The University of South Carolina is the flagship institution of South Carolina’s public higher education system. The largest university in South Carolina by enrollment, the University of South Carolina has its main campus in Columbia, near the South Carolina State House.
Accidents and injuries regularly occur at the University of South Carolina, with tens of thousands of students, faculty, employees, and visitors on the university’s campuses. Depending on the circumstances of an accident, a person injured on the university’s campus might have various legal options for seeking financial recovery for medical bills, lost income, and other financial and personal losses.
However, pursuing a claim following an accident at the University of South Carolina may involve complex legal issues. An injured party might improve their chances of recovering compensation by working with an experienced Columbia personal injury lawyer.
Types of Injuries People Can Suffer at the University of South Carolina
Accidents that occur on campus at the University of South Carolina may cause different kinds of injuries, including:
- Severe lacerations and scarring
- Electrocution injuries
- Degloving injuries
- Toxic exposure or viral/bacterial infection
- Broken bones
- Ligament sprains/tears
- Muscle or tendon strains/tears
- Nerve damage
- Neck and back injuries, including whiplash or herniated spinal discs
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Internal injuries and bleeding
- Vision/hearing loss
- Traumatic brain injuries
Who Might Get Injured at the University of South Carolina?
People who visit, work, and live on the University of South Carolina campuses might suffer injuries in an accident on campus.
People who might get hurt on campus at the University of South Carolina include:
- Students: University students, including both residential students and off-campus/commuter students, may suffer injuries in accidents that occur on campus, including accidents in classroom buildings, lab spaces, dormitories, sports/recreational facilities, and other student facilities.
- Employees: University employees, including administrative staff, buildings and maintenance workers, and campus police, might also get hurt on the job while on campus.
- Faculty: Professors and other university faculty may also suffer injuries during their employment while on the university campus.
- Visitors: The university welcomes various types of visitors, including delivery drivers, prospective students, or attendees at sporting events. Visitors may get hurt in accidents caused by hazardous property conditions on campus.
Legal Rights of Victims of Accidents on Campus at the University of South Carolina
A person who gets hurt on campus may have various legal options for pursuing financial recovery for their injuries and losses. These options include pursuing a personal injury claim or applying for workers' compensation benefits.
Pursuing Personal Injury Claims
A student or visitor injured on campus at the University of South Carolina might have a personal injury claim against the university or other parties responsible for causing their injuries.
Potential personal injury claims for an accident on campus might involve:
- Car accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Premises liability accidents, including slips and falls, trips and falls, fires/explosions, chemical/toxic exposure, electrocution
- Sports/recreational accidents, including gym accidents or swimming pool accidents
When an accident on campus occurs due to a dangerous property condition or due to the negligence of university employees, an injured person might have the right to hold the university liable for their harm and loss.
A personal injury claim might provide an injured party with compensation for financial and personal losses that they have suffered, including:
- Medical treatment and rehabilitation expenses, including hospitalization, surgeries, prescriptions, or physical/occupational therapy
- Costs of long-term care or support for disabilities that result from injuries suffered in an accident
- Ongoing or future loss of income and earning potential due to temporary or permanent disabilities that affect a person’s ability to work or earn as much as they did before the accident
- Physical pain and anguish
- Emotional distress and suffering, including reduced quality of life caused by physical disabilities or permanent scarring/disfigurement
Under South Carolina’s statute of limitations for personal injury claims, a person injured in an accident on campus at the University of South Carolina might have up to three years following the accident to file a lawsuit against the party or parties responsible for the accident.
However, pursuing a claim against the university might involve complex legal rules and requirements. Under state law, the University of South Carolina, as an arm of the state government, has limited liability for injuries and losses.
For example, a governmental entity such as the university may bear liability for losses arising from events such as:
- The act or omission of a person other than an employee, including the criminal acts of third persons
- Supervision or protection of students, except when losses arise from the governmental entity’s gross negligence
- Maintenance, supervision, or security of public property used for recreational purposes, unless the governmental entity had actual notice of a defective condition and sufficient opportunity to correct the condition
Furthermore, an injured party may file a verified claim against the university to provide notice of their claim at least 180 days before filing a lawsuit. The injured party may not file suit until the 180 days have elapsed or the university denies the claim or rejects a settlement offer.
Furthermore, the injured party must file their lawsuit within two years of the accident unless they file a verified claim, in which case they must file suit within three years of the accident. Finally, the law limits any financial recovery from the university to $300,000 per person, up to $600,000 per accident/incident, regardless of the number of claims.
