When a child suffers abuse, the law dictates just how long he or his representative has to take legal action against those responsible. Known as the statute of limitations, these laws clearly define the time frame in which a personal injury lawsuit can be filed in civil court. In most cases, South Carolinians have three years to file a personal injury claim. However, South Carolina law provides exceptions for abused children and for those seeking to take legal action due to abuse suffered when they were a minor.
Under these exceptions, a victim of child abuse has one year from his 8th birthday—or three years from the date the abuse occurred (or was discovered)—to file a personal injury lawsuit against the person or entity responsible for the abuse. The victim can file the claim according to whichever is later: his 18th birthday or three years from the date of the abuse.
The law provides additional exceptions for childhood sexual abuse victims. South Carolina Code Section 15-3-555 states that victims of childhood sexual abuse or incest can file a personal injury lawsuit up to six years after they turn 21 or within three years of learning that an injury was caused by sexual abuse they experienced as a child, whichever comes later.
Even though the law gives child abuse victims years to file a personal injury claim, it’s wise to take action sooner rather than later. Waiting to file a civil suit may result in the victim or witnesses forgetting important details, or evidence being lost or contaminated.
Consult an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
If your child was a victim of abuse or if you suffered abuse as a minor, understanding your legal rights is extremely important. The knowledgeable attorneys with Hite and Stone can help you explore your options for compensation. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation of your child abuse case.