The South Carolina state legislature seriously eroded the rights of patients when it passed legislation, effective for medical malpractice cases arising on or after July 1, 2005, which placed caps on non-economic damages a patient could recover from a liable defendant health care provider. S.C. Code 15‑32‑220(a) limits the civil liability for non‑economic damages of the health care provider to an amount not to exceed $350,000 for each claimant regardless of the number of separate causes of action on which the claim is based. S.C. Code 15‑32‑220(a) provides an exception to the foregoing cap where the health care provider is proven to be grossly negligent, willful, wanton or reckless and that conduct was the proximate cause of the claimant’s non‑economic damages. S.C. Code 15‑32‑220(b) provides that the $350,000 cap is limited to each claimant. S.C. Code 15‑32‑220(c) allows a claimant to stack his claim, and provides that up to three health care providers may be subject to the $350,000 cap per claimant, for a total of $1,050,000 per claimant. The non‑economic damage cap of $350,000 per medical entity or practice or person does not apply to economic damages and does not apply to punitive damages.
Effective for medical malpractice cases arising on or after July 1, 2005, S.C. Code 15‑32‑230 further limits liability with regard to emergency obstetrical or emergency department situations. This section eliminates liability on behalf of any person providing emergency care or emergency obstetrical care to a person in immediate threat of death or an immediate threat of serious bodily injury while in an emergency room, obstetrical or surgical suite, unless the health care provider is proven to be grossly negligent. Other caps or limitations may be applicable to a medical malpractice case as well.
Causes of Medical Malpractice