After an accident involving personal injury and resulting damages, it's critical to determine all possible insurance coverage.  A personal injury lawyer is usually able to look beyond what most non-lawyers know about coverage, but anyone who has been hurt should know the basics of finding coverage.  It's relatively easy in the situation a liable party causes injury and has a policy with high enough limits to pay damages like medical bills, lost wages, and pain/suffering.  The tougher situation is when parties either don't have enough coverage, or in some cases neither the liable party has coverage and the hurt party doesn't have uninsured motorist coverage. These unique situations are the focus of this article.
 
        When a liable party causes a great deal of damage, but only maintains minimum limits (in South Carolina that is $25,000.00), the harmed party must look beyond the liable party's coverage.  The first place to look is the underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage available by the party with high damages.  These limits will usually be at the level of the liability limits if available.  Therefore, if a party has $25,000.00 in liability coverage the UIM coverage will be $25K.  If the damages are beyond the UIM coverage, the other potential coverage is in "stacking" UIM policies for other vehicles under the harmed parties' policy.  That allows for that additional coverage as needed.  Yes, the liable party can be sued for an amount beyond their coverage, but attempting to satisfy damages beyond coverage becomes very difficult and time-consuming.  The old saying "you can't squeeze blood from a turnip" applies in many cases, and remember there is no debtor's prison.  
 
        The same principle of coverage applies when the other driver is uninsured.  Instead of UIM coverage, it is uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, with the same ability to stack policies to satisfy damages.  Again, must better to go after insurance policies available then attempting to "squeeze blood from a turnip".
 
         The other situation that can create the need for alternative insurance coverage is in the event of an accident involving an uninsured driver and the harmed party does not have personal policy coverage (or declined UM/UIM coverage).  Another potential coverage may exist as the only alternative to having no coverage available.  If the person is a "resident relative", living in the same house with a direct family relative (like father/mother or spouse or children), and the relative has UM/UIM policy coverage, that harmed party could be covered.  The insurance company for the policy allowing coverage for a resident relative will likely conduct an investigation to ensure the relatives did live together at the time of the accident, and proof will be required.  Assuming the insurance company accepts the resident relative status, then the coverage is available to the limits of the UM/UIM policy.
 
        Again, a personal injury lawyer will be looking for these alternative types of coverage, but it's still important for everyone to understand what is available to cover damages.  It could make all the difference in the world for yourself, or more importantly for those you love.
 
Bill
 

FINDING ALL POSSIBLE INSURANCE COVERAGE AFTER PERSONAL INJURY

 
         After an accident involving personal injury and resulting damages, it's critical to determine all possible insurance coverage.  A personal injury lawyer is usually able to look beyond what most non-lawyers know about coverage, but anyone who has been hurt should know the basics of finding coverage.  It's relatively easy in the situation a liable party causes injury and has a policy with high enough limits to pay damages like medical bills, lost wages, and pain/suffering.  The tougher situation is when parties either don't have enough coverage, or in some cases neither the liable party has coverage and the hurt party doesn't have uninsured motorist coverage. These unique situations are the focus of this article.
 
        When a liable party causes a great deal of damage, but only maintains minimum limits (in South Carolina that is $25,000.00), the harmed party must look beyond the liable party's coverage.  The first place to look is the underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage available by the party with high damages.  These limits will usually be at the level of the liability limits if available.  Therefore, if a party has $25,000.00 in liability coverage the UIM coverage will be $25K.  If the damages are beyond the UIM coverage, the other potential coverage is in "stacking" UIM policies for other vehicles under the harmed parties' policy.  That allows for that additional coverage as needed.  Yes, the liable party can be sued for an amount beyond their coverage, but attempting to satisfy damages beyond coverage becomes very difficult and time-consuming.  The old saying "you can't squeeze blood from a turnip" applies in many cases, and remember there is no debtor's prison.  
 
        The same principle of coverage applies when the other driver is uninsured.  Instead of UIM coverage, it is uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, with the same ability to stack policies to satisfy damages.  Again, must better to go after insurance policies available then attempting to "squeeze blood from a turnip".
 
