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How Long Do You Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Suffering injuries in an accident, particularly one caused by another person, can be a source of immense pain and distress. It can also cause significant financial disruption to a person’s life. Under South Carolina law, injured people can file lawsuits seeking compensation from those who negligently caused them physical and financial harm.

It is essential to understand that the state imposes a legal deadline for personal injury lawsuits. These laws, called statutes of limitations, can vary in length. It depends on what type of accident you experienced, as well as who was liable for your injuries. Understanding these limits can help you recognize how swiftly you must take action to recover your compensation.

South Carolina’s Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Lawsuits

South Carolina establishes its statute of limitations for injury cases in Section 15-3-530. This law allows you to file a lawsuit against the person responsible for your losses up to three years from the day you sustained or discovered your injury. However, if a government body is the target of your suit, you must act within two years.

Within the allotted time, you must ensure that you qualify to pursue compensation. A successful claim depends on the following:

  • Fully establishing what occurred during the accident
  • Determining with certainty that the other party’s negligence caused your injuries and losses
  • Calculating the value of your losses
  • Gathering all necessary evidence and witnesses
  • Filing your claim within the statute of limitations


how long do you have to file a personal injury lawsuitBefore filing suit, your attorney may negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance company to see if you can get the settlement you need. If the insurer rejects or undervalues your claim, your attorney can prepare your case for trial.

While two or three years might seem like a long time, filing a claim as early as possible is essential because these steps can take time to complete. Consult with an experienced South Carolina personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after suffering injuries in an accident. A seasoned attorney will take the necessary action to ensure you do not run out of time before taking your case to court.

What Types of Accidents Does South Carolina’s Statute of Limitations Cover?

The statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits in South Carolina applies to all cases in which a party’s negligent conduct causes injury-related losses. These cases include:


During their investigation, your personal injury attorney will attempt to demonstrate that the at-fault party’s negligence led directly to losses such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages due to missed time at work
  • Reduced earning capacity due to disability or disfigurement
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering


While the attorneys at The Yates Firm will first attempt to negotiate a claim to cover your losses, they will take the at-fault party to court if the insurance company is unwilling to offer you a fair settlement.

Are There Exceptions to South Carolina’s Statute of Limitations?

The state has some exceptions to the three-year deadline for personal injury lawsuits. These include:

  • Workplace injuries – South Carolina’s workers’ compensation program requires employees to file a claim within two years of suffering an injury, discovering an injury, or receiving a diagnosis of an occupational illness. Workers are not generally eligible to file lawsuits against their employers for job-related injuries.
  • Children’s injuries – Children have until the age of 19 to sue for injuries or losses they received in childhood accidents.
  • Medical malpractice – Many people who suffer injuries or complications from medical malpractice do not discover the problem immediately. As such, South Carolina permits extended deadlines in these situations, allowing plaintiffs to file a suit three years after the injury was discovered or should reasonably have been discovered. However, there is an upper limit of six years for filing. Beyond this time, you will be unable to sue for medical malpractice. 


Contact The Yates Firm Today

Filing a successful personal injury claim is never straightforward. Unexpected factors can slow the process down, leaving you with less time to prepare for a courtroom trial. Once you surpass the legally allowable time, you will forfeit your right to claim compensation for your losses.

If you have suffered injuries in an accident in Myrtle Beach, contact the seasoned personal injury attorneys at The Yates Firm as soon as possible. Our team will begin building a strong case for you immediately so we can be prepared for a lawsuit if necessary. Call us today at 843.692.3237 or contact us online to learn more about how we can help you.

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