Charleston, SC – When someone is injured in an accident and files a civil case afterward, damages are an important factor that will determine exactly how much compensation they receive. All negligence cases have an element of damages, which is essentially the sum of all of the victim’s losses. 

South Carolina has some specifics regarding how a plaintiff can collect damages, and how much they will receive. With any accident, it is important for the victim to get legal advice from an injury lawyer to determine how these laws may be specifically applied to their case. Damages are one of the most complex aspects of a civil lawsuit.

Damage caps listed in South Carolina’s laws

While accident victims can generally collect enough money to pay for all of their losses if they win their case, there are some limitations to a plaintiff’s ability to receive damages. These are called damage caps, and there are few listed in the state’s laws that apply to personal injury lawsuits. Title 15 of the South Carolina Code contains all of the rules for these limits on damages. 

If punitive damages are awarded, they cannot exceed three times the amount of compensatory damages awarded, or $500,000 whichever amount is greater. There are some situations where the defendant’s conduct could constitute a felony and was the proximate cause of damages. This amount of punitive damages increases to four times compensatory damages or $2 million.  

Punitive damages are a type of remedy that is awarded if the defendant has engaged in conduct that includes malice or willful misconduct when they caused an accident. These kinds of damages are essentially meant to punish the defendant for their behavior rather than compensate the victim for their losses. The plaintiff must provide clear and convincing evidence of the defendant’s conduct if they want the jury to receive an instruction regarding punitive damages. 

Economic and non-economic damages

The state allows plaintiffs to collect economic and non-economic damages without any caps or limitations. Economic losses include medical and healthcare costs, lost income and wages, property damages, and losses of future earning capacity. Non-economic damages are sometimes informally called emotional pain and suffering. Under South Carolina law, loss of a person’s companionship, physical deformities from injuries, psychological problems such as depression, stress, and anxiety, and loss of enjoyment with reductions in quality of life can all be factored into non-economic damages. 

Learning about civil lawsuits and victims’ rights

The Clekis Law Firm is located in Charleston, and they provide guidance to accident victims in nearby areas such as Mount Pleasant. Anyone who was injured can schedule a consultation to discuss their situation with an attorney who focuses on personal injury cases. 

Firm contact info:

The Clekis Law Firm

171 Church St., Charleston SC, 29401

[email protected]