         The other situation that can create the need for alternative insurance coverage is in the event of an accident involving an uninsured driver and the harmed party does not have personal policy coverage (or declined UM/UIM coverage).  Another potential coverage may exist as the only alternative to having no coverage available.  If the person is a "resident relative", living in the same house with a direct family relative (like father/mother or spouse or children), and the relative has UM/UIM policy coverage, that harmed party could be covered.  The insurance company for the policy allowing coverage for a resident relative will likely conduct an investigation to ensure the relatives did live together at the time of the accident, and proof will be required.  Assuming the insurance company accepts the resident relative status, then the coverage is available to the limits of the UM/UIM policy.
 
        Again, a personal injury lawyer will be looking for these alternative types of coverage, but it's still important for everyone to understand what is available to cover damages.  It could make all the difference in the world for yourself, or more importantly for those you love.
 
Bill
 

Benefits of Hiring a Lawyer

 

Personal Injury Lawyer In South Carolina
A personal injury is an injury that is the fault of another person or business. There are many different classifications of a personal injury, for example, slip and falls when on another person's property or business, automobile accidents, and medical malpractices can all be listed as a personal injury.
These laws exist to compensate the injured person and help make sure that future wrongdoings are avoided.

What is a personal injury attorney?
A personal injury lawyer a person who legally represents plaintiffs that are claiming physical or emotional injury as the result of negligence or disregard of another person or party.
The lawyer assists the plaintiff and helps them acquire compensation for their suffering or loss as a result of an injury. If your suffering has resulted in your inability to work, perform normal activities, left you in pain, with medical expenses, or caused you psychological distress, and left you with legal costs, your attorney can assist you in getting the fair compensation you need to cover your losses.

Obligations of a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Your Lawyer will investigate your injury claim, collect evidence and research case laws. The primary purpose of your lawyer is to get you the reasonable compensation required for your loss and suffering. In some instances your attorney may be able to get the other party to settle, in this case, you would not have to take the other party or business to trial.
Having an attorney can help protect you from being taken advantage of and ensure you are treated fairly.

Benefits of Having a Lawyer
Most people wonder if having a personal injury attorney is needed, and the answer to that is that it can be impossible to handle a case on your own if you do not have the proper legal knowledge. When the stakes are high, a personal injury lawyer is crucial for the following purposes:

Claim’s Value
What is your claim worth?
You can't accurately determine the value of your claims. But you can get a reasonable estimate from an attorney.

Legal Process
An experienced lawyer South Carolina knows the legal procedures and proper time for filing a personal injury lawsuit. If you decide to handle the case on your own, you may make a mistake that can have your case thrown out.

Case Success
The odds are that the defendant, particularly businesses and insurance companies will hire a qualified, experienced attorney to defend them against your allegations. If you choose to fight this legal team on your own, you may find yourself outmatched and lose. Letting a knowledgeable lawyer handle the opposing party is the best approach to ensure your best outcome.

It's important to find a reliable, experienced, knowledgeable attorney that will look out for your best interests.
If you or a loved one have endured a personal injury due to an accident and need to make a legal claim, obtaining a personal lawyer in South Carolina is crucial.
At The Bill Connor Law Firm, we will do our best to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve. Call us today to see how we can assist you.

 

 

 
If you or a loved one is considering filing a personal injury lawsuit due to a car crash, slip and fall, or any personal injury in Columbia SC, you may be wondering "What is my lawsuit worth and should I even file a case at all?" The answer comes down to "damages" and calculating  what your injuries have cost you and your family monetarily, physically, and psychologically
 
In a personal injury lawsuit, financial damages are paid to an injured person (the plaintiff) by the people or company legally liable for the incident (the defendant, usually covered by an insurer). A settlement can occur after a negotiated agreement between the parties, their insurance companies, and their lawyers.  Alternatively, a judge or jury can award damages following a court trial in which a party is found liable. 
 
In this article, we are going to look at the different kinds of damages typical in most personal injury cases and how a personal injury damages award can be influenced by the plaintiff's action (or inaction).
 
 
Compensatory Damages in Personal Injury Lawsuits
 
Many personal injury damages are classified as "compensatory," this means that they are intended to compensate the injured plaintiff for what was suffered due to the accident or injury. This involves putting a dollar amount on all the consequences of an incident. Some compensatory damages are relatively simple to quantify such as reimbursement for property damage and the injured plaintiff's medical bills. But it's a lot more challenging to put a monetary value on pain and suffering or the inability to enjoy regular life events because of physical limitations caused by accident-related injuries.
 
Here's a list of the various kinds of compensatory damages that are standard in many personal injury cases.
 
Income
You may be awarded compensation for the accident's impact on your salary and wages. This includes income you've already lost and also the money you that you would have been able to make in the future, if not for the incident. In personal injury legalese, a damage award based on later  income is described as compensation for your "loss of earning capacity."
 
Emotional suffering
Typically linked with more severe accidents, emotional distress damages are intended to compensate for a personal injury plaintiff for the psychological impact of an injury. For example, fear, anxiety, and even sleep loss due to the accident. In some states, emotional distress is part of any "pain and suffering" damage that is given to a personal injury plaintiff.
 
Medical treatment
A personal injury damages award usually covers the cost of medical care associated with the accident, reimbursement for medical treatment you or a loved one have received any compensation for the estimated cost of medical care you'll require in the future due to the accident.
 
Pain and suffering 
You may be entitled to receive compensation for pain and severe discomfort that you have suffered caused by the accident and its immediate aftermath and also for any ongoing pain that can be associated with the incident. 
 
Property loss 
If any cars or other items were damaged because of the accident, you'd probably be entitled to compensation for repairs or reimbursement for the fair market value of the property that was lost.
 
Loss of consortium 
In personal injury lawsuits, "loss of consortium" damages usually refer to the impact the injuries have on the plaintiff's relationship with their spouse. For instance, the lack of companionship or the inability to keep a sexual relationship also some states consider the separate impact on the relationship between a parent and their children when a person is injured. In some instances, loss of consortium damages is given directly to the affected family member rather than the injured plaintiff.
 
Loss of enjoyment 
When injuries produced by accident keep you or a loved one from enjoying day-to-day activities including exercise, hobbies and other recreational activities, you may be entitled to get "loss of enjoyment" damages.
 
 
 
Punitory Damages in Personal Injury Lawsuits
 
In cases where the defendant's behavior is considered particularly outrageous or extremely careless, a personal injury plaintiff may be awarded punitive damages along with any compensatory damages award. 
Punitive damages are given to the injured plaintiff. The goal of these types of costs is to punish the defendant for their conduct. 
 
Contributory negligence
 In the handful of states that follow the concept of "contributory negligence" for personal injury cases, you may not be capable of recovering any compensation at all if you're considered partially to blame for the incident.
 
Related negligence 
If you or a loved one is at fault (even partially) for the accident that caused your injuries, the odds are that any damage award will reflect that. This is because most states adhere to a "comparative negligence" standard that combines damages to a degree of fault in a personal injury lawsuit.
 
 
After the accident: failure to decrease damages. 
The law in most states expects the plaintiffs in personal injury lawsuits to take sensible measures to reduce or "mitigate" the financial impact of the harm due to the accident.  This is the case in South Carolina, including Columbia SC. If an injured plaintiff unreasonably allows damages to continue (by failing to get necessary medical treatment after an incident and causing their injuries to become much worse), a damages award might be diminished. 
 
 
Bill Connor is a Personal Injury Attorney in Orangeburg South Carolina.
If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident, call The Bill Connor Law Firm today! 

 
 
Accidents can happen at any time.  No matter how good the driver, a person can still be involved in a crash and sometimes left with a totaled vehicle and serious personal injuries. This is particularly the case in Columbia, South Carolina which was ranked the second worst in the nation for drivers. While your insurance is intended to protect you against financial consequences that could break the bank, you could still end up on the hook for medical bills and car repairs. Being informed about what do if in an accident before it happens is the smart way to protect yourself. Here's a list of things you need to know if you or a loved one is involved in an accident in Columbia SC.
 
The first thing you want to do when a collision occurs is to check for injuries among those involved. That includes all passengers who were riding in your vehicle and everyone in the other automobile. If there has been any apparent physical injuries, immediately call 911. It's also important to remember that an internal injury can potentially be life-threatening and waiting to get help could make the situation worse. You should get checked by EMS after a car accident have record of your physical condition and ensure you don't have injuries you are unaware. 
 
Then, of course, you should always report the accident to the authorities.  This is the case even when an accident seems relatively minor. An officer will come to the scene to fill out a report, or you may be able to file one at your local precinct. This is important to have the record for your insurance claim or if anyone were to bring a claim against you. 
 
When completing the report, it’s crucial to be as detailed as possible and include everything you can remember. It’s also a good idea to get a copy of the report for your records, in case you end up in court later on.
 
Always take pictures of all the cars involved in the incident as soon as possible, noting any damage and how they’re positioned including photos of the area, including traffic signs or signals, lane markings, trees and anything you believe may have aided to the crash. Make a note of where in Columbia the accident occurred, the time of day, which direction you were heading and how fast you were going if possible.
 
Sometimes the other driver will tell you they don’t want to get their insurance company involved, but it's essential that you exchange the relevant information make sure to get their full name, address, and phone number as well as the name of their insurance company. Write down the car’s make, model and tag number and make sure they have all of your information as well. You should also get the names and phone numbers of anyone who witnessed the accident which may be needed later on as proof.
 
If it’s possible, you should call your insurance company while you’re still at the scene of the accident. The agent you talk to should be able to tell you what you need to do next to file a claim. They should advise you in what kind of things you don’t want to do, which would include admitting guilt or signing anything that hasn’t first been reviewed by your insurer.
 
Once you’ve alerted the insurance company and begin the claims process, continue to document everything that happens. If you were injured, for instance, it’s a wise idea to keep copies of your doctor’s reports and medical bills.
 
It’s also vital to hold on to any receipts for all car repairs you pay for out-of-pocket. If the other motorist or their insurance company tries to contact you, remember to make a note of the call and politely refer them to the adjuster who is managing your claim or your lawyer. 
 
When a car accident happens, it’s up to the insurance companies to try and determine who ’s liable and what each party is responsible for financially. While it’s generally in the best interest of both sides to settle, there are situations where one person may decide to take the dispute to court. You should always speak with an experienced attorney following a car accident. 
 
Never make an admission of fault at the scene of the accident, as they admission can and will be related in court to your detriment.  Insurance companies will normally not settle claims in favor of a party who made an admission.  Even if you think you may have done something wrong, the other driver may be more at fault. 
 
The more you know, the more prepared you will be if you are involved in an accident. 
 
 
 

 

When someone you know has been injured, it can be frustrating and leave you feeling overwhelmed, confused and uncertain in how to proceed or what to do.  One of the most important things to do is find a qualified Personal Injury Attorney serving the Columbia SC area. This greatly helps you to proceed with most types of injury claims, and can be a very valuable resource throughout the injury claim process. Not only will you no longer have to worry about all the aggravating details of proceeding with a claim on your own but you will be able to rest easy knowing that The Bill Connor Law Firm is here for you to make sure you get the proper treatment you deserve. 
 
Personal Injury Claims including the physical, mental or emotional injuries which are a result of negligence on behalf of another individual such as a person or business. Personal injury claims should be made as quickly as possible since most states have a statute of limitations that limits the amount of time you have to file a claim.  The normal South Carolina statute of limitations is three years for most situation, but can be as little as two years if it involves a government entity.
 
There is a wide range of accidents bringing grounds for a personal injury claim in Columbia SC. The four most well-known types of accidents are automobile accidents, slip and fall accidents, premises liability, and product liability (also known as defective products). Your lawyer will be able to assist you in figuring out who was at fault in the accident and whether or not you have a viable case. 
 
Filing a personal injury lawsuit can be complex, so it's always best to consult with a personal injury lawyer before proceeding. An attorney will evaluate your injury claim and be able to guild you through every step of the claim process. Moreover, most personal injury lawyers are paid by contingency, and therefore not paid unless they resolve the case with money going to you. 

 

Semi-Truck Accident Claims in Columbia SC

A vehicle collision with an 18-wheeler in Columbia SC is a traumatic experience, which can leave victims with critical, life-changing injuries.
If you, or a loved one, have been injured because of a semi-truck accident in Columbia SC, it’s crucial to know what to do after you've been involved in a crash with a tractor-trailer.  Importantly, how to prepare your personal injury insurance claim for greatest compensation.
 
When a big rig hits your vehicle, the first and most important thing to do is call 911 for help (ask someone else to call if you’ve been injured).
The dispatcher will need to know your location and that you’ve been in an accident with a semi-truck.  The dispatcher will also need to know all the require help you need, so tell the dispatcher if anyone else is hurt, trapped, or if anyone has been thrown from their automobile. The dispatcher will need to know if there are any hazards at the scene such as, leaking fuel, if there are any downed power lines, or if the semi-truck that hit you is carrying any dangerous cargo.
 
Never to refuse medical care. When medical help arrives, the police will begin to secure the scene, and medical responders will evaluate each person for injuries. It is critical not to refuse medical treatment at the scene for multiple reasons. Some injuries are apparent, for example, bleeding wounds and broken bones, but there could also be potentially life-threatening injuries, like internal bleeding or head trauma, which are not apparent.
 
Sometimes shock and excitement can mask injury symptoms. You should tell the paramedics about every symptom, no matter how small. If the paramedics want to take you directly to the hospital go with them to be on the safe side. Rejecting or delaying medical treatment after an accident will harm any future legal claim for compensation.  The insurance company may use your rejection or delay to deny your injury claim, alleging that your wounds are not associated to the collision.
 
If you did not go to the hospital from the scene of the accident, then you should at least have a medical evaluation as soon as possible. If your doctor is unable to see you the day of the crash then try to find the closest emergency department or urgent care center.
 
Always make sure you (or someone else depending on the situation) get the truck driver's information.
Always exchange information with the truck driver including full names, home addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and any other relevant contact information. You can also ask to see the other person's driver’s license. Many states require drivers to show their driver's license after an accident. Semi-truck drivers should have a different driver’s license, so pay close attention.
 
Other important things to remember when involved in a wreck with a tractor-trailer in Columbia SC, is that you’ll need specific information concerning the truck, including:
 
The license plate number of the cab
The name, address, and contact information of the truck driver, if another person other than the driver owns the cab of the truck then get their information as well. 
The trucker's insurance information
The company that the driver works for
Gather evidence from the accident such as pictures and the names and phone numbers of any witnesses
 
If you can try and collect as much additional evidence as you safely can including:
 
Pictures: Use your camera or cell phone to take pictures of the accident. Always include photos of the truck and your car and the point of impact on the vehicles.
Also, try to take photos or videos of skid marks, road conditions, and damage to the surrounding area.
 
Notes: Write down your observations of the accident, be as detailed as possible. You can even make a note on your cell phone just as long as you record the information while it’s fresh in your mind. Make sure to write any admissions that the truck driver may make such as “I’m sorry, I didn’t see you.” The same goes for any witnesses who may have heard admissions the driver made.
 
Witness reports: Witnesses and their observations are valuable. The police may not have had a chance to speak with everyone that saw the incident. Try to get the contact information from all the witnesses.
 
It's important to remember that witnesses aren’t legally obligated to talk to you or the police but if you find a cooperative witness, ask them to write down what they saw and heard and also to sign and date their written statement.
 
Evidence gathered at the accident scene is crucial because it can help your injury claim, but don’t try to collect evidence if you've been injured. Your well being is the most critical thing and delaying medical treatment or aggravating your injuries will not help your insurance claim.
 
Severe injury and wrongful death claims following semi-truck accidents are complex and expensive claims, and insurance companies won’t pay large settlements without first putting up a fight. They will try to come up with any reasons to deny your claim or reduce your compensation. You will need a skilled personal injury lawyer to get the insurance companies to pay the fair value of your claim. Insurance companies generally make lower offers to claimants who don’t have an attorney. Let The Bill Connor Law Firm fight the battles for you so that you don't have to worry about dealing with the insurance companies and all the aggravation associated with dealing with a claim.
 
Never make an admission of fault at the scene of the accident, as they admission can and will be related in court to your detriment.  Insurance companies will normally not settle claims in favor of a party who made an admission.  Even if you think you may have done something wrong, the other driver may be more at fault. 
 
 
Your lawyer won’t get paid unless you do and there’s no obligation. It doesn't cost you anything to find out what The Bill Connor Law Firm can do for you.

 

Slip and Fall in Orangeburg South Carolina

 


Slip and Fall accidents can happen anytime, anyplace, and anywhere, even at your job or in a place of business. The factors that cause these accidents are usually when a floor is slippery and wet or if there is an obstruction in the walkway that causes you to trip. No matter what the situation, if a person is injured due to a slip and fall the employer or business may be held liable for those injuries. There are several factors to consider when determining whether or not a person is eligible for a slip and fall lawsuit such as negligence and liability. Also, there are several common injuries associated with slip and fall accidents; the compensation is awarded for different kinds of damage, for example, attorney fees, medical bills, as well as pain and suffering.

The chief considerations that determine the outcome of slip and fall claims in Orangeburg SC, revolve around three particular questions. First, who is the people/business that is liable for the accident? Second, Was the responsible party negligent or otherwise contribute to the incident? And finally, did the injured person cause or add to their accident in any way.

What do we mean by negligence?
Negligence is when the safety of others is disregarded by failure to act as any other reasonable person would. For instance, if a pothole or uneven surface created a dangerous situation. The primary attribute in this example is whether or not a reasonable person knew about the dangerous or potentially hazardous conditions and if the liable party had the opportunity to improve the conditions prior to the accident. The task then is to prove whether or not the responsible property owner specifically caused the dangerous situation themselves and if it was clearly understood that a person could suffer an injury due to the situation.

Things such as inadequate lighting and limited visibility are also factors that contribute to the determination of negligence in a slip and fall case. Plaintiffs are overwhelmed with the responsibility of proving that the liable party could have taken some other action to prevent the accident but declined to do so. They must also show that even if there was a legitimate reason for the obstruction to be present, that the justification was no longer valid at the time that the injury took place also that no preventive measures were made to prevent the disaster. While the difficulty of proof lies with the plaintiff, the facts of the case will present the affirmations or declarations necessary to determine the level of negligence committed.

How to provide proof that someone is liable?
To prove that someone is liable, they must have a legal responsibility for the property. A property owner or business owner would have to usually assume liability for an accident that occurs in their place of business except in the case that they have insurance that would relieve them of that liability. In the case, the owner or employer insurance company would assume, and therefore the plaintiff would have to file a suit against them instead of the insured.

Where you at fault in an accident in Orangeburg SC?
While there may have been dangerous conditions present at the time of the slip and fall, the plaintiff must be free from guilt to place all of the liability on the defending party. If the injured party added to the accident in any way, they must accept their part of the liability, which usually repeals the assumption of full responsibility by the property or business owner.

Some states recognize contributory fault laws and will not award a settlement to a plaintiff if there is any degree, no matter how small, of partial blame on the part of the injured person. These states enforce similar negligent laws and will award compensations in cases where there is partial negligence and will reduce the settlement in balance to the percentage of liability. Determining partial liability on the part of the injured person is determined by the engagement, access, and warnings provided to the plaintiff. For example, if a person is distracted by talking or texting on the phone, they may be found personally liable. If the accident happened in a restricted area in which the plaintiff was not given access to, or if they disregarded warning signs posted in the area, those issues may also present a case of partial liability.

What are some typical injuries associated in slip and fall incidents?

Slip and fall accidents can result in wounds that range from just minor bumps and bruises to in some cases permanent disabilities. While many injuries can be suffered as a result of slip and fall accidents, there are a few injuries that are more common involving the head, neck, back, and pelvic areas.

What are the categories of compensation?

General compensatory damages are most likely to be awarded in slip and fall cases. These types of awards serve to repay an injured party for damages that are considered non-monetary.

These damages include:
Pain and Suffering
Mental Anxiety
Loss of Companionship
There are special compensatory damages that are awarded in cases where monetary expenses are acquired on behalf of the injured person as a direct result of the injury. The purpose is to make the plaintiff whole again and restore their financial situation to where it was before the accident.

These compensatory damages include:

Medical bills
Lawyer fees
The cost of future medical services
Household bills

In conclusion, there are many factors to consider when determining slip and fall settlements. Negligence and liability are two of the significant components of discovery, but the plaintiff must be free from blame for the injuries. To see if you qualify for Slip and Fall Compensation, call the Bill Connor Law Firmin Orangeburg SC Today!


Having served as an Army officer for almost 3 decades (about half on active duty and half reserve component), and having grown up in a military family, I care deeply about service members. Like everyone, those in the military face the possibility of being injured by another party in the course of life. Unlike civilians, however, those in the military can fall into unique legal positions based on when and how the personal injury occurred. The legal position could be one of effecting the ability to bring suit, but can also affect the way the injury is resolved. This article is for service members, and particularly those serving in the Reserve Component (RC) of National Guard and Reserves.

