South Carolina Personal Injury Statute of Limitations Overview
If you are considering filing a personal injury claim in South Carolina, you first need to know whether you have a legitimate claim for damages. One way to figure this out is simply contacting an attorney for a consultation. Your attorney will go over the basics with you and let you know whether your claim is valid.
Before you go speak with an attorney, however, you can go over the basics of your personal injury claim yourself. That way, when you go for your initial consultation, you’ll know what to expect.
Two of the most important elements that your attorney will look at are the SC statute of limitations for personal injury and the basic elements of a personal injury claim.
If you don’t file your claim within the personal injury statute of limitations in South Carolina, you won’t have a valid claim.
Similarly, if your case doesn’t meet the basic elements of a South Carolina personal injury claim, it won’t hold up in court. After reading this piece, you’ll have the background knowledge necessary to make your own preliminary assessment.
South Carolina’s Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims
Statutes of limitations limit the amount of time after a given event that a party can initiate legal action. In criminal law, the statute of limitations limits the amount of time the government has to charge someone with a crime.
Once it expires, the government can no longer prosecute that specific crime. Statutes of limitations also apply in civil claims. Depending on the subject of the claim, different statutes of limitations apply.
For personal injury claims, the statute of limitations for suing in South Carolina is three years from the date of the injury. One notable exception arises when an injury is not discovered right away. In those cases, the statute of limitations only starts to run when the injury is discovered.
Another important exception is that claims against state, county, or municipal government employees is subject to a shorter, 2-year Statute of Limitation, and claims against federal government employees are subject to a 1-year Statute of Limitation. You should contact our office at the earliest possible time to ensure that your rights are protected.
It is important to keep the statute of limitations in mind even before you file a lawsuit. Negotiations can take a long time, and sometimes powerful parties try to exploit this.
Their hope is that they can drag negotiations out as long as possible with no intention to settle. Then, by the time you realize they have no intention of settling, it’s too late to file a lawsuit.
You can avoid this pitfall by retaining a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. That way, the defending party will take negotiations seriously. After all, they know that you can file a lawsuit at the drop of a hat.
Does My Claim Fall Within the South Carolina Personal Injury Statute?
The basics of SC’s personal injury statute follow the same pattern as other states. Liability for personal injury is based on either negligence liability or strict liability. Let’s go over negligence liability first.
Negligence liability is the most common form of liability for personal injuries. There are four basic elements that your claim must meet:
- The existence of a duty of care between you and the defendant;
- A breach of that duty of care;
- Subsequent real damages; and
- A causal relationship between the damages and the breach in question.
Negligence liability applies in many cases of personal injury, but not all. If someone hits you while they are riding their skateboard, for example, negligence liability would apply.
In other situations, strict liability applies. Strict liability is not concerned with breaching a duty of care. Instead, a breach is assumed once you show damages and a causal relationship.
Strict liability applies, most often, to dog bites and defective consumer products. If you still aren’t sure whether your case meets these elements, consult with your attorney.
Start Your Claim with the Peace Law Firm Today
If you have a personal injury claim, it is best to act as soon as possible. Like other statutes of limitations, the South Carolina personal injury statute of limitations has a way of sneaking up on people. However, you can avoid any issues with the statute of limitations by contacting an experienced personal injury attorney right away.
At the Peace Law Firm, we have nearly two decades of experience in helping South Carolinians recover the compensation they deserve. You didn’t cause your injury, so why should you have to pay for it?
Whether you are ready to start negotiating, need to file a lawsuit as soon as possible, or just want help assessing your claim, we have you covered. Our goal is to help you. Call us today for a free consultation!