Have You Been Injured?
Get Your Free Case Evaluation

South Carolina Supreme Court Rules Defense Counsel Can Be Sued For Malpractice

Courtroom Stock Photo

A recent South Carolina Supreme Court decision held that an insurer can sue a lawyer it hired to defend its policyholder for malpractice. The Supreme Court was asked to answer two questions:

  1. If an insurer may maintain a direct malpractice action against a lawyer it hired to represent its insured when the insurance company has a duty to defend the insured;
  2. If a legal malpractice claim may be assigned to a third-party who is responsible to pay legal fees and any judgment incurred because of the litigation where the alleged malpractice took place?

Roy P. Maybank Accused of Failing to Provide Timely Answer Requests to Admit

The insurance company, Sentry Select, hired Roy P. Maybank to represent their insured in a personal injury lawsuit that arose from an auto accident. The insurance company alleged that Maybank violated Rule 36(a) of the South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure by failing to provide timely answer requests to admit that were served. The insurance company alleged that Maybank took seven months before filing a motion to request an extension to provide the answers.

The insurer eventually settled the personal injury lawsuit for $900,000. Maybank’s initial settlement range was estimated between $75,000 and $125,000.

Supreme Court: The Insurer Can Bring a Direct Malpractice Action

The Supreme Court held that insurers can bring a direct malpractice action against a lawyer they hire and pay to defend one of their insured. However, the insurer may only recover damages for the breach of duty to the client when the insurer “proves the breach is the proximate cause of damages to the insurer.”

Harris Graves: South Carolina Medical Malpractice Lawyers

Doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, nursing assistants, surgical techs, and other medical professionals are tasked with an important job: to help patients in their time of need. We go to medical professionals, hospitals, and clinics to get help. When medical professionals are negligent, patients can suffer and even pay with their life. Medical malpractice lawyers help victims and their families get the compensation that they deserve for their injuries.

Medical malpractice lawyers are different from personal injury lawyers. While both work to get patients and their families compensated for their injuries, a medical malpractice lawyer has a deep understanding of the best practices in healthcare as well as both federal and state laws related to medical care.

Medical Malpractice Can Be Avoided by Healthcare Professionals

Medical malpractice isn’t an accident. It is negligence. It happens when the patient receives a diagnosis or treatment (or lack thereof) that falls below the quality standards set by the medical industry. The injuries caused by medical malpractice can be life-threatening or life-changing.

The Most Common Injuries Witnessed by Medical Malpractice Lawyers

While every medical malpractice case has its own facts, the most common injuries reported include:

  • Healthcare professionals who ignore patient complaints or don’t take them seriously;
  • Misinterpretation of tests, screening, and x-rays;
  • Misdiagnosis;
  • Overlooking symptoms of cancer, strokes, heart attacks, and fetal distress;
  • Surgical errors;
  • Birth injuries.

Types of Compensation Available for Medical Malpractice Victims

When you hire a medical malpractice lawyer, you improve your chances of getting the compensation that you deserve for your injuries. This includes, but is not limited to, financial compensation for medical expenses (past associated expenses, current expenses, and future expenses), specialized therapy, skilled nursing care, loss of companionship, temporary or permanent disability, disfigurement, lost wages, and loss of future income.

Contact an Experienced Team of Medical Malpractice Lawyers

If you or someone you love was victimized because of the negligence of a medical professional, call Harris & Graves. We’re an experienced team of medical malpractice lawyers and we’re here to help. Contact us right away to discuss your potential claim. The consultation is free. If you have a claim, we’ll work hard to help you get the compensation and the justice that you deserve.