Seeking Answers for Your Injury or Accident Claim? Look No Further
After an accident occurs or an injury is suffered, you may feel lost and confused. Few people who have suffered an accident or incurred an injury have an extensive background in this area. Without this knowledge, they are left wondering how best to proceed in order to protect their legal rights. Fortunately, we are here to provide you with the answers that you are looking for. Check out our many frequently asked questions and their accompanying answers for more information.
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Will an expert be consulted about my medical malpractice case?
If your case looks to be a meritorious one, experts in the appropriate medical field of specialty must be consulted and ultimately retained in the case. A medical malpractice case cannot be won without a medical expert. A good expert who is willing to testify can be hard to find, but it is an essential aspect of proving a medical malpractice case. Often times, because local doctors can be reluctant to testify against doctors in their own state, with whom they may have a pro-fessional relationship, experts may be contacted that are located out of state. Most experienced medical malpractice lawyers will know how to locate and contact the right expert for your case. The expert will review the medical records and determine whether, in his medical opinion, a standard of care was violated.
When is a standard of care violated in a medical malpractice case?
A standard of care is violated when, based upon the facts that were known or should have been known at the time you were treated, the doctor, nurse, or other medical personnel, failed to follow the standard practice of other physicians, nurses, or other medical personnel with the same education, training and experience as the doctor, nurse, or other medical personnel involved in your case.
What damages are awarded in a medical malpractice claim?
Damages for a medical malpractice case may include:
- Past, present and future pain and suffering
- Past, present and future loss of income
- Past, present and future expenses for doctor bills, medications, or other equipment
- Loss of the companionship, society, and/or sexual relationship of a spouse, which would include such things as the ability to keep house, perform yard work, repair the car, etc.
- The loss of the enjoyment of life, or an inability to do or enjoy rec-reational activities
- Past, present, and future mental anguish and suffering
- Any permanent disfigurement or impairment which you may have suffered as a result of the malpractice
It is very important that you keep track of your medical expenses, including all records of any bills for doctors, medications, crutches, wheelchairs, spe-cial beds, special clothing or shoes, or any other item which the doctor rec-ommends that you purchase or use. You should also keep track of the number of visits to your physician and the mileage for these visits.
How long do I have to file my medical malpractice claim? What is the statute of limitations?
In South Carolina, most medical malpractice personal injury lawsuits are generally subject to a three year statute of limitations. However, there may be exceptions depending on the circumstances. For example, the statute of limitations is different for negligence suits against a South Carolina state government agency pursuant to the South Carolina Tort Claims Act ("TCA") and the federal government pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA"). In these cases, a lawsuit must generally be filed within two years, unless certain steps are taken which will extend the time for filing.
It is extremely important to consult with an experienced medical malprac-tice attorney promptly, so that he or she can evaluate the viability of your potential medical malpractice claim and most importantly, the statute of limitations for filing your lawsuit.
What should I bring when I meet with the attorney about my medical malpractice claim?
Here are some of the recommended items that will assist an attorney in evaluating your case:
- Medical records – Medical malpractice claims center around the medi-cal care received. It is essential to provide the attorney with all relevant medical records in your possession. Treatment history, results, reports, prognoses, prescriptions, hospital records, etc. will all be useful.
- Contact information – In addition to basic contact information for your-self, it is recommended that you gather contact information for the doc-tors , hospitals, and any individuals who may be called upon as witnesses or to provide further information.
- Timeline of services received – Many times, malpractice can occur over time. It is helpful to provide a timeline of all medical treatment and services leading up to and following the medical malpractice. Make a list with the date of symptoms, the actions taken per date, the doctor visits per date, follow-up procedures per date, injuries noticed per date, etc.
- Medical Bills & Prescription Costs – Provide the attorney with a detailed record of all medical expenses related to your case. Gather medical bills you have received as well as receipts for all prescriptions related to your medical treatment and injury.
- Other doctor reports – As malpractice involves procedures below the recommended level of care, it is helpful to provide doctor reports that indi-cate injury specifically related to the subpar performance or procedures previously received.
- Record of injuries - Keep a log of all of your injuries. This may include lost wages, loss of future income, emotional injuries suffered; emotional damage to the rest of your family, inability to enjoy previously enjoyed ac-tivities, dependence on the services of others and more.
Medical malpractice litigation is a lengthy, complex process. Giving as much information about your case to your attorney can help him or her in building your case and attaining the maximum possible compensation you deserve.
What is an attorney client privilege?
In South Carolina, the attorney client privilege protects confidential information given to a lawyer by his or client regarding a legal matter. Not all communication between a client and his lawyer is protected information. There must be an attorney client relationship and the communication must be confidential. Several other factors contribute to determining whether or not a communication is protected.
To learn more about the attorney-client privilege in South Carolina, click here.
If I file a claim, will my premiums go up?
If the accident was not your fault, your insurance premiums should not increase.
However, insurance companies base their premiums on risk factors. The number of accidents you are involved in will affect your premium, which means the more accidents you are involved in, the more "at risk" you are for an increase in your insurance premiums. Typically, only accidents occurring within the past three years affect premium rates.
For a free evaluation of your accident, contact us today, or call 843-277-6061.
What is a Contingency Fee Agreement?
In a contingency fee agreement, instead of paying an attorney on an hourly or flat fee basis, the client agrees that the attorney's fee will be a percentage of any recovery in the case. In most contingency fee agreements, the costs are an additional expense, which are paid out of the recovery at the end of the case. Since the clietn does not have to pay an attorney up front, contingency agreements give people who may not be able to afford to hire an attorney, a chance to hire a lawyer to protect their legal rights.
I settled my case without an attorney, can I change my mind?
No. Once you sign a full and final release of claims for your bodily injury claim, your case is closed. You cannot go back later and change your mind and get more money from the insurance company.
While there are some cases that can be settled on your own without an attorney, there are many more cases where a good personal injury attorney can in fact SAVE you thousands. That's why it is always a good idea to at least speak with an attorney before settling your injury case on your own.
What is included with pain and suffering damages?
Pain and suffering damages are money awarded for the physical pain and emotional suffering that a victim incurred in addition to medical costs and lost wages.