Filing a Birth Injury Lawsuit: Procedure in South Carolina
The arrival of a new baby should be a joyous occasion. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, due to negligence or other forms of medical malpractice, a newborn may suffer from a birth injury. For families grappling with this harsh reality in South Carolina, filing a birth injury lawsuit may be a viable way to seek compensation for medical bills, lifelong care, and emotional distress. Understanding the procedure can empower families to navigate this complex journey more effectively.
Step 1: Consult a Medical Professional
Before pursuing legal action, consult another medical professional to evaluate your child’s condition. This will help you gain a clearer understanding of the medical issues involved and whether they could have been prevented. Such consultation could also form the basis of expert testimony later in the case.
Step 2: Gather Evidence
Documentation can serve as crucial evidence. Medical records, hospital bills, photographs, and any other pertinent evidence should be gathered as soon as possible. Your attorney will guide you on what specific evidence will best support your case.
Step 3: Find an Experienced Attorney
Given the intricacy of medical malpractice law in South Carolina, it’s crucial to hire an attorney with experience in birth injury cases. They can guide you through the complexities of the law, statute of limitations, and potential damages you may be eligible for.
Step 4: Notice of Intent to File
In South Carolina, before filing a lawsuit, you must send a Notice of Intent to the healthcare providers alleged to have caused the injury. This notice should outline the nature of the injuries sustained and the alleged acts of malpractice. The defendant has 30 days to respond.
Step 5: Mandatory Mediation
South Carolina law mandates a pre-litigation mediation process between the parties involved. During this period, an impartial mediator helps the parties discuss the case’s issues and try to reach a settlement.
Step 6: File the Complaint
If mediation doesn’t result in a settlement, the next step is to file an official lawsuit. Your attorney will draft and file a complaint detailing the allegations against the defendant(s).
Step 7: Discovery Phase
During this stage, both parties can request evidence from each other, ask questions under oath, and gather expert testimonies. This phase can last several months and is crucial for building a strong case.
Step 8: Go to Trial
If a settlement isn’t reached during the discovery phase, the case will proceed to trial. Here, both sides will present their arguments, evidence, and expert testimonies. Finally, a judge or jury will decide the outcome of the case.
Step 9: Appeal, if Necessary
If the ruling isn’t in your favor, you have the option to appeal the decision, depending on the grounds available under South Carolina law.
Step 10: Collect Settlement or Judgment
If the court rules in your favor or a settlement is reached, the next step involves the disbursement of funds. Depending on the terms, payments may be lump-sum or structured over time.
A birth injury lawsuit can be emotionally and legally complex. Understanding the steps involved can empower you and your family as you seek justice and compensation for the hardships you have endured. Consult a medical malpractice attorney to find out more.