Answers to Your Questions on South Carolina Insurance, Negligence, Court Cases, and More
We have heard many questions from our clients over the years. In an effort to keep all injury victims informed, we have compiled the most popular topics into one searchable page. Read through our FAQ for information on gathering evidence, securing expert medical testimony, and other elements of your case.
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How long does a personal injury lawsuit take until I receive compensation?
It truly depends on the severity of the injury and complexity of the case at hand. Often times, such as an automobile accident, claims may settle prior to filing a lawsuit and only take a month to several months to settle. However, for more complex cases such as medical malpractice and product liability claims, extensive investigation and document gathering must be done prior to filing suit and may take several months until the claim is even ready to be filed. Once filed, discovery in complex cases can easily last a year or two. Usually cases are mediated within one year of filing suit. If your personal injury requires a trial, it is not unusual for the it to take up to three years or longer until it is fully resolved.
How long do I have to file a personal injury claim?
A person only has a certain amount of time to file a personal injury claim and must be filed within what is referred to as the statute of limitations. Under South Carolina law S.C. Code Ann. § 15-3-530(5), the statute of limitations for a personal injury claim is three years. Specifically, the statute provides that a person has three years from the time they knew they had a cause of action, or by reasonable diligence should have known they had a cause of action, to file suit for a personal injury claim. In personal injury claims such as a car accident or premises liability claim, the timing is simple and is generally three years from the date of the accident. However, often times in other cases such as medical malpractice or product liability from a prescription drug, one may not experience side effects until later down the road and the timeline is not as clear cut. In general, with any type of claim, it is generally best to commence action as soon as practical. If you think you may have a personal injury claim but are not sure if you still have time to bring it, contact a South Carolina personal injury lawyer who can answer your questions and provide information for you.
What is “personal injury?”
A personal injury claim is simply a legal remedy that allows an individual to file a lawsuit in civil court and receive compensation as a result of an injury they have received that was caused by another person or corporation’s negligence. Under the civil legal system, the only type of compensation one is entitled to is in the form of monetary damages. Any type of criminal liability as a result of a personal injury claim would be handled under a different legal claim. In a general sense, personal injury claims are usually the results of a physical injury that was caused by another person or corporation’s negligence, or an intentional act that causes physical injury but does not rise to the level of criminal liability. Beyond a physical injury, in my opinion, personal injury can also includes situations where one is harmed from a financial standpoint and seeks compensation in civil court.
What should I do if I am hurt by a defective product?
After seeking medical treatment, it is absolutely vital that you preserve the product and evidence in its current condition. Under South Carolina law, it is impossible to prove a product is defective if you do not have the product on hand. The reason for this is that product liability requires expert opinion of engineers, designers, etc. to test the product and determine its design and function. If you have been injured by a defective product, I would contact an experienced South Carolina product liability lawyer as soon as possible so that they can preserve the evidence and protect your right if you wish to pursue a claim.
Who is liable if I am hurt by a defective product?
In theory, any manufacturer, designer, seller, distributor, lesser, or any party having any responsibility with placing the defective product “into the stream of commerce” may be held liable for injuries caused by a defective product. The specific individuals and corporations to include in a product liability claim takes extensive investigation and inspection prior to filing a product liability lawsuit. It is also helpful to investigate the specific cause of the defect prior to filing suit so that the appropriate parties can be included in any product liability lawsuit.
What are common types of product defects?
- Automotive Defects: This can include an airbag failing to deploy as required, a tire blowout, seatbelt failing to work properly, or any other part of a car not working right.
- Medical Devices and Pharmaceutical Drugs: This can include medical devices such as hip replacements that have failed, vaginal mesh, or any other implant that has failed to work properly and resulted in injury or harm. This can also include side effects of drugs.
- Household Goods: Children toys, home appliances, grills, household chemicals and products
- Food and Agricultural Products: This can include any type of food, beverage, or livestock that is produced and consumed by consumers. Under certain circumstances, if you can prove that some type of sanitary restrictions or laws were broken, you may be able to prove negligence and establish a product liability claim.
- Machinery: Many types of power tools and heavy machinery carry known risk in their intended use. However, manufactures are still required to give adequate warnings of any foreseeable risk in using the product, along with any foreseeable misuse of the product that may result injury to the user.
- Recreational: This can include any type of defect in playground equipment, recreational games, or amusement park rides that are defective and result in injury to its users.
What is “product liability?
Product liability is simply a legal term that refers to the ability to hold a designer, manufacturer, seller, distributor, lesser, or furnisher liable for a product they made or sold that caused harm to an individual. In essence, any person or business that was responsible for introducing the product into the general public may be held liable and pay for damages if the product results in injury to a person.
What do I have to prove in a premises liability lawsuit?
In general, to recover in a premises liability lawsuit in South Carolina, on must first prove that the owner or occupier of the land owed a duty to the plaintiff. This usually depends on the type of land in question and the reason the plaintiff was on the land to begin with. Second, one must prove that the defendant was negligent in owning or failing to maintain the land in a reasonable safe condition. Lastly, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant was negligence in owning or maintaining the land was the proximate cause of his or her injuries.
What are common types of premises liability?
The most common type of premises liability claim people think of is slip and falls or trip and falls. However, premises liability can also include any time of inadequate maintenance of the property, defective conditions on the property, collapse stairwells, no railing on stairwells, inadequate building security leading to injury, elevator and escalator accidents, dog bites, swimming pool accidents, amusement park accidents, fires, water leaks or flooding, defective layout or design of a highway or parking lot, and exposure to toxic fumes or chemicals.
Who is responsible if I am hurt on someone else’s property?
There are several factors that go into play in determining who is responsible if you are hurt while on someone else’s property. First, where you are hurt is important. If you are hurt on a commercial residence, then the owner of the business can potentially be liable. If you are hurt on public property such as a sidewalk, then the owner of that property, perhaps the State of South Carolina, can be liable. If you are hurt while on someone else’s personal property like a residence, then the homeowner (usually their insurance), can potentially be liable. Lastly, if you are hurt at work, you can essentially file a third party claim and perhaps have a third party claim against any negligent party beyond your employer.