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Personal Injury Law Blog

How Long Do I Have to File an Injury Claim in South Carolina?

Experiencing harm due to another person’s negligence can make anyone feel overwhelmed. While you may be able to settle your case with insurance, there are times when it may be in your best interest to take your case to court.

Many folks do not realize that there is a limited amount of time to file a personal injury claim. While there may be exceptions that allow you to toll the statute of limitations, you generally only have three years to file a lawsuit.

Our Greenville personal injury attorneys know that you need an advocate on your side in the courtroom. With a proven track record, we will gather the necessary documentation and evidence to successfully prove your case in court.

When Does the Statute of Limitations Begin to Run?

In South Carolina, you are given three years from when you knew or should have known that negligence occurred, known as actual or constructive knowledge, respectively. A person should have known that he or she had a “cause of action” if it would have been discovered through reasonable negligence.

The statute of limitations is designed to preserve evidence. Once three years have passed, the credibility of the evidence may be questioned. The courts do not want to try cases with substandard evidence since any conclusions that are drawn may be based on inaccurate information.

If you miss the limitation period, you will be barred from recovery. However, there are circumstances in which you may be able to file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations has run out.

Extending the Limitation Period

There are exceptions that may allow you to have extra time to have your case litigated, known as tolling the statute of limitations. In South Carolina, these include:

If You are a Minor

Children and adolescents who experience a personal injury are given up to one year after their 18th birthday to file a personal injury claim.

A Person Who Is Deemed Legally Incompetent

If a person is legally incompetent, he or she will be given up to one year after recovery to file a personal injury lawsuit. This exception is often used when the disability is caused by an accident.

If You Are Unaware of Your Injuries

To pursue legal recourse, you must first be aware of your injuries. In the case of motor vehicle accidents, dangerous products, and premises liability, the cause of your injuries is usually straightforward.

This is not always the case in the event of surgical complications, pharmaceutical errors, and misdiagnoses. Take, for example, if a scalpel was left inside of you following surgery. Until you begin experiencing pain, you may not know that anything is wrong.

South Carolina’s statute of limitations allows a person to commence a personal injury action when the individual should have known about the misconduct.

In determining constructive knowledge, the court will examine the evidence and determine if a person of reasonable intelligence would have been able to infer that a certain event caused subsequent injuries. Once your injury is discovered or should have been discovered, you will still only have three years to file a claim.

Speak with a Greenville Personal Injury Attorney Today

Even if you think the statute of limitations has passed, it is always worthwhile to consult with a personal injury attorney. A fresh perspective may be just what is needed to examine your case. Contact us online or by telephone at 864-301-8767 to speak with one of our Greenville personal injury attorneys.