After a family has suffered through the sudden loss of a loved one, the last thing on their minds will be the time limits in place for bringing suit against the person or persons responsible for the death. Though the grieving process may only have just begun, that does not stop South Carolina’s wrongful death statute of limitations from starting its countdown. To find out more about how time can impact a South Carolina wrongful death action, keep reading.
What is a statute of limitations?
A statute of limitations is a law that limits the amount of time a person has to file a lawsuit. The laws exist to make sure that the legal system runs smoothly and that individuals cannot be forced to wait in never-ending limbo to be sued. Once the statutory time limit has been reached there is no longer any way for a plaintiff to take legal action on the matter. This means that such requirements should be carefully paid attention to.
What is South Carolina’s wrongful death statute of limitations?
South Carolina Code Section 15-3-530 says that family members of a recently deceased person have three years from the date of that person’s death to file a lawsuit. However, the law is slightly different in cases based on medical malpractice. The law says that suits against health care providers must be filed within three years of the date that the injury occurred or within three years of when the injury was, or should have been, discovered. This gives victims in these cases longer to bring suit, however, in no case can a medical malpractice action be filed more than six years after the injury occurred.
Why is timing important?
The first, and most obvious reason why time is so important is that the law puts limits on when a person can bring a wrongful death suit in South Carolina and a failure to abide by these rules can result in the loss of your cause of action.
Another reason why timing matters is because some companies only hold onto certain documents for a finite amount of time, meaning that some bit of crucial evidence such as a trucking log sheet, a hospital record or some security camera footage may only be available for a few months before the records are lost forever. Consulting an experienced South Carolina wrongful death attorney early on in the process allows for plenty of time to retrieve the necessary documents to prosecute your wrongful death action.
Charleston wrongful death lawyer David Aylor understands how the sudden loss of a loved one can lead to emotional as well as financial devastation. If a family member was killed due to the negligent actions of others, it may be helpful to reach out to an experienced lawyer who can guide you through the complexities of a South Carolina wrongful death claim. For more information, contact our office at 843-744-4444.