Does South Carolina use a medical malpractice damages cap?

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Question:

Does South Carolina use a medical malpractice damages cap?

Answer:

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:

  • There is a $350,000 cap on non-economic damages in any medical malpractice case against a single care provider or institution.
  • For a judgment against more than one defendant, total non-economic damages can’t exceed $1.05 million, and a single care provider or institution cannot be on the hook for more than $350,000 in non-economic compensation.   

Learn more about Damages in Medical Malpractice Cases.

by: , J.D.

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