Personal Injury Lawyer | Important Info Concerning Personal Injury Cases in SC
If you have been injured by another person, contact a personal injury lawyer immediately to learn how much your case is worth. An experienced South Carolina personal injury attorney can help you maximize the compensation you receive for your injuries — and make sure that you don’t exceed the time limit to file a claim.
This guide to South Carolina personal injury laws will discuss important factors you need to consider if you or a loved one has been harmed. For more information, speak with a South Carolina personal injury attorney from our network of experienced lawyers.*
Personal Injury | After You Are Injured
- Take care of your injuries immediately
- Contact a lawyer
- Document all injuries and any damage to property (get copies of accident reports, take pictures, keep receipts and invoices, keep notes of new symptoms, document time off from work, etc.)
- Get information from witnesses (phone numbers, addresses, statements, etc.)
- Open a claim with the other person’s insurance company
- Do not give any statements to anyone other than the police before speaking with a lawyer
- Do not sign any releases of liability or potential claims before speaking with a lawyer
Personal Injury | Statute of Limitations
You have a limited amount of time to file your personal injury claim in South Carolina. The statute of limitations dictates how long you have to file the claim with the court after you are injured. In some cases, the statute of limitations starts when the person becomes aware of the injury or should have become aware of the injury (the Discovery Rule). South Carolina statute of limitations laws may differ from those of other states.
SOUTH CAROLINA STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS LAWS
- Type of Claim: Statute of Limitation:
- Negligence (car accidents, slip and fall, toxic torts, etc.) 3 years
- Assault or Battery 3 years
- Defamation 2 years
- Strict Liability 3 years
- Products Liability 3 years
- Wrongful Death 3 years
Personal Injury | Types of Claims: Who Is Liable?
The person or company who was negligent is liable. However, South Carolina uses a legal doctrine called modified comparative negligence to assign fault. This system of assigning fault has two important aspects to it. First, the injured party may recover only if he or she is less than 50 percent at fault. Second, if the injured party was also negligent, the original negligent party is only liable for the percentage of damages he or she caused.
For example, if you are in a car accident where the person who hit you ran a red light while you were speeding, the jury can find that running the red light was 80 percent negligent while your speeding was 20 percent negligent. You will only be rewarded 80 percent of your total damages. However, if the jury found that your speeding was 55 percent negligent, then you would not be able to recover at all.
Assault or Battery (Intentional Torts)
The person who deliberately caused the injury is liable.
The speaker or writer of the negative statement and anyone who repeats that statement is liable.
The person or company engaging in the dangerous activity — or who has, in some way, helped to put the product on the market (see below) — is liable. In strict liability cases involving damage caused by an animal, the person or company responsible for the animal is liable.
Anyone who has had a role in putting the product on the market could be liable. Frequently, though not always, this person or company must be someone involved in the sale of the product in the regular course of business.
Whoever would be liable for the activity that caused the death is liable.
Personal Injury | Damages You May Receive
- Reimbursement for medical treatment and lost wages
- Reimbursement for damage to or loss of use of property that occurred as a result of the injury
- Loss of consortium (loss of services of your spouse: income, companionship, child care, etc.)
- Money for emotional distress and/or pain and suffering
- Injury to reputation
- Punitive damages (money given as punishment)
Personal Injury | Limitations on Damages
Generally, there are no limitations on damages you receive that compensate you for your injuries (such as reimbursement for medical expenses and lost wages), although some limitations do exist in certain situations. However, your estimation of damages must be reasonably certain, especially for those damages projected for the future, such as future medical expenses or future lost wages.
Your non-economic damages, or those damages that are not based on money you actually paid, are more subjective and may be limited by statute or by circumstances of your situation. These damages may include pain and suffering and the loss of the services and companionship of your spouse.
Punitive damages may be awarded when the behavior of the person that injured the victim was willful or with a reckless disregard for the high likelihood of harm. In South Carolina, punitive damages must not exceed three times the amount of compensatory damages or $500,000. Under some circumstances (such as a felony conviction for the crime), the cap may be four times compensatory damages or $2 million. There are still other circumstances (such as intentional harm) where there is no cap at all except that the punitive damages must not be unconstitutionally high; typically the upper limit is nine times compensatory damages unless extreme circumstances exist. There may be some exceptions to these limits.