Having a surgical instrument left in your body is sure to cause significant interruptions to your life. You may become seriously ill and will likely need another medical procedure to remove the object. Moreover, leaving a surgical instrument in the body is a form of medical malpractice.
If this happens to you, you may wonder what damages you can receive for your injuries. For example, if you bring a claim, what categories of damages can be included, and what are they worth? Knowing what damages you can claim helps you prepare your case and form expectations for the road ahead. Fortunately, our medical malpractice lawyers can help you with this process.
What damages are available for having a surgical instrument left in your body?
Damages available for having a surgical instrument left in your body fall into two categories: economic and non-economic. Economic losses are direct expenses and ways that your injuries prevent you from earning income. Non-economic losses are intangible suffering and changes in lifestyle resulting from symptoms, complications, and additional medical care.
You should know that the damages that you receive should be a fair reflection of the severity of the harm you have suffered. They should cover your financial losses and reflect the degree of anguish you experience. Available damages may be the sum of your financial losses and a proportionate amount for pain and suffering up to statutory limits for non-economic damages set by law.
Damages for Surgical Instruments Left in the Body in South Carolina
Economic damages may include:
Medical expenses and medical care
Rehabilitation, physical therapy
Nursing care, hospitalization
Medication, mobility aids
Costs for substitute domestic services
Loss of spousal services
Lost employment, lost business, or employment opportunities
Unrealized income, loss of earnings, and diminished earning capacity, including bonuses and benefits
Unrealized retirement income
Other monetary losses
Medical care includes anything related to the care you require as a result of the incident. This includes but is not limited to: diagnostic tests, treatment for complications, and procedures to remove the foreign object. If you are expected to have medical expenses and damages that extend beyond the resolution of the legal claim, your compensation may include future medical expenses that are reasonably certain to occur. See South Carolina Code § 15-32-210(3).
Non-economic damages may include:
Pain and suffering
Physical impairment and disfigurement
Mental damages, including anguish and emotional distress
Loss of society and companionship, loss of consortium
Injury to reputation, humiliation
Non-economic damages are subject to a statutory cap in South Carolina. See South Carolina Code § 15-32-210(9); § 15-32-220.
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What is the non-economic compensation limit in South Carolina for surgical objects left in the body?
South Carolina law allows victims to claim up to $350,000, adjusted for inflation, from each defendant for pain and suffering. However, when there are multiple defendants, the total for non-economic damages compensation from all defendants is $1.05 million ($1,050,000). South Carolina Code § 15-32-220 creates these damage limitations, which apply in all medical malpractice claims. This includes claims for surgical instruments left in the body.
Does the non-economic recompense limit apply to all cases involving surgical instruments left in the body?
The non-economic damages cap does not apply if the jury or court decides that the defendant acted with gross negligence or that they were willful, wanton, or reckless. In addition, fraud and misrepresentation may render the non-economic damages cap non-applicable.
How are damages calculated in a foreign medical objects left in the body case?
Damages are calculated in a surgical instrument left in the body case based on the actual losses of the victim. All instances of foreign objects in the body are serious and require significant medical intervention. The associated suffering for victims can be severe.
In each case, the damages awarded are unique to the actual losses of the victim. The victim demonstrates what medical bills they have. They also detail how the injury impacts their life. Even though it might seem obvious in a case of a surgical instrument left in the body, the documentation of damages is extremely important. Your lawyer can help you gather records and expert medical testimony to substantiate the damages you are claiming.
Similarly, non-economic damages reflect your actual suffering and anguish. If the harm causes severe medical complications and physical suffering over a period of time, non-economic damages are higher than if you need a minor procedure and a brief recovery period. To prove non-economic damages, you present evidence of how your injuries have impacted you with physical pain, mental anguish, emotional suffering, and damaged relationships.
How do I receive recompense for a medical object left in the body case?
To receive damages compensation for a surgical instrument left in the body case, you must file a legal claim. The claim is filed against those responsible for leaving the instrument in the body. The plaintiff (victim) must prove that the foreign object was left in the body and that there were resulting damages.
Note: South Carolina law requires the victim to file a notice of intent to file the lawsuit. Time limits apply to initiate a claim.
Lawyers for Damages Caused by Surgical Object Being Left in the Body
If you are the victim of a surgical instrument being left in the body, our medical malpractice lawyers at Hopkins Law Firm can help you claim the financial compensation that you deserve. We are experienced lawyers who fight for you like family.
Remember, if you have a foreign object left in your body, there are many types of compensation that you may qualify to claim.
The lawyers at Hopkins Law Firm have experience helping victims of medical malpractice. We are here to guard your rights and give you the support and guidance you need every step of the way. Contact us today to talk about your case!