At Lofton & Lofton, P.C., our Charleston medical malpractice lawyers specialize in representing individuals and families who have suffered harm and injuries as the result of the medical negligence of healthcare professionals as well as the defense of individuals and businesses who are being pursued for alleged criminal activity. With over 90 years of combined litigation experience, our attorneys have achieved great success in these areas of law because of their genuine concern for our clients’ well-being.
Partners Lionel S. Lofton and Frances Cain-Lofton began their law practice in 1984 and were joined by associate attorney, William H. Waring, III in 2009. Our commitment to our clients is genuine and sincere. As a small law firm, we take pride in providing our clients with personalized service not too often experienced with bigger firms. We do not process a large volume of cases; rather, we intentionally limit the number of cases we accept so that every client receives the personal and proper attention he or she deserves thereby allowing us to maximize the results for each individual case.
Lofton & Lofton is a highly regarded and well-established law firm in Charleston, South Carolina that has received the highest (AV) Martindale-Hubbell rating for over 30 years. This rating indicates very high to preeminent legal ability and very high ethical standards as established by confidential opinions from members of the South Carolina Bar. Additionally, Mr. Lofton has been recognized as one of the Best Lawyers in America for over 20 years and has been recognized since 2008 as a South Carolina Super Lawyer in the areas of criminal defense and plaintiff’s medical malpractice.
Since its founding, the Charleston medical malpractice attorneys at Lofton & Lofton have collected tens of millions in verdicts and settlements for our clients in medical malpractice and other personal injury cases. Our Charleston white collar criminal defense lawyers have also successfully defended government officials, business owners, professionals, and other high profile individuals accused of money laundering, tax evasion, and other white collar crimes. We also handle cases involving drug trafficking, murder, and other serious federal and state crimes. Although we are located in and proudly serve the Charleston area, we have also represented many clients throughout other cities and rural areas across South Carolina, as well as those who live elsewhere in the southeastern United States. Below are some of the cases we handle:Medical Malpractice
At some point in our lives, all of us rely on doctors, nurses, hospital staff, and other medical professionals in our community for the care they provide, their compassion, and their medical knowledge. We entrust them with our lives, along with the lives of our loved ones. Medical professionals make mistakes like the rest of us. Although the law does not require them to be absolutely accurate either in practice or in judgment, the law does require them to exercise the degree of knowledge, care, and skill ordinarily possessed by members of his or her profession under similar conditions and in like circumstances.
Medical malpractice cases are different from the run-of-the-mill personal injury cases like automobile accidents or “slip and fall” claims. South Carolina, like many other states, has a specific set of rules and procedures governing medical malpractice cases. This is why medical malpractice law is a specialty that calls for extensive experience, in-depth research, and the use of a distinguished and diverse network of expert medical practitioners. Unlike other attorneys, we don’t “dabble” in medical malpractice. At Lofton & Lofton, the majority of our personal injury cases arise from claims of negligent acts and/or omissions of doctors, nurses, hospital staff, and other medical professionals. In fact, for the past few years, Mr. Lofton has been designated as a Super Lawyer in South Carolina in the area of medical malpractice for plaintiffs.
Our Charleston medical malpractice lawyers have successfully litigated medical malpractice cases in the following areas:
Surgical Errors – Unfortunately surgical errors are an all-too-common source of medical malpractice claims. Patients are at their most vulnerable point when they are put under anesthesia and operated on by a surgeon. This type of medical negligence can often result in further surgeries, infection and sepsis, internal organ damage, immune system failure, or even death. Some common surgical errors include:
- Laceration or Perforation to Organs or Vessels
- Unnecessary Surgery
- Improper Placement or Failure to Timely Remove a Medical Device
- Improper Site for Surgery
- Anesthesia Errors
- Foreign Objects Left in Patient
Misdiagnosis/Failure to Diagnose – The first step in treating a medical condition is diagnosing what is wrong. If a doctor does not timely diagnose, misses symptoms, makes assumptions, makes the wrong diagnosis, or otherwise fails to make an accurate diagnosis, the result can be life-altering or even life-ending for a patient. Common issues in this area include:
- Failure to Diagnose Cancer
- Failure to Diagnose a Head Injury
- Failure to Diagnose Stroke or Heart attack
- Failure to Diagnose Bowel Obstruction or Perforation
- Failure to Diagnose Aortic Dissection or Cardiac Tamponade
- Misdiagnosis of an Infection
- Failure to Diagnose Pressure Sores or Ulcers
- Failure to Diagnose Fractures or Broken Bones
- Failure to Recognize or Timely Diagnose Organs Damaged During a Surgical Procedure
Emergency Medicine Malpractice – Although emergency rooms have increasingly been used as a point of primary care among patients in South Carolina, most often people visit the emergency room when they need immediate medical attention. The high influx of visitors often results in long wait times, mismanagement of patients, stressed or fatigued staff, shortage of staff, shortage of hospital beds, miscommunication among healthcare providers, not spending enough time with patients to sufficiently assess them, and failure to follow standard procedure or protocol. Some patients are prematurely discharged when they should have been admitted for further evaluation. Each one of these may be the reason for an increase in very preventable errors in the emergency room. The most common emergency room errors involve misdiagnosis or a failure to properly treat a patient’s condition.
