South Carolina

Recent Reforms Enacted (since 2003)  Passed $350,000 cap per defendant. Requires plaintiffs to file an affidavit of merit signed by a qualified expert. Judges must report experts who provide egregious testimony to the licensing board. Either party may collect court costs and interest from the other party if the other party rejected an offer of settlement that was at least as favorable as the final verdict. Emergency care protection. (2005)
Emergency Care Provision  Shields physicians from liability (except in cases of gross negligence) for care provided in an emergency where there is an immediate threat of death or serious bodily injury and the care is rendered in an ED or obstetrical or surgical suite. Similar protection for physicians who provide emergency OB care when there is no relationship or the patient had no prenatal care.
Reform Elements In Law  $350K Cap
Expert Witness
Affidavit of Merit
Offer of Settlement
Gross Negligence for ED/OB emergencies
Constitutional Status of Reforms  State Supreme Court ruling in May 2012 weakening the expert witness law.
Change in Insurance Rates  AMA reports at least one insurer raised rates as much as 25 to 40% in 2004. After reforms passed in 2005, JUA and the Patient Compensation Fund announced plans to raise rates by 22%. Rates for some high-risk specialties are expected to exceed $75,000. The New York Times reported in October 2007 that average rates fell 21.3% since reforms were enacted.
Insurance Availability  Information not available.
Change in Physician Availability  Information not available.
Change in Cases Filed/Awards  159 paid claims in 2003 or 16.7 per 1000 active nonfederal physicians. US avg. was 18.8 per 1000. 171 paid claims in 2005 or 17.7 per 1000 active nonfederal physicians. US avg. was 17.1 per 1000. (Kaiser) 183 total number of paid claims for 2006 or 16.2 per 1,000 active, non-federal physicians. 190 paid claims in 2007.
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