South Carolina Personal Injury Law
Statutes of Limitations:
The amount of time you have to sue whoever caused your injury or damage.
- Personal Injury - 3 years from the discovery of the injury
- Damage to Personal Property - 3 years
- Medical malpractice - 3 years from the date you discover the injury, but not more than 6 years total
- Legal malpractice - 2 years
- Other professional malpractice - 2 years
Where to Sue:
- Personal injury claims under $7,500 - South Carolina Magistrate Court
- Personal injury claims over $7,500 - South Carolina Court of Common Pleas
How to Sue:
South Carolina Court of Common Pleas
- Forms: Complaint (Form SCCA701)
- Where to file: In the Magistrate Court where the defendant resides, or if the defendant is an out of state resident, where the plaintiff was injured. Once you file your complaint, the clerk of the Magistrate Court will issue a summons.
- How to notify the defendant (service): Have the defendant served personally by a sheriff, deputy, plaintiff’s attorney, or a person over age 18 not involved in the case. Alternatively, you can mail the summons and complaint to the defendant by certified mail return receipt requested.
- Proving the defendant was notified: The person serving the process should make proof of service and return to the clerk of the Magistrate Court. If the defendant was served by mail, the return receipt should be attached to a copy of the process and presented to the clerk of the Magistrate Court.
- Attorneys: Representation by a lawyer is permitted in South Carolina Magistrate’s Court.
- Appealing a small claim: Either side may appeal to the South Carolina Court of Common Pleas within 30 days.
: Before filing your personal injury lawsuit, contact an experienced South Carolina personal injury attorney
. Personal injury cases are complicated and multifaceted. You could lose your claim, suffer a court fine, or have the court dismiss your claim if mistakes were made in filing your case.
- Forms: Civil Action Coversheet (Form SCCA234) South Carolina Complaint; South Carolina Summons (Form SCCA401CP).
- How to File: File the paperwork with the clerk of the South Carolina Court of Common Pleas in the appropriate county. Once you pay the filing fee, the clerk will stamp the forms.
- How to Notify the Defendant: The defendant should be served process by a sheriff, deputy, lawyer in a case, or a disinterested person over 18 years of age. The Summons, Complaint, and Civil Coversheet may also be mailed to the defendant by registered or certified mail.
What to Do if You Are Being Sued:
- Time to respond to a Summons in South Carolina: 30 days.
- Seek the advice of a qualified attorney.
- Contact your insurance company if your injury arises from an incident at your residence or business. Your insurance company may supply an attorney to you if the insurance company provides coverage for your claim.
What to Do if a Judgment Was Entered Against You:
If you do not respond to a South Carolina Summons and Complaint within 30 days of receiving process, a default judgment will automatically be entered against you. The court will require you to pay the damages the plaintiff requested in his complaint.
- Time to Set Aside a Judgment in South Carolina:
- A South Carolina court may set aside a default judgment for good cause shown, within a reasonable time
- A South Carolina court may set aside a judgment for mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect, fraud, newly discovered evidence or misrepresentation for up to one year after entry of the judgment
- Contact an attorney if the court has entered a default judgment against you.
Ways to Collect Your Judgment:
- If you are successful in your South Carolina personal injury lawsuit, you may collect your judgment by asking the court to order the debtor’s payment of the judgment. If the defendant does not pay, you must file an Execution of Judgment document, which will allow the sheriff to try to collect the judgment from the debtor. You may file an Execution of Judgment document after the judgment has been on file for 10 days.
- Seek the advice of a South Carolina debt collection attorney.