What Is the Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death in South Carolina?
Understanding the Deadlines for Your Charleston Wrongful Death Claim
Chapter 51 and Section 15-3-530 of the South Carolina Code of Laws Unannotated contain the definitions and rules for wrongful death claims in the state. According to these laws, the personal representative of the deceased must file a wrongful death claim within 3 years of the decedent’s death to have a valid legal claim.
Like any law, however, there are exceptions.
At Kahn Law Firm, LLP, we know filing a lawsuit may be the last thing on your mind. We are deeply sorry for your loss and understand what you are going through, but we want to protect your right to legal action.
Whether you have just lost someone or worry you may be approaching the deadline for your wrongful death suit, do not hesitate to give us a call at (843) 547-0240.
What Does ‘Statute of Limitations’ Mean?
Another way to think about the statute of limitations is as the deadline for a lawsuit. This statute, or law, sets the limits for when a lawsuit can be filed. The statute of limitations is different for each type of lawsuit.
In most cases, the time limit begins, or starts “tolling,” when plaintiffs (the people who file lawsuits) realize they have suffered an injury or loss. In cases of wrongful death, the loss is evident right away, so the clock almost always begins ticking on the date of the decedent’s death.
Once again, South Carolina gives plaintiffs 3 years from the date of passing to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
What Happens If I Miss the Deadline?
If you try to sue after the statute of limitations has expired, the defendant (or party you sue) can easily have your claim thrown out. Many courts will not even accept a suit after the deadline has passed.
Effectively, if you do not adhere to the statute of limitations, you no longer have a case.
That’s why you need to contact our wrongful death attorneys as soon as possible after a loss.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations
Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may have more or less time to file your wrongful death lawsuit. If you are filing against the government, for example, you may face shorter, stricter deadlines and mountains of paperwork.
On the other hand, medical malpractice cases sometimes extend the statute of limitations for up to 3 years. If you find out that a medical provider caused the decedent’s death, you have 3 years from the time of your discovery to file suit, but you cannot seek legal action if it has been more than 6 years from the decedent’s treatment.
For example, consider a plaintiff who lost a loved one during a routine surgery. If they discover, years later, that the surgeon had a pattern of botching surgeries or intentionally causing injury, they may be able to bring about a case more than 3 years after their loved one passed.
Understanding the exceptions to limitations can be difficult, but our Charleston firm can help.
Discuss Your Case With Kahn Law Firm, LLP Today
Our team has 95 years of collective experience – that’s nearly a century of legal skill we can apply to your case. We also have 2 board-certified medical malpractice attorneys, so we can navigate all sorts of wrongful death claims, including and especially those caused by medical malpractice.
The sooner you call, the sooner we can start gathering evidence and building your case. Although we can navigate all sorts of laws and exceptions, we urge you to take action right away instead of cutting it close to the deadline.