The Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Cases in South Carolina
If you’ve been injured in an accident that was the fault of another party, you have the right to hold them accountable for the losses you have experienced. This right can only be acted on within a specific timeframe, called the Statute of Limitations. This timeline is established by South Carolina law to keep deadlines for filing a personal injury lawsuit.
It can be challenging to follow this deadline in the aftermath of an accident, so hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer will ensure you don’t miss your opportunity to pursue the justice you deserve by keeping within the period of time allowed for a legal action to be filed.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Cases in South Carolina?
After your accident, you have up to three years to file your personal injury lawsuit in South Carolina unless your claim involves a government entity, at which point you have only two years, according to South Carolina law. The clock is set from the time of your injuries.
Only the most narrow of exceptions allow you to file outside of South Carolina’s statute of limitations, so it’s critical that you act within a timely manner, so you don’t lose your right to receive compensation.
The Discovery Rule in The Statute of Limitations
The three years of the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits is set when you, as the injured party, know or reasonably should know about your injury. An important way this is determined is through the discovery rule, which clarifies when the clock on the statute of limitations officially begins.
In cases like car accidents, dog bites, or injuries from a defective product, the moment of injury is typically obvious and coincides with the date of the accident.
This isn’t always the case. However, if you’ve taken a harmful pharmaceutical or were exposed to dangerous chemicals, signs of injury might not become noticeable until later on. It is up to the court to then decide the date of the injury as well as when you should have been aware of your condition. To accommodate these specific cases, the statute of limitations can be extended.
Exceptions to The Statute of Limitations in South Carolina
Certain unique scenarios could extend the three-year statute of limitations in South Carolina, the first being cases that involve injured minors. In these cases, they have up to one year after their 18th birthday to file. However, even this scenario has an exception. If the minor wants to file a malpractice suit, they have seven years.
The last exception is if you were mentally incapacitated at the time of the accident, allowing you five years to file your lawsuit after the accident. Again, medical malpractice cases are excluded from this rule.
After a claim is filed, the process can go on past three years as the statute of limitations only applies to the date the case is filed. With this in mind, filing your lawsuit as quickly as possible will improve your chances of getting your compensation faster. A prompt filing will also help you establish the details of the accident, as your recollection will still be fresh. The best scenario is to contact an attorney immediately after your accident so that they can file the lawsuit on your behalf and handle all the negotiations with the other parties involved. An experienced personal injury lawyer is your best chance to hold the guilty party accountable for their actions and get the compensation you deserve.