Are There Limits On Damages For Medical Malpractice Cases In South Carolina?
When filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, many clients have questions about whether or not there is a cap placed on the amount of financial compensation a victim can receive in South Carolina. The answer is that yes, there is a limit set on the amount a plaintiff is entitled to, even after proving the defendant’s guilt.
Before we cover the exact amount, let’s first define a few terms to distinguish what categories this cap applies to.
Economic vs. Non-Economic Damages in Medical Malpractice
In medical malpractice, damages refer to a medical malpractice incident’s physical and mental effects. This is generally broken down into two distinct categories:
Economic damages consist of the financial impacts of an injury caused by medical malpractice. This can include things such as lost wages, medical bills, costs of therapy, and anything else that could be considered a financial loss.
Non-economic damages do not have a tangible financial amount attached to their value. These include things like pain and suffering or emotional distress and are more difficult to calculate because of their subjectivity.
What Kinds of Medical Malpractice Damages Does South Carolina Place a Limit On?
Most states, including South Carolina, place a limit on non-economic damages. In 2005, South Carolina decided to pass the South Carolina Non-economic Damage Awards Act, which established a financial limit on the amount of damages a person could be awarded in medical malpractice suits.
When a doctor is sued for medical malpractice, their insurance must pay for the cost of the damages, meaning they, in turn, must increase the costs of their policies to the consumer. Much of the reasoning behind laws that limit non-economic damages is to reduce the subjectivity involved in awarding non-economic damages and to prevent the unnecessary burden on the consumer.
How Much is the Non-Economic Damages Cap in South Carolina Medical Malpractice?
It’s important to note that the cap on non-economic damages in South Carolina is adjusted every year on January 1st to account for inflation. As of 2022:
- The non-economic cap on damages in a medical malpractice case against a single care provider or institution is $512,773
- The non-economic cap on damages against more than one defendant cannot exceed $1,538,319
Other Important Information to Know About The Limits on Medical Malpractice Damages
One important thing to note is that this cap does not apply to the limit of economic damages, including anything considered as reimbursement for past or future losses or any other types of damages that can be categorized by an objective financial amount in a medical malpractice claim.
There is no limit on Economic Damages in a Medical Malpractice case in South Carolina, including things such as:
- Medical bills, including past and future costs of treatment
- Lost wages due to the medical malpractice injury
- Diminished earning capacity due to the injury
- Costs of past and future treatments, such as physical therapy or mental health counseling
You can read the entire South Carolina Code Title 15, Chapter 32 law here for further information regarding South Carolina caps and laws. Additionally, the South Carolina Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office has a complete list online for the most current information regarding past and present damages caps.
South Carolina’s medical malpractice damages cap is crucial for both plaintiffs and defendants to understand. Because calculating the actual amount of economic and non-economic damages is complex, consulting with an experienced medical malpractice attorney will significantly help you comprehend the correct compensation amount you may be entitled to. A medical malpractice attorney will also use their knowledge and experience with both the legal and medical systems to get you the highest amount possible, ensuring you get the reimbursement you deserve for your pain and suffering.