Seeking Workers’ Compensation
University of South Carolina employees and faculty members injured on the job might have the option to pursue financial benefits to help with their injury recovery by filing a workers’ compensation claim.
Like most private employers, a state employer like the University of South Carolina must provide workers’ compensation to all paid employees. The University has workers’ compensation insurance via the State Accident Fund.
A university employee injured at work should notify their supervisor about their injury as soon as possible after a workplace accident. Waiting more than 90 days to report a work-related injury or occupational illness may disqualify an employee from seeking workers’ compensation benefits.
The university will usually file a claim with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission after receiving notice of an employee’s work-related injury or occupational illness. Furthermore, the employee must file a claim form with the Commission within two years of a workplace accident to preserve their eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits.
An employee injured on the job might receive certain financial benefits through workers’ compensation.
These benefits include:
- Medical benefits: Pays for all reasonable and necessary treatment of a work injury or occupational illness, including hospitalization, surgery, prescription medications, and physical/occupational therapy
- Lost income benefits: Reimburses an injured worker for two-thirds of their average weekly income or two-thirds of the difference between their average weekly income and their reduced earnings in a part-time or light-duty role while on medical restrictions, subject to a cap equal to the maximum average weekly income
- Permanent disability benefits: Once an employee reaches maximum medical improvement but suffers from permanent partial or total disability, they may receive financial payments based on the type and severity of disability. Permanent total disability may entitle workers to continued partial wage reimbursement if they cannot return to work.
When the university denies liability for an employee’s workers’ compensation claim or refuses to grant specific benefits, the employee might have the right to seek a hearing before the state Workers’ Compensation Commission. A commissioner will rule on the employee’s claim.
Any party objecting to the commissioner’s decision can appeal with an appellate panel of multiple commissioners or the full Commission. Before a case gets resolved at a hearing, an employee or employer may request an informal conference or mediation to resolve any outstanding disputes, including discussing a settlement to resolve permanent disability benefits.
In South Carolina, a workers’ compensation settlement may give an employee the option to seek additional medical treatment within 12 months of the last payment of benefits if their work injury or occupational illness worsens, or an employee may receive a final settlement that resolves the claim by including payment of compensation for future medical care the employee might need.
What Should You Do After an Accident at the University of South Carolina?
If you suffered injuries in an accident on the University of South Carolina campus, to protect your legal rights and options:
- Remember to follow your doctor’s treatment plan and recovery instructions.
- Report the accident or your injuries to the university, such as by notifying your supervisor if you got hurt at work on campus.
- Keep any bills, invoices, or receipts for medical treatment costs and other expenses you incur.
- Gather your income statements if you need to miss time from work or transfer to a lower-paying role during your recovery from injuries.
- Request copies of medical records of your injury treatment and rehabilitation and any accident/incident reports written following your injury.
Finally, seek legal representation as soon as possible to learn more about the next steps you can take to seek financial compensation that can help you with your recovery.
How Can an Attorney Help You After Getting Injured at the University of South Carolina
No matter what legal claims you might have after an accident at the University of South Carolina, an attorney can assist you by guiding you through the claims process and handling the details of your case so you can focus on your treatment and rehabilitation.
An attorney may pursue the financial relief you need after an accident by:
- Investigating the accident to secure critical evidence, such as surveillance camera footage, police reports, accident/incident reports, or witness statements
- Reviewing the facts and evidence in your case to determine who might bear liability for your injuries and losses and evaluate your options, including potential legal claims you might have against the university or other parties
- Documenting your injuries, medical expenses, and lost income to pursue the full financial recovery you might have the right to under the law
- Preparing and filing workers’ comp claims, verified claims, or insurance claims on your behalf and communicating with adjusters, university representatives, or defense attorneys on your behalf to protect your rights and interests
- Negotiating a settlement of your claims or advocating on your behalf in workers’ comp hearings or in court as necessary
Injured in an Accident at the University of South Carolina? You Might Have Legal Options for Recovering Compensation
Depending on the circumstances of an on-campus accident at the University of South Carolina, an injured person might have various options for seeking financial benefits and compensation. Based on the cause of an on-campus accident, the university might bear responsibility for an injured person’s losses.
An accident victim may have various options for pursuing compensation for their medical bills or lost income, including filing a personal injury claim or seeking workers’ compensation benefits.
Working with an experienced attorney can give a person hurt at the University of South Carolina a favorable chance of obtaining the financial benefits or resources they need to treat their injuries and get their lives back on track.