South Carolina Personal Injury Laws: Basic Rules and Regulations
The most recent South Carolina Department of Health Injury Report found that over 30 million South Carolinians suffered from a nonfatal injury in the course of a single year.
If you have suffered an injury at the hands of another individual or business, you may be entitled to compensation. Because medical bills can grow to be extremely costly, it is worth your time to file a personal injury claim under these circumstances.
First, make sure that you are familiar with South Carolina personal injury laws. What do you need to build your personal injury case in South Carolina? How much time do you have to do so?
We’ll answer all of these questions and more in our guide to South Carolina personal injury laws. Read on to find out more.
No Two Personal Injury Cases in South Carolina Are Alike
Legal cases are rarely cookie-cutter. While there are parameters that outline what does and does not qualify for a personal injury claim in South Carolina, no two cases are alike.
What this means is that the amount of compensation you can hope for will vary based on your unique situation. Some people may be entitled to compensation for lost income and damaged property in addition to medical bills.
Each Case Requires Proof of 6 Key Factors
Although cases do vary, the basics of what you need to prove remain the same. There are six key factors that all personal injury victims must build their case around:
- What led to the injury and how it occurred
- Who is responsible for the injury
- The type and extent of the injuries sustained
- The type, extent, and cost of medical care the victim has received or will receive
- Any medical conditions resulting from the initial injury
- The impact of the injuries on the victim’s life
If you can’t address each of these factors clearly, you may not have a personal injury case on your hands.
Negligence Is Key
The most important thing you will need to prove is that the at-fault party behaved negligently. In South Carolina, negligence is typically referred to as “causation.” In other words, what did the at-fault party do or not do that caused your injury?
Negligence often comes down to a failure to behave in a way that reasonably could have prevented your injury. For example, if a driver was texting and hit your car, leading to an injury and property damage, texting is the cause and the source of negligence. If a business owner failed to address a dangerous condition on their property that led to your injury, that failure to address the condition is the cause of the source of negligence.
Once you’ve established negligence, you need to establish a clear connection between the at-fault party’s negligence and your injury. If you have one without the other, you don’t have a case. Both negligence and resulting medical issues are required to file a personal injury claim in South Carolina.
South Carolina Uses a Fault-Based System
You may have heard the term “no-fault” before, which entails that regardless of who is at-fault for an injury, the injured party’s insurance is liable. South Carolina does not operate on that system.
Instead, under South Carolina personal injury laws, the at-fault party’s insurance is held responsible for compensation. If you have your own insurance, it is recommended that you use it while awaiting the results of your case. As long as the at-fault party is found guilty, you are eligible to receive compensation not just for what you paid out-of-pocket, but for the entire cost of your medical bills–including what your own insurance paid.
South Carolina’s Modified Comparative Negligence Rules
It is important to note that while South Carolina is an at-fault state, we do observe modified comparative negligence. This is relevant when your own negligence also contributed to your injury.
If you are found to be more than 50% at-fault for your own injury, you will not be able to receive compensation from the other party. If you are found to be 50% at-fault or less, you are entitled to compensation that reflects the other party’s responsibility. In other words, if you are 40% at-fault, you are eligible to receive up to 60% of the full compensation you’ve asked for.
You Have Three Years to File Your Claim
Each state has its own statute of limitations for all legal claims and cases. In South Carolina, you have three years to file a personal injury claim.
That three-year period begins, in most cases, from the moment the injury is sustained. It is advisable to file your personal injury claim as soon as possible, rather than waiting until the second or third year.
A Personal Injury Attorney Is Key
If you’re going to file a personal injury claim in South Carolina, make sure that you have legal representation. Insurance companies are equipped with lawyers of their own that will do their best to squander you of your due compensation. You should never correspond with or sign paperwork from the at-fault party’s insurance without an attorney present.
How can you find the best representation in South Carolina? Take a look at this article from davidaylor.com to find out everything you need to know.
Know Your Rights Under South Carolina Personal Injury Laws
If you are one of the millions of South Carolinians who has sustained an injury and you believe it to be the result of someone else’s negligence, act now. By familiarizing yourself with South Carolina personal injury laws, you can determine whether or not you have a case. Know your rights and get the compensation you deserve.
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