Unlike other lawsuits in South Carolina, the law requires you to take extra steps to sue a medical provider.
We’ll briefly lay those out—but understand: hours and hours of tedious work are behind these steps.
First, You Notify Providers of Your Intent to Sue
You can’t just file a lawsuit—you’ve got to tell the providers who hurt you that you intend to sue them. You actually file an official document with the court that’s called a Notice of Intent to File Suit.
The notice must:
- Name all providers you contend hurt you or caused the death of your family member.
- Include an affidavit from your expert. Almost all malpractice cases require an expert—usually the same type of provider as the one who caused the harm—to testify how your provider committed a medical mistake causing harm. An affidavit is the expert’s sworn statement giving a snapshot of his testimony.
- Contain a short statement of the facts behind your malpractice allegations. Most of this is likely contained in the expert’s affidavit.
- Include answers to very basic questions related to the case. That means witnesses, medical or funeral bills, a list of other evidence, contact info for experts, and a statement of economic losses like medical bills and lost wages.
The notice gets officially served on all providers you intend to sue.
Now Both Sides Can Get Some Information
After the notice is served, anyone named in the notice can issue a subpoena. That’s a court command to hand over documents—usually medical records.
Depositions (out-of-court testimony) can also be taken, but only if a judge orders it. At this stage, that’s pretty rare.
Next, Mandatory Pre-Suit Mediation
Mediation is a process designed to settle cases before trial. Usually it’s done close to trial when both sides have a really good idea what the evidence holds.
But here, you haven’t filed suit yet! The law requires it to be held no more than 120 days after service of the notice, unless a judge orders an extension for good cause. For that reason, mediation usually fails here. The parties just don’t have enough information. However, we’ve secured a nice settlement at pre-suit medical malpractice mediation at least once.
To save time and money, the parties may agree to have a brief phone mediation.
When pre-suit mediation fails, the case will likely be required to be mediated later.
Finally, You Can File the Lawsuit
If mediation fails, you can finally file the suit. After that, the case proceeds much like any other suit, making its way through the courts to trial.
You Just Can’t Go It Alone
Just filing a medical malpractice case is a daunting task, as we’ve shown you already. These cases present serious allegations, and providers’ insurance companies fight against every claim. And the potential consequences can be far-reaching for you, as you may be seeking justice for a lost loved one or securing future medical care required by the mistake. You need a professional to help you through the process.
Feel free to start a live chat or email us right where you are to get your questions answered about the malpractice case process, or any other question you have about a potential case against a provider for a medical mistake.