Policy Plan

Overview

The tort reform and workers’ comp reform laws passed in the past seventeen years have improved our business climate by correcting some flaws in our tort and workers’ compensation systems. But to gain a competitive advantage we need further reforms, in particular, on updates to our state’s comparative fault statute, reasonable limits on punitive damages, asbestos trust transparency, seatbelt non-use inadmissibility in court, and objective standards for workers’ comp awards.

How does South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia compare on workers’ compensation costs?

According to the Small Business Survival Index 2016: (Number 1 being the preferred ranking.)

Virginia 4t
Georgia 19
Tennessee 29
North Carolina 19
South Carolina 34t

2018  Update: new Oregon Workers’ Compensation Premium Rate Ranking released in October 2018 (Worst Ranking is 1. Best ranking is 51, ranks highest premiums to lowest)

Virginia 41
Tennessee 32
Georgia 6
North Carolina 19
South Carolina 14

How does South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia rank in the Lawsuit Climate 2019 report conducted for the US Chamber of Commerce?

Virginia 12
Tennessee 34
North Carolina 16
South Carolina 37
Georgia 41
Conclusion

While some improvements have been made in South Carolina, our litigation environment and workers’ compensation costs are still having a negative impact on our business climate and lessening the competitiveness of our state. Making matters worse is some of our major competitors: North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia all have better legal climates and Georgia has lower Workers’  Compensation costs.

South Carolina’s business and policy leaders must address these issues so the Palmetto State can continue to compete with other states and our global competitors.


Successful Reform Efforts led by the South Carolina Coalition for Lawsuit Reform on behalf of the business community:

H.3008
In 2005, the General Assembly passed Act No. 27 (H.3008) that reformed South Carolina’s tort laws including venue, joint and several liability, statute of repose, and post-judgment interest rates.

S.332
In 2007, the General Assembly passed Act 111 (S.332) that reformed South Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation laws by phasing out the Second Injury Fund, correcting 6 anti-business Workers’ Comp court decisions, providing standards for repetitive trauma claims and allowing employers to offer rebuttal evidence in certain instances.

H.3775
In 2011, Governor Nikki Haley signed into law Act 52 (H.3375), tort reform legislation that capped punitive damages, limited circuit solicitors’ ability to hire counsel unless approved in writing by the Attorney General, and set caps on appeals bonds, among other items.

H.3266

In 2015, Governor Nikki Haley signed into law Act No.65 (H.3266), codifies the common law and its limitations on liability by land possessors and provides exceptions; thereby, protecting landowners from frivolous lawsuits.