South Carolina Code § 15-3-545 generally creates a three-year time limit to bring a legal claim for medical malpractice. However, the statute of limitations is two years for any medical institution funded by or in part by the state. Examples of this include Spartanburg Regional, Medical University of South Carolina, and South Regional. To understand and assert your rights, it’s important to know these exceptions.
Are there exceptions to the South Carolina medical malpractice statute of limitations?
There are multiple exceptions to the South Carolina medical malpractice statute of limitations. The differences are based on:
- The victim failing to discover that they are the victim of malpractice until time has passed
- Malpractice occurs when the victim is a minor
- A foreign object is left in the body
- The parent and the defendant’s insurer collude in failing to bring a claim for an injured minor
If an exception applies, there is a different time frame that applies to when you can bring the medical malpractice claim. When it’s a case of a foreign object left in the body, the time frame may be even shorter than the two-year limitation. Know that there is still a time limit that applies in all cases, so do not wait to contact a medical malpractice lawyer about your case.
What is the discovery exception to the South Carolina medical malpractice statute of limitations?
Not all cases of medical malpractice are known right away. It may take some time for a victim to realize that something went wrong and meets the definition of medical malpractice. When a victim fails to discover the medical malpractice immediately after it occurs, the three-year statute of limitations may be extended up to six years from the date of occurrence.
The statute of limitations is not automatically extended in any case where a victim hasn’t filed their case. It must be a situation where the victim didn’t know about the malpractice, and when they shouldn’t have known about the malpractice with reasonable diligence. It’s important for the victim not to ignore warning signs or indicators that malpractice may have occurred.
What is the foreign object left in the body exception to the South Carolina medical malpractice statute of limitations?
If a foreign object is left in the body, the victim has two years from the date of discovery of the object or two years from when the object ought to have been discovered. Sometimes, that may shorten the timeline to less than the three-year general statute of limitations for medical malpractice. In any event, a claim for a foreign object left in the body must begin not more than three years after the incident occurs. (See South Carolina Code § 15-3-545(B).)
What is the minority exception to the South Carolina medical malpractice statute of limitations?
If the victim of medical malpractice is a minor, there is an exception to the South Carolina medical malpractice statute of limitations. The time limit may be paused for up to seven years or up to one year after the minor turns 18. Application of the rule may result in several different deadlines depending on what age the victim is when the harm occurs. In addition, the timeline may be tolled indefinitely if a parent and the defendant’s insurer commit fraud or collusion in failing to bring the action on behalf of the injured minor.
What do I need to know about the statute of limitations exceptions in South Carolina medical malpractice law?
If you have been the victim of medical malpractice law, or if you think that you may have been a victim, our medical malpractice lawyers want you to know the following:
- It may still be possible to bring a claim. Our lawyers can evaluate your situation and explore how the rules may apply.
- Don’t wait to reach out to our medical malpractice lawyers. Even if your case meets an exception, there are still timelines. Plus, it’s important to preserve evidence as soon as you realize something may be wrong.
- If the other side raises the statute of limitations as a defense, you need to respond. Our lawyers can help you fight a defense issue of the statute of limitations as part of pursuing your case.
If you believe that you may be the victim of medical malpractice, our lawyers are here to evaluate your case and help you pursue the compensation that you deserve. Contact us today.