South Dakota Medical Malpractice Lawyer

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Medical malpractice occurs when doctors, counselors, psychologists or psychotherapists act negligently in the treatment of a patient. This most often occurs through erroneous actions or failure to meet the accepted level of care upheld in the medical field. This can mean a failed diagnosis, improper monitoring post-operation, surgical errors, and more.

When the failure to meet standard or medical error becomes overwhelmingly evident, the patient can pursue a lawsuit claiming medical malpractice. However, with the complexities surrounding the medical field and the malpractices they commit, it is necessary to hire a qualified South Dakota medical malpractice lawyer to handle the case.

Seventy-three percent of settled medical malpractice cases to date have involved some sort of medical error, and a recent study revealed that an average of 195,000 deaths in hospitals from 2000 to 2002 were related to preventable medical errors or omissions. Errors that do not result in death are not necessarily harmless, either.

Costly rehabilitation and return visit fees, equipment purchases, and loss of work can all occur because of medical malpractice. Luckily, medical malpractice laws are in place to prevent victims from being responsible for paying for costs related to malpractice. South Dakota has a limit on damages up to $500,000.00 for a medical malpractice case. Additionally, in the state of South Dakota, the person filing the claim can choose to receive intermittent payment for damages that may take place in the future, but not to exceed $300,000 after the verdict is made or $600,000 aggregate for one year.

South Dakota expert witnesses must be licensed in South Dakota and other neighboring states before practicing medical malpractice law, and must have been in medical practice for at least a year before the date that the plaintiff's injury occurred. Such experts are called upon to describe the standards of care relevant to a given case and identify any breaches that may have occurred.

According to the statutes of limitations in South Dakota, medical malpractice cases must begin within two years to the date that the injury occurred. For medical malpractice cases that involve minors under the age of six, the child is given two years after he or she turns six years old to file any lawsuit pertaining to the claim. If the minor is older than six years old, then the minor or more likely, guardian of the minor has to file a lawsuit within three years.

Specific elements to a medical malpractice case must be brought forth in order for a case to be deemed credible. First, it must be shown that a duty was in fact owed. This element of the case is important because it shows that a medical or health care provider took on the responsibility of treating a patient the foundation of the case. Next, it must be shown that the care provider breached or failed to meet the standard of care related to the medical field. Third, it must be evident that a breach or failure to meet a standard resulted in injury. Last, it must be proven that the specific breach or failure resulting in ailment placed a burden on economic and/or non-economic damages, such as medical costs or pain and suffering. The steps vital to winning a claim are complex and often difficult to prove, making it all the more necessary to retain the services of a qualified South Dakota medical malpractice lawyer.


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