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South Carolina Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations for personal injury & accidents in South Carolina is three (3) years (Ref: S.C. Code § 15-3-530). 

What this means is that you (or your attorney) must file a lawsuit against a defendant within three years of the date of your accident. If you do not file a lawsuit within three years, generally you forfeit any potential claim against the defendant as a matter of law - meaning there will be no opportunity for a settlement, arbitration, or trial. 

Disclaimer: Although the information presented on this page is generally true there are some exceptions to this information, and the South Carolina Statute of Limitations (and the exceptions) may change over time. If you or a family member was involved in an accident and considering seeking compensation for your injuries it is crucial that you speak to a South Carolina personal injury lawyer to discuss your claim and potential recovery.

Variations on Time Limits for Filing a Lawsuit in South Carolina

There are some variations & exceptions to the 3 years statute of limitations on personal injury cases in South Carolina. Because of this, it is critical you discuss your matter with a lawyer who is highly experienced in personal injury law. 

  • If at the time of an accident that could give rise to a lawsuit, the injured person is under the age of 18 or has been declared "insane," the injured person is considered to be under a "legal disability." And according to South Carolina Code of Laws section 15-3-40, once the period of disability ends -- the injured person turns 18 or is declared sane -- he or she will have one year to get a civil lawsuit filed against the person who caused the accident. But note that the filing period can't be extended more than five years based on insanity.
  • Another exception applies when the defendant (the person who is allegedly responsible for the plaintiff's injuries), for one continuous year or more after the underlying accident, goes absent from or resides outside of the state of South Carolina before the lawsuit can be filed. In that situation, the period of absence probably won't be counted as part of the three-year filing period (the "clock" won't run during this time, in other words). (South Carolina Code of Laws section 15-3-30.)

What if You Miss the Deadline to File a Lawsuit?

If you miss the deadline to file a lawsuit and the South Carolina statute of limitations passes (barring any exceptions), the opposing party will almost surely move for case dismissal and it will likely be granted. This also means that nearly any hope of a settlement will also be forfeited because there is no leverage to potentially pursue a trial (since it would immediately be dismissed). 

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