There is no calculated formula for determining what a medical malpractice case is worth in South Carolina. The reason is because no two cases are the same. Each case has a different set of facts and circumstances that specifically determine the value of the claim. There are always several factors that come into play when evaluating what a medical malpractice case is worth – the severity of the injury, the financial loss involved, the amount of insurance coverage available, the number of defendants involved, venue, whether there are any prior malpractice claims against the hospital or doctor, plus many more. Nevertheless, it can be helpful to know the different types of damages you may be entitled to in a medical malpractice case under South Carolina law. The different types of damages one may be entitled to when pursing a medical malpractice claim in South Carolina include:
- Economic damages: One is entitle to recover financial damages such as medical bills (past and future), lost income or wages (past and future), lost earning capacity, funeral expenses (if a wrongful death case), and any other financial damages one has suffered from their injury.
- Non-economic damages: One is entitled to recover for pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium (for the spouse). Pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. § 15-32-220, non-economic damages in a medical malpractice case are capped to $350,000.00 (adjusted for inflation) against a single health care provider. In instances where multiple health care providers are involved, the total damages may not exceed $1,050,00.00.
- Punitive damages: Although rare in South Carolina, especially in medical malpractice claims, punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant for their actions and/or deter future wrongdoing. Under S.C. Code Ann. § 15-32-530, an award of punitive damages is limited to the greater of $500,000.00, or three times actual damages (economic plus non-economic damages).