What Is the Statute of Limitations for a South Carolina Car Accident Lawsuit?

January 25, 2023

Unexpected injuries can lead to exorbitant medical bills, loss of income, and several other unpredictable expenses. If you were injured in a car accident and the related expenditures are adding up quickly, you might be thinking about how best to seek compensation for your casualties.

Based on the circumstances, you may have grounds for a lawsuit against the negligent party or parties liable for the incident. It is significant to act quickly, however, because the crucial evidence could be time-sensitive. In such cases, you have a restricted amount of time to file a claim if the other party declines to pay a fair settlement.

In South Carolina, the standard statute of limitations for personal injury or car accident lawsuits is three years. It starts from the moment the accident happened. A competent Columbia auto accident lawyer from the Connell Law Firm can help you demand the compensation you deserve.

Is South Carolina a “No-Fault” State?

Some states follow a “no-fault” procedure for car accidents, in the case of car insurance, but South Carolina isn’t one of them. If a person causes a car accident in South Carolina, they can be financially liable for all resulting physical injuries and property damage.

Of course, from a practical perspective, the car insurance company of the at-fault driver will engross most of these losses, up to the penalty coverage limits of the driver.

What Car Accident Losses Are Paid in South Carolina?

As mentioned above, the person at fault for a car accident in South Carolina is on the monetary hook for the full range of resulting damages. These losses usually include:

  • The expense of one-time and future medical treatment for injuries suffered
  • The cost of fixing or substituting any vehicle damaged during the car accident
  • The lost wages and other monetary losses as a result of the injuries
  • The mental and physical suffering resulted due to the outcome of the accident

The South Carolina Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Lawsuits

A statute of limitations is a significant state law that establishes an inflexible time limit on people’s right to take a lawsuit to court.

South Carolina law sets the statute of limitations for different types of cases that result from a car accident. Whether it’s for car accident injury, vehicle damage, or wrongful death caused by a car crash, this pre-established law provides three years to file a lawsuit.

So, it means that if a person was killed or injured in a car crash—whether a driver, passenger, motorcyclist, or pedestrian—or their vehicle or other property was damaged, they or a representative should get the lawsuit filed against the person at-fault driver within three years.

When Does the Statute of Limitations Start?

For cases with personal injury and property damage, the three-year statute of limitations in South Carolina starts on the date of the accident. But in case of a wrongful death lawsuit caused because of a car accident, the statute of limitations starts on the day of the victim’s death, which could be after the date of the accident.

Statute of Limitations law book and judge gavel

What If Someone Misses the Statute of Limitations Deadline?

If you attempt to file a car accident lawsuit after the designated time limit has passed, the defendant can point out that discrepancy to the court as part of a motion to dismiss. The court will almost clearly consent to the action unless some rare exception applies and that can be the end of your case. That’s why it’s crucial to understand how the statute applies to your situation.

Even if you’re convinced that your case will be settled after the car insurance claim procedure, you want to take off plenty of time to file a lawsuit in case you need to—if for no other reason than that, you’ll have more leverage during settlement talks.

If you are worried about missing the filing deadline, you should contact an experienced South Carolina car accident attorney. They will help you keep track of the statute of limitations.

Can the Statute of Limitations Be Extended?

Although the statute of limitations, like many other regulations, is flexible for certain exceptions, those situations are limited. South Carolina loosens the limitations of three-year for some individuals according to their unusual vulnerability.  For instance, if the claim depends on an allegation of medical malpractice, the lawsuit deadline extension on the time to file is not more than seven years.

Why the Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury Claims Matters

Two or three years to file a lawsuit may appear like plenty of time, but it goes by quicker than you assume. An unsettled claim typically has complicating aspects that must be attended to as soon as possible.

A disputed claim requires you to thoroughly investigate and gather as much evidence to support what you want to proclaim in the lawsuit. It may include evidence about how the negligence of the defendant caused your injury. You should be prepared to rebut any claims the defense tries to make.

To precisely estimate the compensation you are owed, it’s best to wait until you complete all medical treatment, containing any rehabilitation you mandate. For serious injuries, it may take a year or even longer.

Before filing a lawsuit, an investigation of the injuries suffered is conducted. The car accident claim is filed with the defendant’s insurance company. The insurer will pay any compensation or jury commendation in specific cases.

The insurer is allowed some time to check out your claim and conduct their own investigation. In most cases, they deny the claim or propose a settlement for a lesser than demanded amount. This situation might lead to compensation negotiations, which some insurers use as a method to run out the clock on the filing limitation.

It is always reasonable to start working on a car accident injury claim as soon as possible so there is no excessive pressure. Professional Columbia auto accident lawyers can help determine, how the statute of limitations applies to a case situation and will ensure that your case is filed timely.

Contact Our Columbia Personal Injury Attorneys Without Delay!

If you have been seriously injured in an accident that was someone else’s fault, it’s best to contact competent attorneys at the Connell Law Firm as soon as you can. We have been assisting accident victims like you for many years, reach out to us now!

Our firm does not charge for an initial consultation and our Columbia personal injury attorneys will handle your car accident claim on a contingency fee basis as well. This means that our lawyers won’t charge legal fees until we recover compensation for you.

Here are some FAQ pages that you might be interested in:

What Do I Do If I Think the Nursing Home Staff is Stealing from My Mom?

What are the Different Types of Nursing Home Neglect?

Why Are There More Drunk Driving Accidents in Summer?