People who are injured in accidents that were someone else’s fault have the right to hold the responsible parties liable for the losses they experience. Timely action is crucial to protect the right to compensation. South Carolina law places a strict deadline on filing a personal injury lawsuit. This is known as the statute of limitations
The attorneys at the Jebaily Law Firm understand the challenges that South Carolina families face in the aftermath of an accident, from car accidents to work injuries. We fight to seek the best possible legal outcome for our clients. We help injured people pursue the justice that they need and deserve within the statute of limitations (the period of time during which legal action must be filed).
In South Carolina, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is three years, which means that injury victims have up to three years to file a claim after an accident. The clock for the three years begins when victim is injured. When the claim is against a government entity, the statute of limitations reduces to two years.
South Carolina’s statute of limitations is strictly enforced with only very narrow exceptions. It’s critical to take timely action to prevent losing your right to pursue compensation.
The Statute of Limitations and the Discovery Rule
The statute of limitations places time constraints on a plaintiff’s ability to take legal action. The discovery rule plays an important role in establishing when this time limit begins. The discovery rule clarifies that the clock on the statute of limitations officially begins when an accident victim knows or reasonably should know about their injury.
In many cases, the moment that someone knows they have been injured is obvious enough and typically coincides with the day that the accident occurred. For example, if you’re injured in a car accident, bitten by a neighbor’s dog, or injured using a defective product, the day of the injury is probably not in dispute.
However, not all cases are as clear. People who have taken harmful pharmaceuticals or are exposed to dangerous chemicals over a period of time often develop serious physical conditions slowly. In these cases, a court often decides the initial date of the injury along with when the victim was aware or should have been aware of their condition. In these instances, the statute of limitations can be extended to accommodate for this discrepancy, but it is still important to seek the help of a lawyer as soon as possible.
Exceptions that apply to the six-year discovery rule primarily concern medical malpractice cases that involve surgical tools left in the patient’s body after surgery. In these cases, victims have two years to file upon discovery of the foreign object, no matter when the surgery took place, and the overarching six year deadline does not apply.
Extending the Statute of Limitations
The three-year statute of limitations in South Carolina can be lengthened in certain special instances. The first special allowance regards minors who have sustained injuries. If a minor suffers an injury in an accident, they have up to one year after their 18th birthday to file. An exception to this is for medical malpractice cases. If a minor wants to file a suit alleging malpractice, they have only seven years to do so, and the 18th-birthday qualification does not apply.
The final exception to the statute of limitations in South Carolina is for those who are mentally incapacitated at the time of the accident. These victims are allowed five years to bring suit after the time of their accident. However, cases regarding medical malpractice allegations are excluded from this five-year rule, leaving people with the standard limitation of three years to pursue these claims.
Does a Case Have to Be Completed Within the Statute of Limitations?
The statute of limitations only applies to the date the case is filed. As long as a victim files within the allotted timeframe, the case can legally proceed, even if the resolution extends beyond the statute of limitations. However, accident victims are highly encouraged to take the legal steps that they need to take as soon as possible to move the claim along as quickly as possible.
Filing a case sooner can often help accident victims more quickly recover the financial relief they need. A prompt filing is also helpful from a litigation standpoint, as it helps lawyers establish the details of the accident with their clients. As time passes, accident victims’ recollection of the details tend to fade, so it’s important to get the details on paper right away.
Why You Need to Talk to a Lawyer as Soon as possible
The lawyers at the Jebaily Law Firm have been fighting for injured South Carolinians for Over 50 Years. If you have been injured in an accident or have been the victim of medical malpractice and need help filing a claim, do not wait to get help.
Turn to a law firm that has helped people just like you pursue compensation for their losses. If you are concerned about the expense of obtaining a lawyer, stop worrying. At the Jebaily Law Firm, we do not charge clients for our services unless and until we are able to secure compensation for their injuries.
To get started now, call us or contact us online to discuss your case with a member of our team. The consultation is free and comes with no strings attached.