• Andrew Littlejohn Johnson

What is Medical Malpractice

If a grossly negligent South Carolina doctor injures their patient, this likely falls under the state's definition of "medical malpractice," which our General Assembly defines as "doing that which the reasonably prudent health care provider . . . would not do or not doing that which the reasonably prudent health care provider . . . would do in the same or similar circumstances." This means that a physician in South Carolina can be liable for your injuries if s/he acted wrongfully or wrongfully failed to act is it relates to treating you.



South Carolina Medical Malpractice Laws


A medical malpractice claim requires four elements:

  1. A doctor who owes the patient a duty;

  2. The doctor then breaches that duty;

  3. The patient is injured because of the doctor's breach; and

  4. The patient sustains damages from the resulting injuries.

Typically, in our initial review of a medical negligence case, we focus on point number 2: the doctor's breach. This is normally the costliest part of a medical malpractice case. Experts are required to prove that the South Carolina doctor committed malpractice. Once we can prove the malpractice, the case can gain steam, getting us closer to the justice you deserve.



Types of Medical Malpractice


There is a wide array of medical professional malpractice claims. Each is born from proving the four elements above. These claims include:

  • infections

  • birth injuries

  • misdiagnoses

  • failures to test

  • failures to diagnose

  • prescription errors

  • surgical errors

There may also be claims against companies in these cases. For example, a hospital may have negligent hiring issues. The facility may be understaffed (this is a big reason for nursing home abuse and neglect cases, which normally fall under the "medical malpractice" realm). The hospital may have hygiene problems. Pharmacists may commit medication errors. Sometimes, it is as simple as the doctor failing to inform the patient of the potential outcomes and dangers of a treatment.



Proving a South Carolina Doctor's Negligence


Liability depends on the type of injury. If your general practitioner misdiagnosed an injury, s/he could be liable. If the surgeon operated on the wrong body part or was grossly negligent in surgery, s/he could be liable. If the hospital or other facility failed to properly vet its doctors and nurses, or if it failed to put proper procedures in place, that business could be liable. If surgery was performed using a defective device (e.g., stent or pacemaker), the creator of the product may be liable.


Whatever the case may be, it is important to review all the records, as well as research the companies' and professionals' backgrounds to determine every individual and business who caused your injuries. Each wrongful actor should be held liable.


At Littlejohn Law, we understand that this process involves hiring experts, investing in the case mentally and financially, and keeping you informed along the way. Medical malpractice cases are different beasts when it comes to tort law; however, these beasts may be tamed.



How to Recover Money in a Med Mal Case


Just like any other case, we look to prove the civil damages based upon (1) the severity of the actions by the doctor/nurse/facility; (2) the physical injuries you suffered; (3) the cost of the injuries to you; and (4) the effect of the injuries upon you. Through our consistent communication with our clients, we develop your story; we then tell how parts of your life (and your family members' lives) were affected by this negligent physician. Though there are caps on some recoveries in South Carolina, we do our best to obtain full justice for all of our clients. This amount is always case-specific: everybody's story is different, and every case is unique.



What to do if My Doctor Injures Me


The victim of a malpractice action should consider their health first. If treatment is required to fix an issue that the malpractice created, you should likely get that treatment. Once you are in a position to call an experienced South Carolina attorney, give us a call. The clock runs quicker on medical malpractice claims, and it is important for us to send spoliation letters ("do not delete evidence" letters) and to get started on a review of the medical records and potential legal violations.



Do I Need a Lawyer for Medical Practice


Unfortunately, many people are injured by doctors every year. Sometimes, it is beyond the doctor's and nurse's control. However, to determine whether your case constitutes true medical malpractice, we must study the records, the law, and the facts of the case. To do this, Attorney Andrew Littlejohn Johnson meets with clients, obtains the records, and gets to work immediately.


If you want to confidentially talk about your case, give us a call today. Hiring an experienced South Carolina medical malpractice attorney is an important step in the process of these cases, and we are here to help.