Does South Carolina use a medical malpractice damages cap?
Yes. Like many states, South
Carolina has a statute on the books that places a limit or “cap” on the amount
of compensation that can be awarded to a plaintiff in a medical
malpractice case. In other words, even after a plaintiff proves (and the
jury agrees) that the defendant committed malpractice, this law limits the
actual amount of damages that the plaintiff can receive.
Before we get to what South
Carolina’s medical malpractice damages law says, let’s distinguish between the
two main types of damages in these kinds of cases: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages typically
consist of payment for past and future medical care, reimbursement of lost
income, compensation for lost earning capacity, and other financial losses that
can be attributed to the doctor or hospital error on which the malpractice lawsuit is based.
Non-economic damages include
compensation for things like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and the
loss of enjoyment of life that result from the malpractice. Non-economic
damages are said to be more “subjective” from plaintiff to plaintiff, and
they’re not so easy to capture with a dollar amount.
South Carolina’s medical malpractice damages cap applies only to
non-economic damages, and it’s got a few variations. You can find the full text
of the law at S.C. Code
of Laws Title 15, Chapter 32. Here are the highlights:
Learn more about Damages
in Medical Malpractice Cases.
by: David Goguen, J.D.