Pursuing an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit can be difficult and stressful for most people who are struggling to overcome injuries. At David R. Price, Jr. P.A. based in Greenville, South Carolina, we aim to help all our clients through this challenging time by offering knowledgeable advice and excellent service. As part of that aim, we have provided an overview of South Carolina personal injury laws for your consideration.
Time Limits for Claims in South Carolina
All states have a statute of limitations which sets out statutory limits on how much time claimants have to file an action at the courts after suffering some type of injury. These timeframes vary depending on the type of case and any stipulated factors set out in the legislation.
In South Carolina, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases allows up to three years from the date of the injury for claimants to file a lawsuit in the civil court system. It’s important to remember and follow the statute of limitations because if you don’t get your lawsuit filed before the allowed window closes, the case will be automatically dismissed. An experienced personal injury lawyer will be well aware of the court deadlines and will ensure that your action is filed within sufficient time.
The Shared Fault Rules
In some cases, the defendant may argue that the claimant actually caused or is partially to blame for the incident which caused the harm. If the courts agree that the claimant does share some degree of legal liability, it can reduce the total amount of compensation received from the defendant and any other at-fault parties.
In these types of cases where the fault is shared, South Carolina uses the “modified comparative negligence rule.” Following this rule, the amount of compensation a claimant is entitled to receive will be reduced by their percentage of fault for the accident. If a claimant is found to bear more than 50 percent of the legal blame, they are not allowed to collect any compensation from the other at-fault parties.
For example, this might be how a court would determine your compensation if you were rear-ended at a stoplight and one of your brake lights was out: At trial, the jury decides that you are 20% responsible for the accident, while the other driver was 80% to blame. You are awarded $10,000 damages for medical bills and lost income but under the modified comparative negligence rule, your compensation will have $2,000 deducted for your 20% responsibility finding. Therefore, in total you will receive $8,000. If the jury were to find that you were 51% at fault, you would not receive anything.
The South Carolina court system is required to follow this rule in all personal injury lawsuits, therefore, don’t be surprised if your damages are reduced by your own negligence that contributed towards the accident. The comparative negligence rule will also be raised during settlement talks as the other side will want to lower any damages by applying the same principle.
Limiting Damages in South Carolina
Some states place caps on the amount of damages that an injured person can be awarded after a successful personal injury trial. Here are some examples of limits in South Carolina:
- For medical malpractice cases, damages awarded to compensate for pain and suffering are limited to $350,000 per defendant. If there is more than one defendant the overall limit is $1.05 million.
- Punitive damages in injury cases are caped to the greater of three times the actual damages, or $500,000. These types of damages are intended to punish the defendant for particularly egregious or outrageous behavior.
The above limits do not apply to all personal injury cases in South Carolina, and in some instances there are exceptions that can allow you to avoid the caps. If you have any concerns about how much compensation you would be able to receive for an injury in Greenville, South Carolina, hte personal injury attorneys at David R. Price, Jr. P.A. would be happy to assist you with a free consultation.
Personal Injuries from a Dog Bite
This type of injury may not be the first thing that pops into your mind when you think of personal injury cases, but there is a surprisingly vast amount of law on this issue. It was previously understood that a dog owner was only held liable for their dog biting someone if the owner had reason to know the dog might bite. This was known as the “one bite” rule because it meant that dog owners were protected from injury liability the first time their dog hurt someone, if they had no reason to believe the dog was dangerous.
Some states still apply this rule, but in South Carolina all dog owners are “strictly liable” by statute regardless of the animal’s past behavior. In short, the dog owner is responsible for any personal injury caused by their dog. The statute actually states that the dog owner “is liable for the damages suffered by the person bitten or otherwise attacked.” This law is commonly termed the ”dog bite statute” and if it applies, whatever the owner did or did not know about the dog prior to the bite is irrelevant. It is important to note that not all dog bite statutes in other states are the same and some only apply in public places. Some states allow the defendant to use the defense that the plaintiff was warned, whereas others don’t. Your South Carolina personal injury lawyer will be able to advise you as to South Carolina’s dog bite rules and if any possible defenses are available to you, if needed.
A Great Lawyer Makes All the Difference
Personal injury law isn’t always clear cut and every case will hinge on the specifics and evidence available. Having an experienced and capable attorney representing your interests in Greenville, South Carolina, is only going to benefit your case and help to ensure that you receive the full amount of compensation available to you. At David R. Price, Jr. P.A. we have determined personal injury attorneys in Greenville that know how to best present your case and will fight ceaselessly so that you are reimbursed for every loss. Contact us now for a free consultation and help with your claim.