Personal Injury -- Plaintiff Law
South Carolina Personal Injury Law
What if you are injured, but someone else is responsible for causing your injury? If you are now facing substantial physical and financial consequences of that action, you may be able to pursue a financial recovery to make up for your loss.
The impact of injuries and property damage can be felt long after the initial harm. South Carolina personal injury cases aim to right the wrongdoing you suffered and allow you to seek compensation to get you back on your feet.
These claims frequently involve injuries from:
- Auto and trucking accidents
- Dangerous hazards on the property of another person or business
- Defective products or warning labels
- Medical malpractice
- Intentionally harmful acts
Wherever you are in South Carolina, From Charleston to Myrtle Beach, it is important to know your rights when bringing an injury claim and how to find a knowledgeable attorney to help you get started.
South Carolina Statute of Limitations
South Carolina law gives a specific time period you have to file your claim, also known as the statute of limitations. Typically, the clock begins running at the time of your injury, but there are some exceptions that allow this period to start at the time the injury reasonably could have been discovered.
The statute of limitations for negligence claims in South Carolina is three years.
Medical malpractice claims may be brought within three years of the date of incident that caused the injuries, or within three years from the date when the injuries should have been discovered. However, no claims are allowed more than six years from the actual date of the incident that caused the injuries. For cases involving a foreign object, you have two years from the date of discovery to file a lawsuit against the medical provider.
Injuries from intentional acts like assault, battery, slander, or libel, you only have two years to file a lawsuit.
Liability for South Carolina Injury Claims
One of the first steps of bringing an injury claim is determining the type of claim you have and who to hold liable for your injuries.
Negligence Claims in South Carolina
In order to recover damages, a negligence claim in South Carolina requires four elements to demonstrate the person who hurt you:
- Owed you a duty of reasonable care
- Breached their duty by acting unreasonably
- Caused your injuries through their unreasonable actions
- Caused you to suffer damages
South Carolina uses the modified comparative negligence approach, which examines any fault your own negligent actions played in your injuries. Under this approach, your damages are diminished in proportion to your percentage of fault for your injuries. But you cannot receive any damages if your fault exceeds the fault of the person you are bringing the claim against.
Car Accident Claims in South Carolina
South Carolina uses a fault system, meaning you can hold a person who hit you liable for damages by proving they caused the accident due to negligent, reckless, or intentional conduct. After establishing liability, the auto insurance policy of the other driver is responsible for paying your damages.
The required minimum liability coverage under South Carolina law is $15,000 per person, $30,000 per accident for personal injuries, and $10,000 for property damage from the accident. If you are not satisfied with the settlement offer from the other driver’s insurance company, you may need to file a lawsuit and litigate the claim in court.
For situations where the other driver doesn’t have insurance or you are in a hit-and-run accident in Spartanburg, your own insurance policy applies the uninsured motorist provision to pay for your damages.
Damages for South Carolina Injury Claims
The damages you may recover for your injuries depend on a number of factors. While attorneys are prohibited from promising clients a specific amount, it is helpful to work with an attorney who understands your case and the damages you are eligible for so you can receive proper compensation for your losses.
Economic damages result in recovery of expenses like your medical bills, property damage, time out of work, and other monetary debts you incur as a result of your injuries.
Non-economic damages are to compensate you for pain and suffering, emotional suffering, loss of limbs or disfigurement, or loss of consortium in wrongful death claims. For medical malpractice cases, these damages are limited to $350,000 per person or $1.05 million for claims involving multiple people with the same injury.
Some cases involving particularly intentionally malicious or outrageous behavior, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the person who caused your injury. When a court elects to award these damages, the amount cannot exceed three times the economic damages or $500,000, whichever is greater.
For claims against the government, you may recover no more than $300,000 worth of damages.
Working With An Attorney
When dealing with severe physical injuries and substantial financial losses, hiring an experienced injury attorney from the beginning of your claim may be in your best interest. Given the complicated nature of these claims, your attorney can handle the filing requirements and extensive legal research along with scheduling hearing and trial dates and hiring expert witnesses.
Paying for an attorney may seem out of reach, but most injury attorneys offer free consultations to discuss your situation and their fees. Often, injury attorneys use contingency fee agreements, where you agree to pay them an agreed upon percentage of your potential damages you receive from your claim. This allows your attorney to get to work on your claim without demanding a large payment upfront.
For smaller claims with minor damages under $5,000, you have the option to handle your claim yourself in small claims court. Some auto accident claims can be settled successfully between your insurance company and the insurance company of the person who hit you. However, if the settlement offer is inadequate or the insurance companies cannot agree on fault, you may end up wanting to move forward with litigation and hiring an attorney to assist you.