Legal Information on South Carolina Law

What is the Statute of Limitations for an Injury in SC?

The statute of limitations is a very important rule that governs how long you have to bring a lawsuit after you have been injured. For this reason, if you are injured it is very important that you don’t delay and speak to a lawyer as soon as possible.

The statute of limitations for most personal injuries is three (3) years from the date of injury as provided by SC Code 15-3-530. However, for medical malpractice injuries it is slightly more complex. If medical malpractice is your issue, then the date is three years from the date of discovery or date your injury reasonably ought to have been discovered or 6 years from the data of treatment.

Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Lawsuits

Each different cause of action has a different statute of limitations. DON’T DELAY! If you think you may have a case contact a lawyer

Questions to ask yourself first:

  1. Have you or your property been injured?
  2. Did the injury occur less than three years from injury or when you discovered the injury?

The statute of limitations was created with the purpose of ensuring that lawsuits were resolved as soon as possible to prevent people from bringing lawsuits long after the injury has occurred. All you really need to know is if you were injured and it has been less than three years from when you discovered the injury you should speak to a lawyer.

If you were partly at fault, then you still may be entitled to recovery if you were injured within the past three years.

If you are unsure of whether or not you discovered the injury within the past three years, please call one of our lawyers and we will help provide you with guidance. In general, sometimes it can be very difficult to determine when the injury should have been discovered.

“If you hire an expert or speak to a lawyer the court assumes you knew or should have known that you might have a case and so the statute begins to run.”

Does Your Case Fit the Timing Rules?

Lawyers will fight about this in court; however, the law is clear that absent full knowledge of the injury, the court is to favor the opportunity to bring the suit.  Very few suits are dismissed for statute of limitations grounds when there is any uncertainty regarding when the injury occurred or what occurred.

Typically, in medical malpractice cases the courts look to when you had reasonable knowledge of a possible claim.  If you hire an expert or speak to a lawyer the court assumes you knew or should have known that you might have a case and so the statute begins to run.

For example, if you were injured in a car wreck and went to the hospital and the doctor made a mistake that wasn’t discovered for years later when you went for another procedure, the date it was discovered is the date of the statute of limitations up to six years from the negligent act.

Courts also look to when you contacted a lawyer.   If you contact a lawyer, you are assumed to have knowledge that someone injured you and you want to take legal action.  Lawyers know this so we keep track of the date that you contacted us so that we can file a lawsuit prior to the statute of limitations running.

If you were injured by a government or charitable entity or employee, the statute of limitations may be different depending on your circumstances.  Please talk to one of our lawyers.

Special Rule for Defamation Cases

If someone has defamed you, either through an online post or otherwise and you wish to take legal action there is a different statute of limitations guided by SC Code § 15-3-550.

If you have been defamed, you must file suit within two (2) years.


The Statute of Repose

The statute or repose is meant to encourage safe premises so that you are not injured when you are on someone else’s property.

Questions to ask yourself:

  1. Were you insured by a dangerous condition on a property?
  2. Did the injury occur within 8 years after the completion of the improvement to the property which injured you?

S.C Code §15-3-640., provides, in pertinent part:

No actions to recover damages based upon or arising out of the defective or unsafe condition of an improvement to real property may be brought more than eight years after substantial completion of the improvement…

There are certain exceptions in Section 15-3-670. The exceptions include:

  1. Did the owners or tenants know, or reasonably should have known, of the defective or unsafe condition?
  2. Was the defendant guilty of fraud, gross negligence, or recklessness in his design, construction, or development of the project?
  3. Were you injured from a hidden injury that wasn’t obvious?

If the answer to any of the above questions is yes, then the statute of repose doesn’t apply.

How can I stop the Statute of Limitations?

The short answer to your question is if the Plaintiff is under 18 the statute of limitations is tolled until they are an adult. If you are disabled, then the statute may be tolled, or “paused,” depending on your specific circumstances. It is advisable to let your lawyer know of any disability you may have.

The only other way to stop the Statute of Limitations is to file a notice of intent to file suit in medical malpractice cases or to file suit in other cases.

Thinking about filing a personal injury lawsuit?

If you are unsure about whether the statute of limitations has run, please contact one of our lawyers so we can provide you with more details. Please contact one of our lawyers now to get the help you need before the statute runs.

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