Tragedy of doctor error compounded when victims delay their claim

On Behalf of | May 22, 2015 | Medical Malpractice

If you have suffered a personal injury due to doctor error such as a failure to diagnose, wrong-site surgery, or a medication mistake made by a prescribing physician, you may have a right to compensation under South Carolina law. But an injured patient can easily lose this right by not being diligent about pursuing the claim in a timely manner.

The statute of limitations can compound the tragedy of living with a serious injury caused by the negligence of a health care professional’s misdiagnosis. Depending on the type and severity of the injury, the last thing on the mind of a patient dealing with the pain and, in some severe cases, the disabling effects of medical professional negligence might be going to see a lawyer about filing a lawsuit. 

Waiting too long to pursue a claim could give the attorney or insurance company for the negligent doctor the right to ask the court to dismiss your lawsuit under the statute of limitations. Once dismissed, your right to compensation is gone forever.

State law wants people with claims for damages to make them in a timely manner to avoid putting the party being sued at a disadvantage. Witnesses die or move away, evidence gets lost and other issues can arise with the passage of time making it difficult to defend against a lawsuit.

The statute of limitations in Horry, South Carolina, for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is three years from the date of injury. The law recognizes that in a case of a misdiagnosis or other doctor error the injury might not be immediately discovered. It is for this reason that the law also states that the three years may be calculated from the date a victim might reasonably be expected to discover the injury.

This last section of the law does not extend the statute of limitations indefinitely. There is a six-year maximum on the time you have to discover your injury. After six years, your right to sue is over even if you were unaware that you were a victim of malpractice.

Medical malpractice and the statute of limitations are complex areas of the law. If you have been injured due to medical professional negligence, you should seek legal advice from an attorney as soon as you become aware of it.

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