First, it's important to understand that when a service member is off-duty and off post and without government vehicle(s) or equipment, they have the same rights and procedures as other civilians. If injured by the negligence (or intention) of another, the service member can bring suit in a civilian court. For South Carolina and many states, the jurisdiction will be in either the county of the accident/incident or the county of residence of the defendant. Though the service member can bring suit himself, he should consider retaining a lawyer in that jurisdiction to bring suit. The one nuance of being in the military while bringing suit is protection from hearings and a stay of the case if/when the service member is deployed (or in the case of the RC being activated on military orders, like for a hurricane). Otherwise, the process is the same as with civilians.

A unique issue with military members is when they are either in an active drill status or on orders with the RC when they are injured. First, on drill status, the service member can be covered by military health coverage for injuries including personal injury. This is the same when on orders for Annual Training (AT) or a mobilization. The military may require a Line of Duty (LOD) investigation to determine if the injury was within duty, including travel in a personal vehicle to or from duty. The active duty service member always has access to military health coverage. As with other insurance carriers and Medicare/Medicaid, the government may assert a lien if the case is resolved and recoup a small amount of money for health coverage.

If the personal injury involves a government entity, particularly in the event of an injury on post, a service member family member still may have rights to sue. However, it is important to note that bringing suit against a government entity is more challenging based on protections. Additionally, the service member does typically not have the right to sue under duty situations involving government entities. An example of the situation is when a family member is injured in a slip and fall, in an on-post facility like a post exchange. That case would be brought in Federal Court being on a military reservation.

There are other unique situations for the service member on active duty being injured by another party. If the injury occurs off-post and caused by a civilian, the normal right to sue applies, and jurisdiction would be sought as when off-duty. The key difference would come with the military requirement of investigation and reporting procedures. Additionally, if the accident occurs while on duty in military property (vehicle, etc.), the civilian involved would have recourse against the military under the Federal Tort Claims Act. That is in the event the person claimed negligence on the part of the service member.

Situations can vary, so it is always a good idea to seek the counsel of a local attorney. Though service member has access to JAG attorneys for legal help, it's important to know that the JAGs may or may not be licensed in the state of the accident. They are only required to be licensed in "a" state but can give opinions about states of the base they are stationed and other states. Since state law varies by state, it is safer to seek the advice of a lawyer licensed in that state.

Hopefully, this gives service members a bit of information to help. I want to thank you for your sacrifices and service on behalf of our great nation.
If you are in need of Personal Injury Attorney call The Bill Connor law Firm TODAY

 

Accidents involving personal injury usually come without warning, and what happens right after can be a whirlwind to those who are hurt. In some cases, the injury is bad enough to cause unconsciousness. In that event, the person hurt might wake up in medical treatment away from the scene of the accident. Usually, the person hurt is conscious but in some level of shock after the accident. Decisions made in the immediate aftermath can have later wide-ranging consequences when it comes to redressing for the damage caused by the accident. That is the purpose of this article: Knowing what to do, and thinking about what to do after personal injury.

The first priority after an accident must be safety and immediate care of those involved. The important thing to remember during this time is, In South Carolina, any admission of fault can and will be part of the record in the event of a legal dispute. Normally, "hearsay" testimony is not allowed in court but an exception is for the admission of a party.

Anyone who has heard an admission can testify about that admission and it can be the evidence that determines the case. With any accident involving personal injury, A person might feel sorry for what happened and even think they are at fault. However, in the emotion-filled moments after an accident parties are not normally thinking clearly or possess all the facts. On an objective reflection with the facts a party may discover they are not at all at fault, or less at fault than the other party. If the other party admits fault, it is important to note.

The other priority after an accident in South Carolina is ensuring an accident report memorializes the incident. Wait for law enforcement to arrive and record the accident, and take the time to speak to the officer if that is possible. Note the witnesses to the accident and attempt to learn their identity if possible. If EMS has evacuated before the arrival of law enforcement, ensure you speak to the officer at the first opportunity. That includes in the Emergency Room if possible.

Note potential evidence beyond witnesses that may be used to help prove what happened. For example, almost all modern vehicles will have a so-called "black box" data recorder which provides a great deal of evidence of what happened: Speed of the vehicles at impact, angle of impact, etc. In some cases, the accident may have taken place under the observation of a video camera. This can be the case if it was inside or near a business.

