What is the Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims in South Carolina?

When you sustain an injury due to the negligence of another person or entity, you can ideally get some peace of mind in knowing that you have the right to pursue compensation for your damages. Complications can arise, however, if you do not file your claim within the South Carolina statute of limitations.

At Shealey Law Firm, our team of Columbia personal injury lawyers proudly serves injured people in and around Columbia, SC. We are ready to answer any questions you might have about filing a personal injury claim, and we will support your case by building a timeline to help ensure that you receive a favorable settlement within the legal time limit.

When Does the Clock Start Ticking for the South Carolina Statute of Limitations?

The South Carolina personal injury statute of limitations is three years from the date of an accident or injury. This means that, in most cases, the clock starts ticking at the moment in time the accident happens. This is especially true regarding major accidents, such as a car crash, where there is little uncertainty as to when you incurred your injuries or damages.

Eyewitness testimony, police reports, and medical records all make it clear when exactly an accident or injury occurred, so there isn’t much room for doubt as to the timeframe in which you can file a claim for a major accident.

However, there are cases when ambiguity is a factor. In such cases, South Carolina statute of limitations guidelines do provide some flexibility.

What Is the Discovery Rule?

South Carolina’s discovery rule states that the filing period starts at the point when an injured individual knows or should know that they incurred damage or injury, assuming the individual exercises due diligence. This rule does not typically apply to car accidents and other hazardous circumstances, as there is an expectation that a person involved in such an accident should seek medical attention regardless of the severity of the incident.

The discovery rule may extend the statute of limitations for your personal injury claim if you suffered an injury under more subtle circumstances. For example, slip-and-fall accidents and instances of medical malpractice can cause you to experience an injury without your knowledge. Even if you exercise due diligence, you might not discover an injury from your accident until much later.

Are There Extensions and Exceptions for the Statute of Limitations?

In addition to circumstances where the discovery rule applies, other situations might also extend the South Carolina statute of limitations. South Carolina’s “tolling” rule states that the time limit for filing a personal injury claim does not begin for a minor under the age of 18 until they come of age to file on their behalf. Similarly, the tolling rule extends the statute of limitations for injured individuals who are currently unable to file due to a disability or lack of mental capacity.

There is also an exception to the length of the personal injury statute of limitations in South Carolina when filing against a government entity, charitable organization, or hospital. With so many factors to consider based on the type of organization you are filing against, it is important to consult with your personal injury attorney to fully understand the timeline you are facing.

Is the Statute of Limitations Different for Federal and State Claims?

If you sustain an injury due to the negligence of a government agency, such as if you slip and fall while on federal or state property, you still have the right to pursue a personal injury claim against the at-fault party. However, the South Carolina statute of limitations functions differently when you file a claim against federal or state institutions. In these cases, the time limit for taking legal action is only two years from the date of or the discovery of an injury.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Workers’ Compensation Claims?

The process of pursuing a workers’ compensation claim is different from most other personal injury claims. Not only are there different factors and different forms of evidence to consider, but the statute of limitations for a workers’ compensation claim in South Carolina is notably shorter, with a time limit of only two years following the date of a workplace accident.

Pursuing a workers’ compensation claim also requires you to report the incident to your employer. It is important to document a workplace accident or injury within one year to ensure that you remain eligible to receive suitable compensation.

How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help You?

In the days and months following a serious injury, you already have enough to worry about without taking legal processes and time limits into account. Working closely with a personal injury lawyer ensures you can focus on rest and recovery while also meeting the specific South Carolina statute of limitations for your case.

At Shealey Law Firm, we help with your personal injury claim by:

  • Investigating the accident that caused your injury
  • Collecting evidence to establish the other party’s fault
  • Helping you file your claim and submit other paperwork
  • Negotiating with the insurance company and other lawyers
  • Representing you in court if you decide to sue

Contacting your personal injury lawyer early on in the process can make all the difference when it comes to meeting the statute of limitations. If you do not file on time, there is a risk of losing the ability to secure a settlement even if you have definitive evidence on your side.

File Your Personal Injury Claim on Time With Shealey Law Firm

The South Carolina statute of limitations is three years from the date of discovery of an injury, but that does not mean it is wise to delay filing. At Shealey Law Firm, we promptly build your case based on a timeline that you can follow without stress as you recover from your accident. Contact us today to set up an initial consultation.


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