Summerville Court System
Summerville is located primarily in Dorchester County. South Carolina is divided into 16 judicial circuits and Dorchester County is part of South Carolina’s First Judicial Circuit. The Circuit Court is the trial court of general jurisdiction. Circuit court includes a civil division, which is the Court of Common Pleas, and a criminal court, the Court of General Sessions.
The Court of Common Pleas is the Dorchester County court that has jurisdiction over personal injury cases in which the amount in dispute is more than $7,500. The Court of Common Pleas is in Dorchester County Courthouse located at 5200 E. Jim Bilton Boulevard, St. George, SC 29477. The phone number is (843) 563-0160.
Other courts also serve Summerville and Dorchester County. The Dorchester County Family Court has jurisdiction over domestic law issues including legal separation, divorce, alimony and child custody as well as over cases involving juveniles who are charged with violations of state or federal law.
The Family Court is located in the Troy Knight Judicial Complex at 212 Deming Way in Summerville, SC 29483. The phone number of the Family Court is (843) 832-0360.
The Dorchester County Clerk of Court office provides administrative support for the Circuit Court including General Sessions, Common Pleas, and the Family Court. The Clerk of Court office is in the Dorchester County Courthouse at 5200 E. Jim Bilton Boulevard, St. George, SC 29477. The phone number of the Clerk of Court is (843) 563-0160.
The Magistrate Court hears small claims civil cases, in which the amount in dispute is less than $7,500. The Magistrate Court is located in the Troy Knight Judicial Complex at 212 Deming Way, Summerville, SC 29483. The phone number for the Magistrate Court is (843) 832-0370.
The Summerville Municipal Court handles traffic violations, violations of town ordinances and criminal misdemeanors. The Summerville Municipal Court is located at 200 S. Main Street, Summerville, SC 29483. The phone number of the municipal court is (843) 875-2010.
The U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina hears federal cases including some types of product liability cases involving defective and unsafe products.
The federal district court is located in the J. Waties Waring Judicial Center at Meeting Street at Broad Street in Charleston, SC 29401. The phone number of the District Court is (843) 579-1401.
The S.C. Workers’ Compensation Commission is the state agency that administers the workers’ compensation laws in South Carolina. The commission holds hearings to resolve disputes over workers’ compensation benefits between employees and employers. The commission is divided into districts, and Summerville is in District 4.
An employee may request a hearing if the employer does not report the workplace accident, denies that the injury was job related or the employee believes that he or she did not receive full benefits. Informal conferences and hearings before deputy commissioners are held within the district.
A Summerville workers’ compensation lawyer can help you pursue full benefits and represent you in a hearing before a workers’ compensation commissioner or an appeal to the full Workers’ Compensation Commission. More information about the S.C. Workers’ Compensation Commission can be found by calling (803) 737-5700.
If you are filing for Social Security disability, your application will be reviewed at the local Office of Disability Adjudication and Review.
If you appeal a decision on your disability claim, the same office will be where your hearing occurs before an administrative law judge. In Summerville, the office is located at 3875 Faber Place Drive, North Charleston, SC 29405. The phone number is (843) 727-4511.
Frequently Asked Questions
Summerville Personal Injury Lawyer
In most cases, the statute of limitations on personal injury lawsuits in South Carolina is three years from the date that the injury occurred. If you file a lawsuit after the three-year deadline, the court will likely dismiss your case. You will lose your chance to pursue compensation in civil court. There are some exceptions to the deadlines imposed by the statute of limitations such as for injuries discovered later or if the defendant is a governmental entity. It’s best to speak with an attorney as soon as possible following a serious accident to understand your rights.
Accident victims often experience economic losses due to their injuries, such as medical bills and lost income, which is relatively easy to calculate. The value of non-economic losses, such as physical pain and emotional suffering, is more subjective. To determine how much should be sought for pain and suffering, an attorney will consider the following:
- The severity of the injury
- The accident victim’s overall health condition before the injury
- The age of the victim
- How the injury interferes with daily activities or the ability to participate in hobbies or physical activities
- The impact that the injury has on personal and professional relationships
Typically, this information is used to calculate pain and suffering compensation in one of two ways. The first is the multiplier method, in which a number between 1.5 and 5 is assigned to the subjective losses based on their severity. The total value of economic compensation is then multiplied by that number to arrive at a final figure. If you had $10,000 in economic losses and a multiplier of 2, you could receive $20,000 in total compensation.
The other way to calculate pain and suffering compensation is to assign pain and suffering a daily value and then multiply it by the number of days that the pain or suffering is expected to last. If your pain and suffering are valued at $100 per day and they last for 180 days, you could receive $18,000. This is known as the per diem method.
In South Carolina, there is no cap on non-economic damages, except for medical malpractice cases.
In a personal injury case, you can seek financial compensation for economic and non-economic losses incurred due to your injuries. Damages can include money for:
- The cost of medical treatment and rehabilitation, as well as future anticipated medical expenses
- Loss of wages or income if you cannot work or if you experience a reduction in your income
- Loss of future earning capacity if your injuries result in limitations on your ability to work
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of quality and enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Property loss
In limited circumstances, a judge or jury may award punitive damages, which are intended to punish a liable party for outrageous conduct. For example, punitive damages are often awarded to victims in drunk driving accidents.
South Carolina law requires insurance companies to investigate an injury claim and either pay it or deny it in a reasonable amount of time. This gives insurance companies some flexibility in processing injury claims. An experienced attorney at Joye Law Firm can tell you whether an insurer has failed to uphold its obligation to process your claim in a timely fashion.
Insurance companies are not allowed to engage in:
- Knowingly misrepresenting information relating to coverage
- Failing to acknowledge communications promptly
- Failing to follow reasonable standards for the prompt investigation and settlement of claims where liability has become reasonably clear
- Requiring claimants to file suit to recover the compensation they’re due
- Threatening to rescind the policy to discourage or minimize a claim
If you are injured, you may be entitled to compensation for the emotional distress that you endured because of your injuries. This distress may arise from scarring and disfigurement, fear of injury or illness, inability to perform daily tasks, and loss of companionship or consortium. Typically, you can pursue compensation reasonably related to the emotional distress that you have suffered after an injury. However, South Carolina law imposes caps on the compensation you can recover for emotional distress in a medical malpractice case.