Rock Hill, SC Personal Injury Lawyer
What can I do if I am injured by a South Carolina state employee?
Before 1986, if you were injured by a South Carolina government official or employee who was acting in the scope of his or her official duties, you would not have been able to get proper compensation for your injuries. At that time, government officials had total immunity from personal injury lawsuits. However, in 1986, South Carolina passed the Tort Claims Act, which waived some of the government’s immunity. Therefore, you may be able to recover damages from injuries caused by government employees and officials. These types of legal actions are complex, and you should seek the help of an experienced personal injury attorney if you believe you have a claim against a South Carolina state employee.
Navigating the Exceptions to the Tort Claims Act
The Tort Claims Act is not a complete waiver of all immunity – it is limited in many different ways. One of those limitations is that there are certain actions of the state that are not subject to the Act. Some exceptions are clearer than others. For example, the state is not liable for losses resulting from:
- Legislative or judicial action, enforcement of any law, or the collection of taxes;
- Actions by employees that are outside the scope of his or her official duties;
- Authorized entry on any property; or
- Execution, enforcement, or implementation of court orders.
Other exceptions are more obscure – for example, the state cannot be held responsible for:
- Losses for termination or reduction of benefits;
- Claims covered by the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act;
- Regulatory inspection functions, including failure to inspect property to determine if it complies with laws or regulations or contains a health or safety hazard; or
- Actions by members of state and county athletic commissions or ringside physicians acting within the scope of their duties.
The Act has 40 exceptions, and whether a situation is covered by an exception can be contentious and requires legal analysis. You should seek the help of an attorney to help ensure that your claim is not denied because of an improperly applied exception.
The Damages Cap
Normally, you would be able to get compensation for injuries that will make you whole, regardless of what that amount may be. However, under the Tort Claims Act, there is generally a limit on damages you can recover for a single occurrence of $300,000 per person regardless of how many state agencies are involved, and only a maximum of $600,000 may be recovered from a single occurrence in total. A single claim may contain separate, additional claims that are not derivative from a single occurrence, and each may have separate, additional caps on recovery. An attorney may be able to help you determine if you have separate claims in your case that are subject to separate caps.
How to File a Claim
If you believe you have a claim under the Tort Claims Act, you may file a claim with the agency that caused your injury. Each agency is required to have an office that processes claims under the Act, and the agency is required to make a decision to pay or deny the claim within 180 days after the claim is received. If you file a claim with the agency, you benefit from a three-year statute of limitations for bringing an action in court; however, if you do not file a claim with the agency, you must file suit in court within a two-year limitations period.
You will need an experienced attorney to help you navigate the complexities of getting compensation for your injuries under South Carolina’s Tort Claims Act. Contact the attorneys at Bice Law, LLC today to ensure that your claim is properly and timely filed.
Contact the Personal Injury Law Firm of Bice Law
The personal injury firm of Bice Law will examine your case to determine the type and amount of damages that your injury warrants, including payments for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and any permanent disability. We’ll determine whether an out-of-court settlement or trial is the best strategy to obtain maximum benefits for you or your family. If you have suffered injury or harm because of someone else’s actions, take the first step to protect your legal rights – contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law serving both North and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, so act quickly. Call 877-BICE-877 today or submit an online request to get a free consultation with a personal injury attorney. We serve families across both North Carolina and South Carolina.