Personal injury claims are challenging legal matters, but they are also an important means of obtaining the compensation needed to recover one’s health and well-being after being injured by someone else’s negligence.
While a personal injury claim can compensate you for your physical, financial, and emotional losses, there is a range of legal rules and restrictions that apply, and one of the most important is the South Carolina personal injury statute of limitations, which sets the time limit for how long you have to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party.
If you or someone you love has suffered an injury by another person or entity’s negligence, it’s time to consult with an experienced South Carolina personal injury attorney.
The South Carolina Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury Claims
In South Carolina, the statute of limitations on personal injury claims is three years from the date of the injury-causing accident.
Note that if you don’t become aware you’ve suffered an injury by the accident until a later date, such as if you suffer a spinal cord injury that is asymptomatic until sometime later, the clock will not begin ticking on your personal injury claim until the injury is discovered.
While three years may seem like plenty of time to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party’s insurance company, you may be surprised to learn that the negotiations involved in resolving personal injury claims can drag on considerably, and the three-year limitation can slip by unnoticed.
Another concern is that some insurance companies will engage in long, drawn-out negotiations with the intention of waiting out the clock – with no real intention of ever settling, which can leave you with no legal recourse.
The most important step you can take to get your personal injury claim started and to move in the right direction – toward a timely resolution – is working closely with a trusted personal injury attorney as soon after the accident as possible.
Exceptions to the SC Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury Lawsuits
There are two primary exceptions to the three-year time limit set by South Carolina’s statute of limitations for personal injury claims, and these include:
- When the personal injury case is against a state, county, or municipal government employee – in their capacity as such – the South Carolina personal injury statute of limitations is reduced to two years.
- When the personal injury case is against an employee of the federal government – in their capacity as such – the statute of limitations is reduced even further to one year.
Such claims are also guided by stricter rules and regulations, which makes having professional legal counsel in your corner that much more important.
A Note about Children and the Statute of Limitations
When a child suffers an injury by someone else’s negligence, things work a bit differently. The child generally has until the age of 19 to sue the at-fault party for the damages suffered in a childhood accident.
When the cause of the injuries is sexual abuse or incest, the statute of limitations is extended further, and the injured party has until whatever is the later date of the following two timelines to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party:
- 6 years from the time they turn 21
- 3 years from the time they recognize the causal relationship between the damages they’ve suffered and the incest or sexual abuse they endured
The Elements of Personal Injury Claims
Now that we covered the time personal injury lawsuit time limit, it’s important to understand a bit more about personal injury claims themselves.
To bring a successful personal injury claim in the State of South Carolina, the following specific elements must be included:
- The other party owed you what is known as a duty of care, which means they had a specific responsibility to your safety. A good example of this is the responsibility drivers have for the safety of others on the road.
- The other party failed to uphold this responsibility – or breached the duty of care owed to you. For example, if the at-fault motorist was speeding excessively, it represents a breached duty of care.
- The other party’s breached duty of care was the direct cause of the accident that left you injured.
- You suffered losses – or legal damages – that are covered by the law, which can include medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.
A dedicated personal injury attorney will help you identify the elements of your claim and move forward with your filing.
An Experienced Moncks Corner Personal Injury Lawyer Is on Your Side
If you or someone you love has suffered an injury by the negligence of another party, the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit is ticking. E. Mason West is the distinguished personal injury attorney at West Law Firm – a family firm in Moncks Corner, South Carolina.
With proud ties to the community that go back several generations, we’re here to help you. We recognize how important your claim is to your recovery and your future, and he’s well prepared to advocate for its most advantageous resolution skillfully.
To help ensure you remain well within the time constraints of the statute of limitations, don’t wait to send us a message online or call us at 843-865-6569 for more information today.
Personal Injury Case FAQs
Is it necessary to have a personal injury attorney?
Personal injury claims are so complicated, and your outcome will play such a pivotal role in your overall recovery that having an accomplished personal injury attorney on your side from the outset is always in your best interest.
What losses can I recover in a personal injury claim?
In your personal injury claim, you can seek compensation for losses that fall into the following basic categories:
- Medical costs
- Lost income
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering