Were you injured in a car accident in Myrtle Beach or the surrounding area? It’s important to remember that you have limited time to take legal action if you need to seek compensation for your injuries, damage to your vehicle, lost wages, and other losses. Understanding North Carolina’s statute of limitations, which sets the time period for filing a lawsuit, is crucial. Failure to file before the deadline expires would mean the court would likely dismiss your case.
What Is The Statute of Limitations in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, the general statute of limitations for personal injury claims, including car accidents, is outlined in S.C. Code Ann. § 15-3-530. This statute states that you have three years from the accident to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. This rule applies to property damage and personal injury claims.
Exceptions To The Statute of Limitations
Some exceptions could sometimes extend the time limit for filing your lawsuit. Some of the most common exceptions, as mentioned in South Carolina state statutes, include:
- The victim is a minor – According to S.C. Code Ann. § 15-3-40, if the injured party is under 18 when the accident happens, the statute of limitations may extend until they turn 18, giving them three years from their 18th birthday to file a claim.
- Mental incapacity – As per S.C. Code Ann. § 15-3-40, if the injured person is mentally incapacitated when the accident happens, the statute of limitations extends until they regain capacity.
- The discovery rule – South Carolina follows the “discovery rule,” as established in the case of Snell v. Columbia Gun Exchange, Inc. (1992). Sometimes, the injured party may not discover their injuries until later. In such situations, the statute of limitations may start from the date they discovered or reasonably should have discovered their injuries.
The Importance of Acting Quickly After a Crash
While the statute of limitations provides a three-year window to file a lawsuit, it is crucial not to wait too long to hire an attorney to handle your case. There are several reasons why your attorney needs time to work on your case, including:
Time is often critical in gathering evidence to support a personal injury case. Witnesses may forget important details or move away, physical evidence may be lost or destroyed, and the accident scene may change. It is essential to preserve evidence to build a strong case on behalf of the injured party. Attorneys may use various techniques to preserve evidence, such as taking photographs of the accident scene, obtaining surveillance footage, or collecting physical evidence. They may also interview witnesses to gather information and take statements. This process takes time, and it is crucial to begin immediately after the accident.
Gathering medical documentation
Understanding the full extent of an injury is critical to determining the appropriate compensation for damages. Gathering medical documentation involves obtaining medical records, consulting with medical experts, and determining the long-term effects of the injuries sustained. Attorneys may also use medical documentation to support the claim for damages, including lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering.
Negotiating with the insurance company
In many cases, the at-fault party’s insurance company will attempt to settle the case before it goes to court. Attorneys will often negotiate with the insurer to get a fair settlement for their client. This process can be time-consuming and requires a well-prepared case. Personal Injury attorneys will use their knowledge and experience to build a strong case, present it to the insurance company, and negotiate on behalf of their client.
Preparing for litigation
If settlement negotiations fail, the case may go to court. Preparing for litigation involves drafting legal documents, conducting discovery, interviewing witnesses, and developing a trial strategy. This process requires a lot of time and effort to ensure that the case is well-prepared and has the best possible chance of success. Our attorneys will use their experience and knowledge of the law to develop a strong case and advocate for their clients in court.
Contact a Myrtle Beach Car Accident Lawyer
It’s essential to be aware of the time limit for taking legal action and seek legal assistance immediately if you’ve been injured in a car accident. If you believe you have a case, contact the experienced South Carolina car accident attorneys of Crantford Meehan, Attorneys at Law, for help. We are committed to helping accident victims seek the full and fair compensation they deserve, and we won’t back down from a fight. Call us or reach out to us online today for a 100% free case evaluation. not in Myrtle Beach? Here are our other locations.