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Frequently asked questions: South Carolina Tort Claims Act

What is the South Carolina Tort Claims Act?

Passed in 1986, the South Carolina Tort Claims Act holds government employees and officials liable for their actions in circumstances where an individual is injured. Before 1986, government employees and officials had total immunity.

Why was the Tort Claims Act necessary?

The General Assembly recognized that while total immunity from liability on the part of the government was not desirable, government officials and employees should not be subject to unlimited or unqualified liability for their actions. The Act strikes a balance between the two. 

What is the maximum amount for which someone can be held liable?

The Act established a maximum loss amount of $300,000 per person for acts arising from a single occurrence. The total sum that can be recovered from a single occurrence cannot exceed $600,000 regardless of the number of claims, political subdivisions or agencies involved. S.C. Code of Laws Section 15-78-120(a).

Are there any exemptions?

Yes, the General Assembly recognized government's unique roles and obligations in society. The Act specifically exempts public entities from liability resulting from certain actions (e.g., legislative, judicial or quasi-judicial action or inaction; execution, enforcement or compliance with any court order; assessment or collection of taxes; any claim covered by the South Carolina Workers" Compensation Act). Refer to Section 15-78-60 of the S.C. Code of Laws for a full listing of exemptions.