Accidental injuries may occur at work, in the hospital, on vacation, during a sporting event or in a car accident, just to name a few. When personal injury is caused at the hands of another in South Carolina, the statute of limitations gives an accident victim three years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit in the state’s civil court system in accordance with S.C. Code Ann. section 15-3-530. If a legal claim is not filed before the three-year window closes, the state’s civil court system will likely refuse to hear the case unless there is an exception. An exception can include a person becoming aware of an injury they sustained, but did recognize the impact of it until sometime in the future, but when the injury can be proven to be due to the named accident in the legal claim, a filing window may be extended.
Compensation above insurance.
If you plan on pursuing a personal injury claim for damages over what the insurance company pays, whether it is car insurance, homeowners’ insurance, medical malpractice insurance or work-related insurance, an in-depth analysis of all reports and data related to an accident should be undertaken. This review will be used to determine the value attached to injuries, damages and residual pain and suffering.
South Carolina is a “modified comparative negligence” state. This means you can still recover damages in a personal injury lawsuit, but your award will be reduced according to your share of negligence. Under this rule, the amount of compensation you’re entitled to receive will be reduced by an amount that is equal to your percentage of fault. But if you’re found to bear more than 50 percent of the legal blame, you can’t collect anything at all from other at-fault parties.
Monetary awards in South Carolina can be capped out depending on the type of accident or injury sustained. For example, in most medical malpractice cases, non-economic damages meant to compensate for pain and suffering are limited to $350,000 per defendant, and $1.05 million overall. These caps do not apply to all personal injury cases across the board, only those stemming from medical malpractice.
Another South Carolina damage cap law that does apply to all injury cases is one that covers punitive damages, which is compensation that is awarded to an injured plaintiff but is intended to punish the defendant for particularly outrageous behavior. In South Carolina, punitive damages in injury cases are limited to the greater of three times actual damages, or $500,000.
Car insurance, workers compensation insurance, medical malpractice insurance and homeowners’ insurance are usually mandatory. Therefore if a personal injury claim is necessary, it can be filed with the appropriate insurance company in an attempt to pay for damages and injuries related to a claim. However, legal action may be appropriate when the amounts needed to compensate a victim for a personal injury exceed insurance amounts and/or are longer lasting causing permanent disability, scarring or wrongful death. In those cases, the assistance of a personal injury attorney is required to achieve the best outcome.
Seek legal counsel.
If you have been involved in a car accident in Columbia, contact an experienced attorney at the Louthian Law Firm to determine next actions. It may save you time and aggravation regarding a review for a potential civil or criminal claim and settlement.