How Long Do I Have to File a Claim or Bring a Lawsuit?

If you have been involved in a car accident in South Carolina, the last thing you’re likely to think about are lawsuits and time limits – you’re likely much more concerned about your injuries, getting your car back on the road, and whether or not your injuries are severe enough to require you to miss work or undergo lengthy, painful, and expensive medical treatment. Unfortunately, many people find themselves ensnared in a mess of insurance claims and lawsuits when they try to obtain compensation for damages that result from their accident. When this happens, it is vital that you know how much time you have to submit a claim or launch a lawsuit against the party who caused the accident. 

Why? There is a strict time limit – a “statute of limitations” – that governs when you can file a lawsuit in a car accident claim. And if you miss that time limit, your lawsuit will be tossed out, and you will be left with no recourse against the insurance company or the other driver.

Keep in mind, also, that filing a claim is different from bringing a lawsuit; typically, filing a claim involves notifying the insurance company as soon as possible after the accident and filing all of the necessary paperwork with them. If the claim doesn’t cover your damages, is denied entirely, or there is a dispute over the amounts of coverage, a lawsuit is sometimes necessary to determine whether you are eligible for additional compensation.

How Long Do You Have to File Your Lawsuit?

A statute of limitations is a law that sets a deadline for filing a legal action. If you miss the deadline, you will lose your right to sue and recover compensation for your damages. Therefore, it is important to know the statute of limitations that applies to your car accident claim and act accordingly.

In South Carolina, the general statute of limitations for personal injury claims, such as those arising from car accidents, is three years from the date of the injury. This means that you have three years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit against the driver who caused your injuries. If you fail to file within this time frame, your claim will be dismissed by the court.

However, there are some exceptions and circumstances that may extend or shorten the statute of limitations for your car accident claim. For example, if you are suing a state or local government entity for an accident caused by one of their employees, you must file your lawsuit within two years. If you are filing a wrongful death claim on behalf of a loved one who died in a car accident, the statute of limitations for the wrongful death claims runs from the date of death. If you were a minor or mentally incompetent at the time of the accident, you may have more time to file your claim. 

Because the statute of limitations can vary depending on the facts and circumstances of your case, it is advisable to consult with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. A lawyer can help you determine the applicable statute of limitations for your claim and ensure that you file your lawsuit within the required time limit. A lawyer can also help you gather evidence, negotiate with the insurance company, and represent you in court if necessary.

What Steps Should You Take Before You File a Car Accident Lawsuit in South Carolina?

If you have suffered injuries as a result of an automobile accident in South Carolina, you might be eligible for financial compensation for those injuries. The legal process of recovering these damages depends on the specifics of the accident and the parties. As we mentioned, in most cases, you’ll start by filing a claim with the other driver’s insurance company. If they are uninsured or do not have enough insurance to cover your losses, you may need to make a claim with your own insurance company. 

You will be required to present documentation of your injuries and losses if you choose to file an insurance claim. This documentation may include medical records and repair estimates for any property damage that may have been caused. Your claim will be evaluated by the insurance company, and if they believe you are entitled to compensation, they may make you a settlement offer. If you are not represented by an attorney, you likely will be at disadvantage in dealing with the insurance company as you probably will not know whether the offer you have received is a fair offer.

If negotiations with the insurance company fail,  and you decide to file a lawsuit, it is crucial to understand that there are time limits for filing suits. It is strongly suggested that you seek the services of an experienced attorney who will be able to assist you in meeting all deadlines and protecting your legal rights throughout the entirety of this procedure.

One more note: as mentioned above, if you’re suing a government agency, there are separate time limits for providing notice of your legal action via a “verified claim” which must be complied with and can affect the statute of limitations for filing the actual lawsuit. 

Get in touch with a personal injury attorney to get your case started.

If you have been hurt in a car accident, it is crucial that you begin the claims and legal processes as quickly as possible. The sooner you get in touch with a South Carolina personal injury attorney with extensive experience, the better. A skilled attorney can assist you in ensuring that your rights are protected and that all deadlines are met, as well as assisting you in negotiating a fair settlement or representing you in court, if required. 

At Proffitt & Cox, our team of seasoned attorneys is prepared to help you with your case in any way we can. We are aware of how taxing legal difficulties can be for you and your family, and we have the knowledge and experience necessary to ensure that your viewpoint is taken into consideration. Get in touch with us right away to receive a free evaluation of your injury case, and allow us to assist you in obtaining the justice and compensation that you are entitled to.

Find a South Carolina Auto Accident Attorney

If you suffered an injury from a serious auto accident, you may be facing significant medical bills. You may also be struggling to pay for your expenses because of an inability to work while you recover from your injuries. However, help is available to those who suffered injuries due to the negligence of others as well as for the families of fatal accident victims.

For years, our Columbia injury lawyers have worked on behalf of the people of South Carolina to gain them compensation for their motor vehicle accident injuries. We may be able to provide personal and effective legal support for you as well. Call the attorneys at Proffitt & Cox, LLP today at 803-834-7097 for a free consultation. You can also call the firm toll free at (877) 276-0533 or by filling out the contact form on our site.


Confidential Free Consultations; No Attorneys Fees Unless You Receive Compensation
We understand that when an injury occurs, people are concerned about medical expenses, lost income, and compensation for their pain and suffering and other damages. We can answer these questions, and more importantly, we can put our experience to work immediately toward helping victims of careless or wrongful conduct obtain prompt and appropriate compensation.

We offer free initial consultations for all injury cases. We handle injury cases on a contingency fee basis which means that our fees are a percentage of what we recover for you. You will not owe us any attorney’s fees in such cases unless we are successful in obtaining compensation on your behalf.

Our South Carolina accident attorneys have recovered over $30 million in verdicts and settlements for our clients. These claims involved automobile accidents, trucking accidents, harmful prescription drugs, medical malpractice, product liability, slip and fall accidents and class action cases. Review our representative cases to see some of our past successes and review our client testimonials to see what some of our clients have to say about us.

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