In each state, people can be criminally prosecuted for intentionally causing bodily injuries or death to other individuals. In contrast, when a person or business acts in a careless or reckless manner and accidentally or unintentionally injures or kills another person, they can be sued in a civil lawsuit. This area of law is referred to as
For example, we cannot drink 10 beers or have several glasses of wine, climb into our vehicle and take a drive. Such behavior is considered reckless because driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can lead to a dangerous, if not deadly drunk driving accident.
If we have an aggressive Pit Bull that we rescued from the pound, we cannot allow him or her to roam around our yard or neighborhood freely because he could bite or attack a child or other innocent person.
The dog's aggression may be traced back to a lack of proper socialization and a former life of neglect and abuse, but that does not make it OK to endanger others while trying to give the dog a new life of freedom.
If this type of dog were to attack someone while unleashed, his owner could be held liable for any financial losses sustained by the victim or their family. For more information on South Carolina's dog bite laws, you can read about it in
S.C. Ann. Section 47-3-110.
Essentially, when individuals or companies are careless or negligent and someone else is injured as a direct result, the at-fault party could be held legally liable and subject to a personal injury lawsuit, which would be filed by the injured party, or in the case of a wrongful death, by the decedent's surviving family members.
Do I have grounds to file a claim?
It depends on the level of negligence involved. In order for you to have a valid personal injury claim, you would have to:
- Prove that the other party was negligent,
- Have suffered actual damages, and
- Show that the other party's negligence was the proximate cause of your injuries.
If all of the above elements are true, you may have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit. Please keep in mind that in order for you to file a claim, you must do so before the deadline. Each state has a deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit; this is called the "statute of limitations."
In South Carolina, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim is three (3) years under
S.C. Code Ann. Section 15-3-530. If you do not file a claim within the three-year window, the court would not accept your case – so don't miss this limited opportunity!
To file a personal injury claim in the Columbia area, contactMasella Law Firm, P.A. for a free consultation!