Personal Injury Law in South Carolina

Were you hurt due to another’s negligence in South Carolina? If so, it may have far-reaching consequences such as a loss of wages or extensive medical treatment. Personal injury law allows an injured person to get damages if the responsible person acted recklessly. A personal injury attorney in South Carolina can help navigate the lawsuit to make sure you receive all of the compensation you deserve.

What Is Personal Injury Law?

Personal injury law in South Carolina relates to the legal process of getting compensation for an injury caused by someone else’s negligent behavior. These cases involve one party, the plaintiff, trying to seek financial compensation for expenses incurred and money lost as a result of the defendant’s reckless behavior. These cases involve both parties’ insurance companies and may even settle before proceeding to litigation.

Examples of Personal Injury Claims in South Carolina

Some personal injury claims are more common than others. However, almost any incident that ends with a physical or mental injury could qualify, depending on the circumstances.

A few of the most common personal injury claims are:

  • Car Accidents
  • Slip and Fall
  • Dog Bites
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Workplace Accidents
  • Burn Injuries

Most Common Injuries in South Carolina 

South Carolina emergency rooms treated 487,015 individuals for non-fatal injuries in 2013, with 34,775 cases requiring hospitalization according to figures published by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. Falls were the leading cause of these injuries, responsible for a combined 151,919 emergency department visits and hospitalizations. Motor vehicle crashes were the second-most common injury cause with 92,502 emergency department visits and 4,439 hospitalizations. Unfortunately, more than two-thirds of injury deaths resulted from unintentional injuries in 2014.

Steps in a Personal Injury Lawsuit in South Carolina

Once you determine that you wish to proceed forward with a personal injury action in South Carolina

A lawsuit begins when a complaint is filed with the court and served on the defendant. The complaint alleges your assertion as the plaintiff that the defendant’s negligent behavior resulted in damage to your body or mental state. As the process proceeds forward, you may have to go through depositions, independent medical evaluations and document production. This discovery process is lengthy and ends in either settlement or a court appearance.

If your contented amount is $7,500 or less in South Carolina, your case can be handled by a Magistrate Court. Larger amounts must be filed in Circuit Court. The filing fee you’ll need to pay is relatively expensive at $150. If you don’t know where the defendant lives, state law lays out a process that allows you to publicize your suit via newspaper under extreme circumstances.

South Carolina Personal Injury Settlement

With most personal injury cases, insurance companies and injured parties prefer settlement negotiations rather than going to court for a trial. You may wonder how much you should seek in your settlement and factors that impact the final amount.

The South Carolina Department of Health estimates $1 billion in preventable medical costs in the state each year due to injuries. While initial medical treatment for your injuries may come at great cost, it will not necessarily comprise the majority of your losses. Oftentimes, the cost of continuing treatment and prolonged mental and emotional suffering can carry more weight. Even in settlement negotiations completely outside of the courtroom, a competent legal team will help you navigate the state’s 51 percent fault law so you can receive the appropriate settlement amount for the severity of your injuries.

If the other party has insurance, the insurance company likely wants to settle out of court to avoid leaving the final settlement decision to a jury. Settlements benefit injured parties as much as they do insurance companies. This is because accepting a settlement means you receive compensation sooner rather than later. Also, by going to court in SC, that means you risk not receiving any compensation at all.

Damage Awards in South Carolina

If your South Carolina personal injury lawsuit goes before a judge or jury, your legal team will be ready with a request for damages. In personal injury cases, there are three types of damage awards a court may order the defendant to pay to compensate you for the damage he or she inflicted.

Special compensatory damages reimburse you for things such as lost income, medical bills and insurance deductibles. You submit receipts proving these losses.

General compensatory damages are subjective. If you receive special compensatory damages, you may also collect general damages. If your injury was particularly painful, you might request that the judge order the defendant compensate you for the pain and anguish.

Punitive damages are the most rarely awarded and are up to the court. The judge or jury may determine that the defendant’s negligence was particularly heinous and the resulting injury to you was equally horrific. 

In South Carolina, there are no limits on special compensatory damages. There are some limits on general compensatory damages involving medical malpractice cases. When the case involves a single private healthcare provider, the limit is set at $350,000. However, multiple claimants may each be able to receive up to this award figure. Punitive damages are capped at $500,000 or three times the plaintiff’s injury losses.

Statute of Limitations in South Carolina Personal Injury Law?

The injured party may have a set amount of time to file suit for a personal injury case. State law establishes statutes of limitation. Commonly, the plaintiff’s injury or discovery of the injury begins the statute of limitations. However, the latter factor is trickier, as the plaintiff will have to prove when the injury was first realized.

The opportunity to file a claim typically lasts three years after the discovery of your injury in South Carolina. In a situation involving a government entity, that opportunity lasts only two years.

We recommend you speak with a personal injury lawyer for this matter. Don’t wait too long and miss out on receiving the compensation you deserve for your injury. 

Work With an Experienced South Carolina Lawyer

Pursue a personal injury claim in South Carolina against the responsible person if you are dealing with an injury caused by someone else. One of our experienced lawyers can help you navigate your personal injury claim.  We can even help you connect with an attorney across South Carolina state lines.

Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!

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