Any surgery is a time of uncertainty. You hope and expect it to all go smoothly. Then, after the surgery, something is wrong. You may learn shortly following the procedure or after a long period of time that there is a surgical instrument left in your body.
Of course, discovering a foreign object in the body is extremely distressful. You are the victim of serious wrongdoing. As you set out to learn more about surgical negligence lawsuits, our medical malpractice lawyers explain what you need to know.
What is a lawsuit for surgical negligence?
When the victim of a foreign object left in the body brings a legal claim for financial compensation, they bring a lawsuit for surgical negligence. The claim demands that those responsible pay monetary compensation to the victim. It is a medical malpractice claim.
If you are the victim of surgical negligence, you may initiate your own compensation claim. The claim you file is a civil personal injury case. The purpose of the lawsuit is to require those who cause the damage to pay for the harm done, both financially and in terms of suffering. When there is a finding of legal responsibility against the defense, they are responsible for paying the victim for economic and non-economic losses.
Is a lawsuit for surgical negligence medical malpractice?
A lawsuit for surgical negligence is a medical malpractice claim. In South Carolina, it is based on South Carolina Code § 15-79-110(6). The law defines malpractice as doing what a reasonably prudent health care provider would not do or failing to do what a reasonably prudent health care provider would do.
Of course, a reasonable health care provider would not leave a surgical instrument inside the body. They would not fail to account for every instrument, tool, and sponge used in a procedure. A lawsuit for surgical negligence is based on surgeons failing to provide care up to reasonable, acceptable standards.
How long after can you sue for surgical negligence?
South Carolina law creates a two-year time limit for surgical negligence when an instrument is left in the body. The two-year time limit begins when the individual discovers or should discover that the instrument is left in the body. In any event, the person has not less than three years from the date of the occurrence. (S.C. Code § 15-3-545(B).)
What can you receive in damages for a surgical negligence lawsuit?
Damages in a surgical negligence lawsuit may include economic and non-economic losses, including:
- Cost of additional surgery
- Diagnostic testing and verification of the presence of the object
- Lost income
- Replacement household services
- Mental health damage, anxiety, and depression
- Physical pain and suffering
- Damage to lifestyle
- Wrongful death compensation
South Carolina Code § 15-32-220 creates a statutory limit of $350,000 for non-economic damages in surgical negligence claims. (That number is adjusted for inflation and is significantly higher today.) There is no cap for economic damages.
What elements do you have to prove to win a surgical negligence suit?
To win a surgical negligence suit, you must prove that the surgical team left a foreign object in the body. You prove your case using medical documentation of both the original procedure and discovery of the foreign object. You must also prove the amount of compensation you are seeking, including the basis for medical bills, lost income, pain, and suffering.
What is a notice of intent to sue for surgical negligence?
South Carolina law requires victims to file a notice of intent to sue in surgical negligence cases. South Carolina Code § 15-79-125 states what needs to be in a notice of intent to sue. It must contain an expert affidavit verifying that medical malpractice has occurred. Each potential defendant must receive the paperwork.
The purpose of a notice of intent to sue is to allow the defendant to review the case before the lawsuit begins. They can conduct their own investigation. A notice gives the defense an opportunity to offer settlement without the need for a formal lawsuit. The defense does not have to extend an offer of settlement after receiving a notice of intent to sue. If they make an offer, you do not have to accept it.
Who can bring a lawsuit for surgical negligence?
A victim may bring a lawsuit for surgical negligence. If the victim is a minor, a parent or representative may make a claim on their behalf. If surgical negligence results in the death of the victim, the executor of the estate may bring a wrongful death action.
How can a lawyer for surgical negligence help me?
Bringing a claim for surgical negligence is a large undertaking. You likely have significant medical complications and pain and suffering. A lawyer for surgical negligence represents you through all aspects of this enormous undertaking. They can assist you with:
- Investigating who is responsible and how the harm occurred
- Preparing your notice of intent to sue
- Medical evidence of the surgical instrument left in the body
- Explanation of medical complications because of the surgical instrument
- Documentation of medical bills
- Identification of lost income and other financial losses
- Supporting your claim for pain and suffering
- Legal aspects of the case including serving process, discovery, and legal procedure
- Speaking on your behalf at trial
- Negotiating with defendants to resolve the case by settlement
Successfully bringing a claim for surgical negligence requires knowledge of the legal process, gathering scientific and financial evidence, and negotiating with the defense. A lawyer for surgical negligence claims takes care of all the required tasks on your behalf and represents your interests throughout the legal process.
How do I hire the Hopkins Law Firm surgical negligence lawyers?
To hire our medical malpractice lawyers for surgical negligence, we invite you to contact us. We can answer all your questions and give you a personalized consultation regarding your case. We want to learn about what happened and your situation. Then, we explain what to expect in the legal process.
Leaving a surgical instrument in the body is serious misconduct. We are your local lawyers, and we are here to help. We can help you get the financial compensation you deserve. Contact us today.