medical knowledge, failure to follow procedures, and incorrectly documenting a patient’s chart could all cause injuries or fatalities.
Issues with the patient – Incorrectly identifying a patient, performing an inadequate assessment, providing insufficient information, and failing to obtain consent are examples of negligence.
Facility education and training – Hospitals must ensure all employees, especially new hires, understand the procedures and protocols used at the facility. They should also provide education and training for anyone involved in patient care.
Staffing – Understaffing creates an environment where hospital workers are overworked, exhausted, and frustrated. They are more likely to make a mistake if they have more patients than usual and not enough time to complete all their tasks.
Technical problems – Medical devices, equipment, and other technology must undergo regular maintenance and repairs, so they don’t malfunction.
Lack of policies – Hospitals must implement and enforce adequate policies for all healthcare professionals to follow. Inadequate or nonexistent policies often result in poor patient care.
Steps to Take After an Injury Due to Hospital Negligence
Sustaining an injury at a hospital is likely something you never expected. You might be in shock during the immediate aftermath of your injury and unsure what you should do next. Following the steps below will help protect your right to financial compensation if you decide to file a claim or lawsuit.
Get a second opinion. Go to another hospital or doctor for a medical evaluation. Their findings could uncover an injury, misdiagnosis, or error your initial doctor made.
Obtain medical records. Request all records from the hospital. You can use them as evidence of negligence during your legal case.
Hire a lawyer. Speak with one of our South Carolina hospital negligence lawyers. We will review your case to determine if the hospital or staff member is liable for your injuries.
Notify the insurance company. Evans Moore, LLC can complete this step on your behalf. We will determine the liability insurance company used by the hospital, doctor, or another medical provider that caused your injury and file a claim.
File a lawsuit. Cases often settle during the insurance claims process. However, if the insurance company refuses to provide an adequate settlement for your losses, we can file a lawsuit directly against the facility or staff member.
Insurance companies are never on the claimant’s side. They will look for any reason to deny or minimize the claim so they can save money. If possible, avoid communicating with them directly. We will speak with them on your behalf, submit all the evidence we find, and attempt to reach a settlement agreement we believe is fair.
Determining the Value of Your Compensation
You likely suffered various losses as a result of the hospital negligence that injured you. You may be owed compensation for both economic and non-economic losses, which may include:
- Past and future medical costs
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Out of pocket expenses
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
Determining the value of a medical malpractice case can be challenging. Since non-economic factors, such as pain and suffering, don’t come with a billing statement, we will have to consider contributing factors to calculate an appropriate compensation amount. Those factors might include:
- Type of hospital negligence
- The severity of the injury
- Availability of medical evidence
- Effect of the injury on daily life
- Length of treatment and recovery
- Total expenses associated with the incident
- Coverage amount listed on the insurance policy
- Impact on the ability to work or earn usual wages
- The estimated cost of future medical care
- Disability or disfigurement resulting from the negligence
You should not have to pay out of pocket for the expenses and losses caused by your hospital negligence injury. Evans Moore, LLC will work diligently to secure a settlement from the insurance company that is enough to cover your past and future losses. If they deny the claim or provide a low settlement offer, we have the resources to move forward with a lawsuit.
Pursuing Compensation From a Lawsuit
Lawsuits are complex, but an experienced South Carolina hospital negligence lawyer will be able to help you navigate the deadlines, procedures, and state laws you must comply with throughout the entire case. They will be able to determine and help you seek the maximum compensation for your case.
There’s a strict deadline known as a statute of limitations you must follow to sue the hospital or healthcare professional. The statute of limitations for medical malpractice in South Carolina is three years. You must file suit within three years of the date of the injury or the date you became aware that hospital negligence caused your injury.
Some exceptions could extend the deadline. The most common involves a foreign object, such as a sponge, that a doctor leaves in the patient’s body after surgery. Even if the three-year statute passed, you would have an additional two years from the date you discovered the object to file suit.
There’s also a cap on non-economic compensation in medical malpractice cases. You cannot collect more than $350,000 from the hospital or individual medical provider. If you’re suing more than one facility or provider, the monetary award for non-economic compensation cannot exceed $1.05 million.
Besides economic and non-economic compensation, you can also seek punitive damages in a lawsuit. Instead of compensating for your losses, it punishes the negligent party. A jury will only award punitive damages if you can provide clear and convincing evidence that your injury was the result of the defendant’s wanton, willful, or reckless conduct.
Let Evans Moore, LLC Help You Fight for Justice
Our South Carolina hospital negligence lawyers have recovered over $100 million for our clients. Our reputation for securing favorable jury verdicts has earned us national recognition and awards from various legal organizations, such as Super Lawyers and the American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys.
We understand the challenges you’re facing. Hospital negligence can interfere with your daily routine and impact your entire family. At Evans Moore, LLC, we will ensure you receive the legal services, support, and attention you deserve. We will work hard to get you on the path to recovery so you can move forward with your life.
Don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation by calling (843) 995-5000 or filling out our online contact form.