"Statutes of limitations" are laws that set time limits on how long you have to file a "civil" lawsuit, like a personal injury lawsuit, or how long the state has to prosecute someone for committing a crime. These time limits usually depend on the legal claim or crime involved in the case, and they're different from state to state. For example, in some states you may have three years to file a personal injury lawsuit after you were hurt in a car accident, but in other states you may have two years. As general rules:

  • The time period begins to run on the date your claim arises or "accrues," like the day of the car accident, or when a crime is committed, and
  • Once the statute of limitations has expired or "run," you can't file a lawsuit (or be prosecuted for a crime)

Below are the statutes of limitations in South Carolina for various civil claims and crimes. The list doesn't cover everything. Also, the laws may change at any time, so be sure to check the current laws and read them carefully, or talk to an attorney if you have any questions.

Civil

Note: Most of the civil statutes of limitations are in Title 15, Chapter 3 of the South Carolina Code of Laws. You need to scroll through the page provided to see the code sections noted below. Also, you can scroll through the laws in Chapter 3 to find the statute of limitations for civil claims or "causes of action" not listed below.

Description

Statute

Assault and Battery, 3 years

S.C. Code § 15-3-530(5)

Contract (in writing), 3 or 20 years (Depending on if the contract is "under seal")    

S.C. Code §§ 15-3-520 or 15-3-530(1)     

Contract (oral or not in writing), 3 years

S.C. Code § 15-3-530(1)

False Imprisonment, 2 years

S.C. Code § 15-3-550(1)

Fraud, 3 years

S.C. Code § 15-3-530(7)

Enforcing Court Judgments, 10 years

S.C. Code § 15-3-600

Legal Malpractice, 3 years

S.C. Code § 15-3-530(5)

Libel, 2 years

S.C. Code § 15-3-550(1)

Medical Malpractice, 3 years

S.C. Code §§ 15-3-530(5) and 15-3-545

Personal Injury, 3 years

S.C. Code § 15-3-530(5)

Product Liability, 3 years

S.C. Code § 15-3-530(4), (5)

Property Damage, 3 years

S.C. Code § 15-3-530(4)

Slander, 2 years

S.C. Code § 15-3-550(1)

Trespass, 3 years

S.C. Code § 15-3-530(3)

Wrongful Death, 3 years

S.C. Code § 15-3-530(6)

Criminal

There are no statutes of limitations for any criminal prosecutions in South Carolina. In other words, you may be prosecuted for committing a crime at any time. Title 16 of the Code of Laws lists the various crimes in South Carolina.

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