Despite a recent ruling by Florida appeals court that removed limits on the amount of damages a person can receive in personal injury medical malpractice lawsuits, (1) South Carolina has a statute that specifically limits or “caps” the amount of money that can be awarded to a plaintiff in a medical malpractice cases. In other words, even after a jury agrees that a doctor or hospital has committed malpractice, South Carolina law limits the actual amount of damages that the a person can receive. (2)
South Carolina defines medical malpractice into two main categories: 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 pain and suffering, emotional distress, and the loss of enjoyment of life that result from the malpractice. Non-economic damages are considered to be more subjective from case to case, 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. Specifically:
- There is a $350,000 cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases against a single care provider or institution.
- There is a $1.05 Million cap on non-economic damages in cases against more than one defendant. Moreover, even in these cases, no a single care provider or hospital can be ordered to pay more than $350,000.
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1. North Broward Hospital District v. KALITAN, No. 4D11-4806 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. July 1, 2015).
2. S.C. Code of Laws Title 15, Chapter 32.