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What is a Tort Case, and What does it Involve in South Carolina?

When a person’s actions interfere with or cause damage to another person or the person’s property, the action is a tort. A tort case is a civil court case that the victim or plaintiff brings against the defendant. If the plaintiff has a valid legal claim and wins the case, the defendant must pay damages. Typically, tort damages are monetary compensation. In some cases, tort damages may also include restitution. South Carolina Tort Claims Act, civil court rules, and Rules of Civil Procedure govern the torts case process. In South Carolina, the Circuit Courts hear tort cases. The age of majority in South Carolina is 18, and as such, persons aged 18 or older, or legally emancipated persons may file a tort case in the state.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

What is South Carolina Tort Law?

The South Carolina Tort Claims Act primarily guides claims made against the state, its political subdivisions, government agencies, or any government entity. The act states that the state, its political subdivisions, government agencies, and other government entities are liable for torts in the same way and to the same extent as private individuals. For the purpose of a claim, the state and its divisions and entities will be regarded by the court as individuals. The Tort Claims Act covers the injured person’s rights, and exemptions that apply to the state in tort cases. The Rules of Civil Procedure and Civil Court Rules guide tort claims between private individuals and between individuals and organizations. The rules cover the tort claims case process, from complaint to judgment.

What Kinds of Cases are Covered by Tort Law in South Carolina?

The South Carolina tort law covers the following types of cases:

  • Intentional tort: these are torts that arise from deliberate or intentional acts. Examples of intentional torts include:
    • Assault
    • Battery
    • Malicious prosecution
    • Fraud
    • Defamation
    • Intentional emotional distress
  • Negligence tort: these are torts that arise from the negligence of unintentional acts.
  • Liability torts: persons who suffer injury or loss due to a faulty or defective product may bring a strict liability tort against the manufacturer or seller.

What are the Differences Between Criminal Law and Tort Law in South Carolina?

Criminal law and tort law are essential parts of the South Carolina justice system. While criminal law works to penalize offenders and reduce the possibility of repeated offenses, tort law has restitution or restoration as its main objective. The injured party can recover damages in a tort case. Simply put, criminal law focuses on the criminal, while tort law focuses on the victim of a crime or wrongdoing. An act may result in both criminal and civil offenses; in such cases, criminal and tort laws apply to different parts of the same act.

What is the Purpose of Tort Law in South Carolina?

The South Carolina Tort Claims Act and the Rules of Civil Procedure exist to hold the state, government agencies, and entities, private individuals, and organizations accountable and liable for actions that cause injury or loss to another person. The law also serves to protect the victim’s interest by providing avenues for restoration and compensation.

What is a Tort Claim in South Carolina?

Suppose a person suffers loss or injury, whether physical, financial, or psychological, due to another person’s deliberate or unintentional act. In that case, such a person may file a claim for damages against the perpetrator of the act. A tort claim is a civil case in South Carolina; the Circuit Courts hear tort claims cases in the state.

How Do You File a Tort Claim in South Carolina?

Interested parties may file a tort claim by filing a complaint with the Circuit Court Clerk in the county where the event that led to the loss or injury occurred or where the defendant resides or works. Claimants must file a claim no later than one year after the claimants have discovered the injury or loss. The claim form must contain the amount claimed, a description of the event and the injury or loss, the claimant, and the defendant’s names. The claimant must also duly sign and notarize the claim form.

What Does a Tort Claim Contain in South Carolina?

A South Carolina tort claim must contain:

  • The case parties’ full names and addresses
  • The time, venue, and date of the event that led to an injury
  • A detailed description of the event that led to the injury
  • An accurate description of the injury
  • The claim amount

What Happens after a Tort Claim is Filed in South Carolina?

After a claimant files a tort claim in South Carolina, the claimant or the claimant’s attorney must issue a summons and deliver copies of the filed claim and submit them to the defendant(s). The attorney may not serve the summons directly; however, the attorney must ensure that the defendants receive the summons through Sheriff’s service or service by any other person at least 18 years old. The defendant may also voluntarily appear; the South Carolina law equated voluntary appearance to personal service.

If the defendant is an organization or an entity, the plaintiff must serve the summons to a manager, officer, or other person authorized to receive service. If the defendant is the state, the plaintiff must serve the warrant to the Attorney General or any other persons assigned to receive assistance. The plaintiff may serve the summons by certified mail or commercial delivery service. The plaintiff or the person whom the plaintiff authorizes to serve the summons must have proof of service. Alternatively, the defendant may accept the service in writing.

When the defendant responds to the summons, the settlement process begins. For tort claims cases against the government, the plaintiff must wait 180 days before filing a lawsuit. Otherwise, the plaintiff may only file a lawsuit if the court denies the claim or if the parties reach a settlement.

Why Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer for a Tort Claim?

A personal injury lawyer represents case parties in a tort claim case. Using specialized knowledge and expertise, personal injury lawyers help case parties get the maximum compensation possible. Additionally, personal injury lawyers provide an accurate interpretation of tort laws and advise the best practices. Personal injury lawyers help with tort claim case processes, including filing, investigation, discovery, alternative dispute resolution, and trials. Case parties may participate in a tort claim case as self-represented litigants; however, case parties may also hire an attorney.

How Can I Find a Personal Injury Lawyer Near Me?

Interested parties may contact the South Carolina Bar for information on how to find local personal injury lawyers. The state bar offers a public lawyer referral service that refers lawyers to individuals who need lawyers. Interested parties may also contact local law offices and third-party legal aid websites.

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