South Carolina General Assembly
110th Session, 1993-1994

Bill 4386

Indicates Matter Stricken
Indicates New Matter

                    Current Status

Introducing Body:               House
Bill Number:                    4386
Primary Sponsor:                J. Bailey
Type of Legislation:            GB
Subject:                        Motor vehicle insurance,
                                noneconomic loss
Residing Body:                  House
Computer Document Number:       BBM/10787JM.94
Introduced Date:                19940111
Last History Body:              House
Last History Date:              19940222
Last History Type:              Objection by Representative
Scope of Legislation:           Statewide
All Sponsors:                   J. Bailey
Type of Legislation:            General Bill


Bill  Body    Date          Action Description              CMN  Leg Involved
____  ______  ____________  ______________________________  ___  ____________

4386  House   19940222      Objection by Representative          Jennings
4386  House   19940209      Committee Report: Favorable     26
4386  House   19940111      Introduced, read first time,    26
                            referred to Committee
4386  House   19931215      Prefiled, referred to           26

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(Text matches printed bills. Document has been reformatted to meet World Wide Web specifications.)


February 9, 1994

H. 4386

Introduced by REP. J. Bailey

S. Printed 2/9/94--H.

Read the first time January 11, 1994.



To whom was referred a Bill (H. 4386), to amend Chapter 77, Title 38, Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1976, relating to automobile insurance, by adding Article 13, etc., respectfully


That they have duly and carefully considered the same, and recommend that the same do pass:

THOMAS C. ALEXANDER, for Committee.



Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:

SECTION 1. Chapter 77 of Title 38 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:


Noneconomic Loss

Section 38-77-1200. As used in this article, unless the context otherwise requires:

(A) `Accidental bodily injury' means bodily injury, sickness, or disease, or death resulting therefrom, arising out of the ownership, operation, or use of a motor vehicle, or while occupying such vehicle, which is accidental as to the person insured.

(B) `Economic loss' means actual pecuniary loss and actual monetary expenses incurred by or on behalf of an injured person as the result of an accidental bodily injury consisting only of medical expense, work loss, replacement services loss, and death benefits.

(C) `Injured person' means a person who sustains accidental bodily injury when eligible for benefits under a policy of automobile insurance. The term also includes, where appropriate, the personal representative of an estate.

(D) `Intentional misconduct' means conduct whereby harm is intentionally caused or attempted to be caused by one who acts or fails to act for the purpose of causing harm or with knowledge that harm is substantially certain to follow when such conduct caused or substantially contributed to the harm claimed for. A person does not intentionally cause or attempt to cause harm (1) merely because his or her act or failure to act is done with the realization that it creates a grave risk of causing harm or (2) if the act or omission causing bodily harm is for the purpose of averting bodily harm to oneself or another person.

(E) `Motor vehicle' is defined by Section 38-77-30(7).

(F) `Noneconomic loss' means any loss other than economic loss and includes, but is not necessarily limited to, pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, mental anguish, emotional pain and suffering, hedonic damages, and loss of any of the following: earning capacity, consortium, society, companionship, comfort, protection, marital care, parental care, filial care, attention, advice, counsel, training, guidance, or education. Noneconomic loss does not include economic loss caused by pain and suffering or by physical impairment.

(G) `Occupying' means to be in or upon a motor vehicle or engaged in the immediate act of entering into or alighting from the motor vehicle.

(H) `Operation or use' means operation or use of a motor vehicle as a motor vehicle, including, incident to its operation or use as a vehicle, occupying it. Operation or use of a motor vehicle does not cover conduct within the course of a business of manufacturing, selling, or maintaining a motor vehicle, including repairing, servicing, washing, loading, or unloading, nor does it include such conduct not within the course of such a business, unless such conduct occurs while occupying a motor vehicle.

(I) `Owner' means the person or persons, other than a lienholder or secured party, who owns or has title to a motor vehicle or is entitled to the use and possession of a motor vehicle subject to a security interest held by another person. Owner does not include (i) a lessee under a lease not intended as security, or (ii) the United States of America or any agency thereof, except with respect to motor vehicles for which it has elected to provide insurance.

(J) `Permanent' means an injury whose effects cannot be eliminated by further time for recovery or by further treatment and care, including surgery.

(K) `Person' includes an organization, public or private.

(L) `Replacement services loss' means expenses reasonably incurred in obtaining ordinary and necessary services from others, not members of the injured person's household, in lieu of those the injured person would have performed for the benefit of the household. Replacement services loss does not include any loss incurred after the death of an injured person, and the disability period shall not exceed two years from the date of the accident.

(M) `Serious' means only an injury which has a substantial bearing on the injured person's ability to resume substantially all of his normal activities and lifestyle.

(N) `Serious bodily injury' means an accidental bodily injury which results in death, serious and permanent loss of an important bodily function, permanent and serious bodily injury determined objectively within reasonable medical probability, or serious and permanent disfigurement.

Section 38-77-1210. In any action of tort brought against the owner, registrant, operator, or occupant of a motor vehicle with respect to which a policy of automobile insurance as defined in Section 38-77-30(1) is applicable, or against any person or organization legally responsible for his acts or omissions, a plaintiff may recover up to one thousand dollars in noneconomic loss in tort for pain, suffering, mental anguish, and inconvenience because of bodily injury, sickness, or disease arising out of the ownership, maintenance, operation, or use of such motor vehicle. However, in the event that the injury reaches one of the following thresholds:

(1) the injury or disease consists in whole or in part of permanent and serious disfigurement;

(2) permanent and serious bodily injury, determined objectively, within reasonable medical probability;

(3) permanent and serious loss of an important bodily function;

(4) the actual economic loss exceeds the policy limits of the at-fault party; or

(5) death; then, the plaintiff may recover damages for pain, suffering, mental anguish, and inconvenience because of bodily injury, sickness, or disease arising out of the ownership, maintenance, operation, or use of such motor vehicle without the imposition of the limitation referred to above in this section.

Section 38-77-1220. The provisions of this article are not applicable if the motor vehicle operator was driving under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs or is guilty of intentional misconduct.

Section 38-77-1230. In any action where the defendant contends that the plaintiff's injury does not meet the standards set forth in Section 38-77-1210, either party may seek summary judgment on that issue. If a motion is made, the court may determine at least thirty days before the date set for trial whether there is a material issue of fact as to whether the injury meets the standards of Section 38-77-1210 or if not, render summary judgment in accordance with the undisputed facts. If the facts regarding the nature of the injury are undisputed, the question as to whether or not the facts render the injury as meeting the standards of Section 38-77-1210 is a question of law to be decided by the court. In any action to be tried before a jury where the defendant contends the plaintiff's injury is not a serious and permanent injury but the defendant concedes or the court determines that there is a material issue of fact as to whether the plaintiff's injury meets the standards of Section 38-77-1210 then, upon motion of the defendant, that issue shall be separately tried and no other evidence as to plaintiff's noneconomic loss shall be received until that issue has been resolved. After resolution of that issue, the amount of the plaintiff's noneconomic loss may be tried before the same jury or a different jury, as the court may in its discretion decide."

SECTION 2. This act takes effect October 1, 1994.