SECTION 15-32-220. Noneconomic damages limit; exceptions; annual adjustment based on Consumer Price Index.
(A) In an action on a medical malpractice claim when final judgment is rendered against a single health care provider, the limit of civil liability for noneconomic damages of the health care provider is limited to an amount not to exceed three hundred fifty thousand dollars for each claimant, regardless of the number of separate causes of action on which the claim is based, except as provided in subsection (E).

(B) In an action on a medical malpractice claim when final judgment is rendered against a single health care institution, the limit of civil liability for noneconomic damages is limited to an amount not to exceed three hundred fifty thousand dollars for each claimant, regardless of the number of separate causes of action on which the claim is based, except as provided in subsection (E).

(C) In an action on a medical malpractice claim when final judgment is rendered against more than one health care institution, or more than one health care provider, or any combination thereof, the limit of civil liability for noneconomic damages for each health care institution and each health care provider is limited to an amount not to exceed three hundred fifty thousand dollars for each claimant, and the limit of civil liability for noneconomic damages for all health care institutions and health care providers is limited to an amount not to exceed one million fifty thousand dollars for each claimant, except as provided in subsection (E).

(D)(1) The provisions of this section do not limit the amount of compensation for economic damages suffered by each claimant in a medical malpractice claim.

(2) The provisions of this section do not limit the amount of punitive damages in cases where the plaintiff is able to prove an entitlement to an award of punitive damages as required by law.

(E) The limitations for noneconomic damages rendered against any health care provider or health care institution do not apply if the jury or court determines that the defendant was grossly negligent, wilful, wanton, or reckless, and such conduct was the proximate cause of the claimant’s noneconomic damages, or if the defendant has engaged in fraud or misrepresentation related to the claim, or if the defendant altered or destroyed medical records with the purpose of avoiding a claim or liability to the claimant.

(F) At the end of each calendar year, the Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office, Board of Economic Advisors must determine the increase or decrease in the ratio of the Consumer Price Index to the index as of December 31 of the previous year, and the limitation on compensation for noneconomic damages pursuant to subsection (A), (B), or (C) must be increased or decreased accordingly. As soon as practicable after this adjustment is calculated, the Director of the Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office shall submit the revised limitation on compensation to the State Register for publication pursuant to Section 1-23-40(2), and the revised limitation becomes effective upon publication in the State Register. For purposes of this subsection, “Consumer Price Index” means the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers as published by the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

HISTORY: 2005 Act No. 32, § 2, eff July 1, 2005, for causes of action arising after that date; 2005 Act No. 144, § 1, eff July 1, 2005, applicable to causes of action arising thereafter.

Code Commissioner’s Note
At the direction of the Code Commissioner, references in this section to the offices of the former State Budget and Control Board, Office of the Governor, or other agencies, were changed to reflect the transfer of them to the Department of Administration or other entities, pursuant to the directive of the South Carolina Restructuring Act, 2014 Act No. 121, § 5(D)(1).

Effect of Amendment
The 2005 amendment, in subsection (E), added “or health care institution”.