Infections – Patients enter a hospital or healthcare facility with the belief that their health is not at risk from the treatments they receive. Although infection is a known risk for many types of surgeries, doctors and healthcare providers have a duty to monitor patients closely after surgery and to timely and properly diagnose and treat any potential infection.
Negligence Affecting Pregnancy/Childbirth – There are a number of injuries that can be caused to both a mother and child during pregnancy and childbirth. A doctor or healthcare provider may fail to identify birth defects or misdiagnose a condition in the mother prior to the birth of the infant. There may also be an error made during the birthing process itself. It doesn’t matter when the negligence occurred. If a child or mother is injured during pregnancy or labor and delivery, a medical malpractice case may arise.
Failure to Properly Monitor or Treat – Doctors and healthcare providers often cram too many patients into their schedules, cut corners in treatment, or understaff their facilities for the purpose of putting “profit over patient care.” When this happens, errors abound, causing further injuries to patients and sometimes even death. Common issues in this area include:
- Medication Errors
- Failure to Monitor Patients Properly after Surgery
- Inadequate Follow-up After Treatment
- Failure to Take a Proper Medical History Before Treatment
- Failure to Properly Examine a Patient
- Failure to Properly Consider Patient Symptoms
- Failure to Properly Act on Diagnostic Test Results
- Misreading of Radiology Images
- Communication Errors Among Treating Physicians, Consults, Specialists, and Staff
- Failure to Order Appropriate Diagnostic Testing
- Premature Discharge
A significant number of our civil litigation cases involve the representation of individuals and families who have been injured by doctors, nurses, and staff members in nursing homes. One of the hardest decisions for adult children who are unable to provide special care for their aging parents is whether or not to place them in a skilled nursing facility. Most residents of nursing homes have diminished mental capacities, limited or no mobility, or are no longer able to independently perform activities of daily living like eating, bathing, or dressing. As a result, these individuals are among the most vulnerable in society, as they are totally dependent on the care of others.
We expect nursing homes to provide a healthy and safe environment for our family members. The reported neglect and abuse of our elders poses a serious threat to our ever-expanding aging population. Rarely exposed and often ignored, nursing home negligence often persists until victims and families take legal action. Despite stringent regulations adopted by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control which place a legal duty on nursing homes to provide quality of care to their residents, these facilities are often cited for numerous violations ranging from poorly trained, incompetent, or unqualified staff, insufficient staffing, unsanitary environments, and abusive employees. Additionally, as licensed facilities providing skilled nursing services, nursing homes are also subject to liability for the negligent care and treatment of their residents under the South Carolina Medical Malpractice Act.
We have successfully litigated nursing home negligence cases in the following areas:
- Bedsores, pressure ulcers, and infections
- Repeated falls without supervision
- Failure to carry out physician orders
- Delayed assessment and/or treatment following patient injuries
- Lack of monitoring and/or supervision of identified patient care plan needs
- Failure to timely address a sudden change in mental status
- Failure to timely or properly diagnose and treat a new medical condition
- Medication errors
- Wrongful death
Since 1984 our experienced and dedicated lawyers have also assisted hundreds of clients in Charleston and throughout the cities and rural areas of South Carolina who have suffered injuries from other types of negligent or intentional acts of others. South Carolina law protects injured victims by allowing them to file civil lawsuits against people, companies, or even governmental entities whose acts or omissions cause them harm.
At Lofton & Lofton, we understand the disruptions that a serious personal injury accident causes to individuals and their families, whether it be unanticipated medical bills, loss of income, extended medical treatment, permanent impairment, or emotional distress. We take pride in meeting one-on-one with our clients to carefully listen to the facts of their personal injury case, thoroughly investigating those facts and reviewing medical records, gathering outstanding medical bills and lien invoices, and helping our clients understand and evaluate their legal options before ever filing a lawsuit.
We have successfully litigated personal injury cases in the following areas:
Serious Automobile Accidents – With the fast-paced evolution of information technology, cell phones and other devices cause frequent driver distractions. And, even with strict traffic laws forbidding driving under the influence, impaired or intoxicated drivers make poor decisions daily to drive their vehicles. As a result, South Carolina roads and highways are unfortunately not safe places to be. Our law firm has resolved hundreds of automobile accident cases involving severe physical injuries, loss of income, extended medical treatment and rehabilitation, scarring or other permanent physical impairment, and death. Our lawyers and staff are experienced in negotiating with the insurance companies frequently involved in these claims, and if we are unable to maximize your recovery through the insurance companies involved, we do not hesitate to litigate your automobile accident claim regardless of whether you were a driver or passenger.
Tractor-Trailer Wrecks – Trucking companies and their drivers are held to very high standards and must abide by numerous federal and state regulations when operating their commercial vehicles. Federal and state laws require owners of commercial vehicles to carry a minimum of $750,000 of insurance against liability for bodily injury or death resulting from a crash. If truck drivers are negligent and make reckless or careless choices while operating their commercial vehicles, they and their trucking companies could be held liable for any resulting injuries or damages sustained by victims.
