The statute of limitations is a law that limits how long you have to file a lawsuit against the liable party. In South Carolina, the car accident statute of limitations is generally three years from the date that the collision happened. According to S.C. Ann §15-3-530, this statutory deadline applies to both wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits.
A car accident lawyer from our firm can help you adhere to this and any other deadline that is relevant to your pursuit of compensation. We’ve answered some common questions related to the statute of limitations below. For more information about the filing deadline in your case, our firm offers a complimentary case assessment.
When does the Filing Window in a Collision Case Start?
When the timeline for filing a lawsuit begins depends on the type of case you pursue. If you are seeking damages for yourself, the three-year window starts on the day you suffered injuries in the collision. Meanwhile, the filing window for a wrongful death case begins on the date of the victim’s passing.
Can You Extend the Statute of Limitations in a Car Accident Case?
Some circumstances may allow you to extend, or toll, the filing deadline in the case. For example, this may be possible if severe injuries left you temporarily incapacitated and unable to begin the legal process.
Our team will explore such options when we review the case, as our goal is to secure as much time as possible to build a strong lawsuit. However, these exceptions are limited, and it’s important not to rely on the possibility of an extension. It’s better to get started as soon as you can, especially if you plan to get a lawyer involved.
Can You File a Lawsuit Once the Statute of Limitations Expires?
In general, it is not possible to file a lawsuit if the deadline to sue has already passed. In the event that you are able to file, you will likely run into one of the following obstacles:
- The judge may dismiss the case outright due to the late filing.
- The liable party may contest the lawsuit due to the late filing and request a dismissal.
Note that you do not have to complete the trial process before this deadline―you only need to formally notify the court and the liable party of the intent to sue.
How Soon After the Accident Should You Get Started with the Filing Process?
Once the deadline expires or a judge dismisses the case, you lose the ability to sue and recover damages. For this reason, it’s best to get the process started right away. This is true even if you want to seek an out-of-court settlement. If negotiations slow, you can use the ability to sue as leverage to encourage further discussion or seek damages in court.
Even if you have not completely healed, our firm can begin to investigate and review the evidence now. We may start by identifying the filing deadline, so we know how much time is available.
Starting Your Case Immediately Can Help Preserve Evidence
The statute of limitations is just one reason why you should act quickly to seek compensation after an accident. Building a strong case takes time, and evidence can disappear quickly. When our firm gets to work on your case, the goal is to have as much time as possible to:
- Compile documentation of your injuries and medical treatment
- Collect evidence of the accident
- Record witness testimony
- Contact experts to provide testimony for the case
- Communicate with the insurance companies, other attorneys, and any other parties involved
- Negotiate a settlement
- Complete and file paperwork before the relevant deadlines expire
The sooner you reach out to us, the sooner our team can begin this process. A trial should not be necessary if one of our lawyers is able to negotiate a settlement that compensates you fairly. However, while a settlement may be the preferable outcome, we will not hesitate to take the case to court and fight for your compensation.
Our Attorneys Want to Help You Recover Damages for Your Accident
When you hire us to represent you, our team will:
- Listen to what you have to say with compassion
- Defend your rights if insurance companies and other parties attempt to undermine your rights
- Collect medical documentation of your injuries to support the case
- Ensure that any lawsuit you choose to bring is filed in a prompt manner
- Provide advice and legal strategies
One of our attorneys will also work hard to:
- Establish that the defendant owed you a duty of care to drive with caution on the road
- Prove that the defendant violated their duty of care in some way
- Show the link between the defendant’s actions and the accident
- Show that you or your loved one suffered damages because of the collision
By doing so, we can prove that you have a right to compensation.
Possible Compensation You Could Collect from a Successful Lawsuit
One or more liable parties in the accident may owe you compensation for:
- Lost income
- Medical expenses related to your accident
- Therapy, medication, and other costs related to psychological trauma
- The cost of physical rehabilitation, including transportation to your appointments
- Pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life due to physical and psychological trauma
- Damage to your vehicle and other personal property
- The cost of permanent disability, which may include permanent loss of earnings and the need for a part- or full-time caregiver
If you have other losses from the accident, our team may be able to seek compensation for them. We may also seek coverage for other costs related to your loved one’s passing if the car accident led to their death.
Let the Attorneys at Hammack Law Firm Work on Your Car Accident Case
Hammack Law Firm offers a small firm feel with big firm experience. We want to hear from you if you or a loved one have been in a car accident in South Carolina. Our team will help you navigate the statute of limitations and other aspects of the legal process. Call our Greenville office today for a free consultation.