south carolina statute of limitations personal injury

South Carolina law gives a person who has been injured by another party’s action or inaction three years in most situations to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for their injuries, financial losses, and pain and suffering. If the claim is against a governmental entity, the injured party typically has two years to act.

The deadline to bring a claim is known as the statute of limitations. A statute of limitations is applied to legal claims based on the belief that evidence and witnesses’ memories degrade over time, and a deadline promotes the timely resolution of claims.

What is more important to understand about South Carolina’s statute of limitations is that it means you should seek guidance from a personal injury lawyer about your legal rights as soon as possible after someone has harmed you. It takes months to investigate an accident, obtain records, deal with insurance companies, and prepare a personal injury lawsuit. In many instances, it takes much of the time allowed under the statute of limitations.

Get Free Legal Advice and Timely Action on Your Claim

At Joye Law Firm, we can answer your questions about a personal injury claim in a free, no-pressure legal consultation. If we see a way to move forward with a claim on your behalf, we will offer to handle it with a contingency arrangement. You will not owe us any legal fee unless we recover compensation for you. In other words, we only get paid if you get paid.

Promptly contacting an experienced Joye Law Firm personal injury attorney is the best way to protect your rights if someone in South Carolina has left you with serious injuries, hospital bills, and other losses. The attorneys at Joye Law Firm have been seeking just compensation for accident and injury victims since 1968. We serve clients across South Carolina and have offices in North Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Clinton, Columbia, and Summerville.

Don’t wait if you believe that you may have reason to pursue a personal injury claim in South Carolina. Contact us now for free legal advice.

Types of Injuries Covered by the S.C. Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

The law stating South Carolina’s statute of limitations on personal injury claims is found in SC Code § 15-3-530(5) (2012). The legal language says actions for recovering compensation shall start within three years if the claim is about “assault, battery, or any injury to the person or rights of another,” unless a different limit is stated in another statute.

This statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits applies to cases involving another party’s negligence or criminal conduct that leads to accidents such as:

In a personal injury lawsuit, the injured party must establish that:

  • The party at fault owed the plaintiff a duty of care
  • The defendant, by negligence or intent, failed to meet their duty of care
  • The defendant’s action or failure to act is the most closely related cause of the person’s injury
  • The plaintiff suffered harm that can be made better through compensation

In a car accident claim, our attorneys would seek to show that the defendant failed to meet their responsibility to comply with traffic safety laws by speeding, driving while distracted, or taking some other unsafe action. We would seek to show that unsafe driving resulted in the car accident that caused the plaintiff’s injury such as a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

In addition to the head injury, a person injured in a car accident also would sustain harm through having significant medical expenses, loss of income, car repair bills, and pain and suffering. The lawsuit would demand an amount of compensation to cover our client’s losses and make our client financially whole.

What Are Exceptions to The Statute of Limitations in South Carolina?

Various state statutes establish exceptions to the three-year deadline for personal injury claims. They include:

  • Medical malpractice. A separate statute allows patients injured by medical malpractice more time to file lawsuits if a medical error was only discovered long after it occurred and certain other conditions are met. An example would be the discovery of a surgery tool accidentally left in a patient’s body.
  • Workplace injuries. Most individuals who are injured while on the job are covered by the rules of South Carolina’s workers’ compensation system. Injured workers must file a workers’ compensation claim within two years of the date of their injury or the discovery that a work injury has occurred or the diagnosis of an occupational illness.
  • Children’s injuries. Children generally have until they turn 19 years old to sue for harm suffered in childhood accidents. In claims based on sexual abuse or incest, the plaintiff has six years from when they turn 21 years old or three years from when they realize their injury and the causal relationship between the injury and the sexual abuse or incest, whichever occurs later.

Why the Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury Claims Matters

Two or three years to file a lawsuit may seem like plenty of time, but it goes by faster than you might think. A disputed claim typically has complicating factors that must be addressed.

A disputed claim requires us to investigate and compile evidence that supports what you will assert in the lawsuit – evidence that what the defendant did or failed to do caused your injury. We must be ready to rebut any claims the defense makes.

To accurately calculate what compensation you are owed, we must wait until you have completed all medical treatment, including any rehabilitation you require. For a serious injury, this may take a year or longer.

Before filing a lawsuit, we typically conduct an investigation of your injury and file your claim with the defendant’s insurance company. The insurer will pay any settlement or jury award in most cases. The insurer must be allowed time to review your claim and conduct their own investigation. They may deny the claim, or offer a settlement for less money than we demanded. This may lead to settlement negotiations, which some insurers use as a way to try to run out the clock on the filing deadline.

It is always better to start work on a personal injury claim as soon as possible so there is no undue pressure. Our attorneys keep track of how the statute of limitations applies to your case and will make sure your case is filed in a timely fashion.

Schedule a Free Case Review with Our South Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers

Contact Joye Law Firm as soon as you are able if you have been seriously injured in an accident that was someone else’s fault. We do not charge for an initial consultation and handle personal injury claims on a contingency fee basis. We do not charge legal fees unless we recover compensation for you.

Our personal injury attorneys have been helping South Carolina accident victims like you for more than 50 years. Please call us at 888-324-3100 or contact us online today to schedule your free case review.

About the Author

Ken Harrell joined Joye Law Firm in 1994, and has been the managing partner since 2006. With 30 years of experience, he protects the rights of injured South Carolinians, including cases involving workers’ compensation, car accidents, and defective products. Ken also leads the firm’s referral practice, helping to ensure that our clients receive the best possible representation. He is a past president of South Carolina Injured Workers’ Advocates, and has served as the co-chairman of this organization’s legislative affairs committee for 12 years.

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