Policy Plan

Overview

The recent tort reform and workers’ comp reform laws 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, objective standards for workers’ comp awards and reasonable limits on punitive damages 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

2016  Update: new Oregon Workers’ Compensation Premium Rate Ranking released in October 2016 (Worst Ranking is 1. Best ranking is 51, ranks highest premiums to lowest)

Virginia 47
Tennessee 30
Georgia 27
North Carolina 22
South Carolina 18

How does South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia rank in the Lawsuit Climate 2017 report conducted for the US Chamber of Commerce?

Virginia 10
Tennessee 30
North Carolina 33
South Carolina 34
Georgia 40
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 our major competitors: North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia all have better legal climates and, along with Georgia, have lower Workers’  Compensation costs.

South Carolina’s business and policy leaders must address these two issues so the Palmetto State can compete with surrounding states and global competition.


Successful Reform Efforts led by the South Carolina Civil Justice Coalition on behalf of the business community:

H.3008
In 2005, the General Assembly passed 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 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.