Motorcycle Accidents – We understand the importance of automobile drivers to “share the road” with motorcyclists in South Carolina. Much smaller in size and weight than other motor vehicles, motorcycles are often overlooked or unnoticed by other drivers on our streets and highways. The discrepancy in size and weight between motorcycles and other automobiles often puts motorcyclists at a much higher risk of injury or death. Motorcyclists injured by the negligence of other automobile drivers may recover for their damages, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost income.
ATV/Golf Cart Accidents – The most common causes of ATV (“All-Terrain Vehicle) and golf cart accidents are defective machinery, intoxication, driver negligence, or speeding. Often, these recreational vehicles are permitted by owners to be driven by children and other inexperienced drivers who subsequently wreck the ATV or golf cart causing injuries to themselves and others. In either case, the drivers and owners of these recreational vehicles should be held accountable for their negligence.
Boating Accidents – Most often, carelessness, poor training, or alcohol consumption leads to boating accidents. Too many people believe that our waterways exist solely for entertainment, so they simply do not follow basic boater safety guidelines. As a result, boats, pontoons, jet skis, or other personal watercraft can become accidents waiting to happen. If you have been injured in a boating accident, let us help you hold the responsible party accountable for his or her own actions.
Dram Shop – In South Carolina, restaurants, bars, clubs, and other establishments that sell or serve alcoholic beverages by law are not allowed to sell alcohol to patrons under the age of 21 or to visibly intoxicated patrons. If they do, and the impaired or intoxicated patron then gets into an automobile accident causing injury to another person, the injured person may bring a claim against the establishment who sold the alcohol to the patron. This can provide another source of compensation in a personal injury or wrongful death case involving the intoxicated or impaired person’s negligence or wrongdoing. The lawyers at Lofton & Lofton are committed to helping victims of drunk driving accidents by holding at-fault parties, including establishments that serve alcoholic beverages (“Dram Shops”) accountable for their conduct.
Injuries to Children – As parents themselves, our lawyers understand that although we try our best to protect our children, dangerous conditions commonly arise in a variety of situations where children are frequently present. When the conduct of an authoritative figure, such as a school employee, physician, clergy, or family member, results in harm to a child, his or her parents may pursue a legal remedy to recover compensation for the child. We can assess the circumstances that led to your child’s injuries to determine your options and help you take legal action.
Work Injuries – The lawyers at Lofton & Lofton have been trusted advocates for injured employees for many years. Our seasoned legal team is dedicated to protecting the rights of workers who suffer on-the-job injuries or job-related illnesses. Whether your accident requires filing a Workers’ Compensation claim or personal injury claim, our attorneys can help you seek relief for your harm.
Work Zone Accidents – Construction of roads and highways usually makes road usage difficult and complicated for motorists. If accidents occur around places under construction, it is usually as a result of inadequate training of work zone crew members, truck driver fatigue, inattentive driving, traffic congestion, weather conditions, or poor signage. With decades of experience, our South Carolina personal injury lawyers at Lofton & Lofton work hard to make sure that crash victims, including those injured in work zones, receive fair compensation for their injuries.
Wrongful Death – It is hard to imagine a more difficult experience for a family than losing a loved one due to someone else’s negligence or recklessness. In South Carolina, the family of a loved one who died as a result of someone else’s negligence or recklessness may seek compensation for their financial losses and grief. For more than three decades, the attorneys at Lofton & Lofton have helped family members who have lost loved ones due to medical malpractice, nursing home negligence, and other personal injury cases involving preventable tragedies. With the belief that all lives matter, we have compassionately, aggressively, and successfully represented families of victims ranging in age from a viable stillborn baby to an individual who was nearly 100 years old.White Collar Criminal Defense
Perhaps some of our greatest legal victories have come on the criminal side of litigation in the field known as “white collar crime.” As our Charleston white collar criminal defense attorneys can explain, white collar crime is a broad term encompassing nonviolent criminal activity in which an individual utilizes some form of deception or fraud for the purpose of financial gain. White collar crimes are typically considered to be committed by “white collar workers” such as business owners, managers, public officials, and professionals.
Our founding attorney, Lionel S. Lofton, was an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of South Carolina in the 1970's through the early 1980's. As a federal prosecutor, he was involved in numerous high profile prosecutions that included political corruption, bank fraud, money laundering, and other serious federal crimes. Today, he puts his experience and tenure to work to defend those accused of the same white collar crimes he used to prosecute. Having been recognized as a Super Lawyer in South Carolina in the field of criminal defense for many years, Mr. Lofton has distinguished himself as one of the most seasoned and premier white collar criminal defense lawyers in South Carolina.
Since 1984, the Charleston white collar criminal defense lawyers at Lofton & Lofton have successfully defended individuals and businesses who have either been targeted or indicted by federal or state agencies for white collar crimes, including but not limited to the following:
- Campaign Finance Law Violations
- Corruption by Public Officials
- Tax Evasion and Income Tax Law Violations with Emphasis on Business Payroll Issues
- Money Laundering
- Bank Fraud
- Mail and Wire Fraud
- Medicare/ Medicaid Fraud