Using discretion in what is said, ensuring accident is properly memorialized with your input, noting and remembering witnesses, knowing about other evidence like black boxes and videos. Ensuring a thorough medical exam in the immediate aftermath to note all injuries immediately after the accident (to prove the connection to the accident). All of these things should be reflected before an accident to ensure the right actions after an accident.

Bill Connor is a Personal Injury Attorney in Orangeburg South Carolina. If you have been involved in an accident contact the Bill Connor Law Firm Today.

         Another car blew a red light and ran into your car passing through an intersection on green. The police have investigated and issued an accident report holding the other driver at fault, and an ambulance took you to the Emergency Room of the local hospital. You know insurance will cover your vehicle, but realize the injuries involved will required a personal injury claim.  The first question will likely be the expected result of bringing a personal injury claim with or without trial.  Though the next step would likely be visiting an attorney, it's important to personally understand the factors involved with the value of a personal injury claim due to the effect on family and personal finances.
 
        One of the first things to understand in valuing a personal injury claim is that the level of liability for the other side effects the claim.  In the case described above, the liability the opposing side would likely assign to the other driver is 100%.  Therefore, whatever number a jury were to determining damages would be fully against that driver.  Other cases can involve situations in which the person bringing the claim has some level of liability.  In South Carolina, as long as the other driver is at least 50% at fault they can be sued for that percent of damages.  If the other side is less than 50% at fault (the plaintiff cannot be more than 50% at fault) they could not be sued in South Carolina.  
 
        A factor in evaluating the claim is the venue (county) the suit could be brought.  Counties have historic trends in jury verdicts and in some jury verdicts would be expected to be higher, while in other the verdicts are traditionally much lower.  Whether that appears fair or not, trials are in front of citizens from the county and their decision stands. The case can either be brought in the defendant's home county or where the accident occurred.  It's important to speak to your attorney about venue.
 
       As a general rule, many insurance companies will develop their personal injury damages primarily based on the medical bills from the ambulance, ER, and other medical doctor and specialist related bills.  They will also consider the other medical bills, like chiropractic bills, but normally put the most weight on the hospital/doctor bills.  If the bills solely involve an ambulance to the ER and ER evaluation and treatment (and release without inpatient treatment) with soft tissue injury, the "expected" settlement can range at 2-3 times those medical bills.  Therefore, if the total bill is $5,000.00, the settlement value can sometimes be expected in the range of $10-15,000.00.  This varies greatly based on venue, and other nuances of the case.  
 
       Understand that the valuation is based on the total medical bills, and not what was paid by medical insurance or co-pays by patients. In the event of a settlement, a medical insurer will likely have some kind of "lien" on the settlement. Normally, this is far below what the insurer paid on the bill, which was far less than the bill.  Therefore, for a bill of a few thousand dollars, an insurer might have a lien of a few hundred.  Either way, the other money is to cover pain and suffering and other such damages.
 
      In addition to those valuations of damages, other damages are considered as well.  For example, lost wages due to the accident should be calculated and sent to the insurance company.  The settlement will consider these on a 1 for 1 basis, and not the 2-3 times amounts like with the medicals.  Additionally, when injuries involve more serious injuries like broken bones or worse, the valuations can go well beyond the 2-3 times the medicals.  Additionally, the medicals are expected to go into future treatment and problems.
 
     In cases of serious injury, the biggest restriction on valuation can be the insurance limits available to cover damages.  In South Carolina, minimum insurance limits are only $25K per incident or $50K overall.  That's for the other driver.  Most drivers also have underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage on their policy which helps cover the excess medical damages.  Those limits are based on the kind of policy you have, and why to consider higher policies.  Also, lawyers can explain ways to "stack" UIM coverage of multiple vehicles on the policy to cover damages.  
 
       Every case is unique, and your attorney will give far more detail about the nuances of the case.  There is also the factor of settlements when the other side is still reasonably contesting liability and therefore not willing to settle at expected amounts.  You always have the right to take the case to courts and juries, but always understand the pros and cons of that process.
 
 
 
 

The Bill Connor Law Firm

1408 Russell St

Orangeburg, SC 29115

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PHONE: 803 937 5571

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