Victims of medical malpractice experience fear, betrayal and pain unlike other forms of injury. When you visit a healthcare professional, you place a lot of trust that these men and women can safeguard your health and provide a high standard of care. Through malpractice, this trust is destroyed and the consequences both physical and emotional can be nightmarish. Here is some information about the difference between malpractice and ordinary negligence.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to medical malpractice, you should not try to go it alone. A medical injury attorney may be able help you get the compensation you deserve and draw the line between negligence and malpractice.
Whether a case qualifies as malpractice or general negligence depends largely on circumstantial factors. The following requirements are in place for the case to be considered other than negligence:
- Shortened statute of limitations
- Statute of response requirements
- Requirement for expert affidavits
- Merit certificates
In the end, it is easier to file a case for negligence than it is to prove malpractice, but the penalties and awards for malpractice can be steeper. South Carolina courts have recognized a very subtle difference between the two, with no hard line to separate them.
Expert testimony is one of the big sticking points in this issue. The courts have ruled that not every injury requires expert testimony to establish the validity of the claim. For example, if a patient is injured in a bathroom who should have been accompanied by staff due to a pre-existing medical condition of which staff are or should be aware, the claim may be malpractice. If the patient had no such pre-existing condition and was injured due to, for example, wet floors, the case would likely be negligence.