Bill Connor

Bill Connor
Orangeburg Attorney Bill Connor received his Bachelor of Arts from The Citadel in 1990, and after serving for over a decade as an Infantry Officer in the U.S. Army, including three deployments to the Middle East, he received his Juris Doctorate from The University of South Carolina in 2005. In 2012, Bill was honored to receive an AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rating by Martindale-Hubbell®, the top peer rating for American lawyers. Receiving this rating at such an early point in his career is unheard of among lawyers.


 
        Landlord/Tenant laws in South Carolina have come a long way in the past 50 years, and it's important for Landlords and Tenants to know some of the basic rights when contracting for this relationship.  
 
         First, though landlord/tenant leases (or sub-leases) are not required to be in writing, a written contract generally provides rock solid evidence of what the parties intended.  By the "Parole Evidence Rule" the writing signed by the parties will supersede oral agreements that might contradict the written agreement made before the written contract.  Any further agreements should be signed as either amendments or new contracts.     
 
         If there is no agreement between parties as to the length of the lease, the court will presume a month to month lease.  This kind of lease will continue until at least one party decides to end the lease and provides one month notice of the end of the lease.  Of course, a breach of contract like failure to pay rent can also end the lease (though the Landlord must petition the court to eject the breaching tenant, and a tenant can bring suit against a landlord failing to make repairs to the property and even terminate the lease for such failure).  The month to month lease provides flexibility for both parties, but can leave little security for the tenant staying beyond one month if the landlord so decides.
 
          Generally, leases will run either every six months or annually.  Similar to the month to month leases, a party wishing to end the lease must give at least a 30 day notice before the end of the lease that the lease is to end.  If the parties do not agree to another longer term lease, the court will presume the parties have moved to a month to month lease with the same requirements explained above. Similar to the month to month lease, parties can remedy breaches by the other party by termination of the lease and in some cases withholding rent due to non-repairs.
 
           Many years ago, parties could agree to contract for the tenant living in an unreasonably unlivable property.  As long as the landlord and tenant agreed to the rent, they were free to contract.  However, the law requires that landlords provide a reasonable level of "habitability", called the "implied warranty of habitability".  Therefore, regardless of what's in the contract between the parties, the landlord cannot fail to present and maintain a reasonable standard for the property.  Black mold, filthy conditions, structural unsoundness, etc. can be deemed to be a breach by the landlord and the tenant can bring suit and potentially terminate the tenancy. 
 
(similar to the way "damages" is the last element of personal injury in determining the amount to redress the harm).
 
 
           If a party were to terminate the lease prior to the end of the term, the other party can sue.  The penalties against the landlord can be substantial, and that includes for constructive termination (making conditions such that the tenant reasonably cannot continue).  The penalties against a tenant are also substantial and can involve two times the damages caused or up to months of the rental amount and attorney fees.  The landlord must make reasonable attempts to re-lease the property (and upon re-leasing cannot continue charging rent), but can charge rent against the tenant during the remainder of term of lease.  
 

          When purchasing or selling real estate, it's important to hire a real estate agent to help with the marketing and sale of your property.  Real estate agents must be licensed, and should know the processes of listing homes and preparing homes for sale.  Additionally, are a huge help to buyers in showing the type of home being sought, and helping through the buying processes.  That aside, it's important for home buyers and home sellers to understand and check on some critical details in the process of buying or selling real property.
 
         Arguably most important thing to check as the buyer or seller is the actual legal boundaries of the property.  The deed to the real property will offer a description of the boundaries, and many Deeds reference a plat of the land. Whatever has been registered as the Deed (and associated plat) is the legal boundaries of the property.  In most counties in South Carolina, the general public can find the information on line at the respective county registry of Deeds website.  They can provide this information to a surveyor to check the land.  Critically, this actual lines of property may not necessarily coincide with fences and other physical boundary markers. Even the Tax Map boundaries may be off. The actual survey, based on the legal Deed/plat, will give ground truth.  
 
        As an attorney working various cases (personal injury, family law, estates, etc.), the most shocking cases to clients come with the transfer of expensive real property without a survey based on the legal Deed.  Homes worth over a million dollars of which multiple owners have purchased and sold with incorrect physical boundaries (yard fences, etc.).  If the buyers catch the mistake within the statute of limitations (3 years for most torts, including breach of contract or fraudulent misrepresentation between private entities), the buyers may sue the prior owners who sold the property.  It may seem unfair to the prior owners, and they had not surveyed the property, but they may be "stuck holding the bag" of having advertised real property as consisting of property beyond the legal physical limits:  A yard that stretches onto common area property or adjacent property, for example.
 
       The best way to prevent this nightmare is to have all property surveyed prior to purchasing it.  Do not assume that seemingly "ancient" fences prove legal lines without verification.  Do not be stuck "holding the bag" when someone decides to conduct a survey.  Be smart.

 

    

 
        Planning for end of life decision-making is something most want to avoid, and yet critical for the well-being of family.  Intellectually, all know they will face the end of life and associated decisions, yet planning can make it too much of a reality. I hope to explain the importance of some end of life decisions and the way to ensure the courts will recognize and respect the decisions.  I will also argue why these decisions should be put in place now, as well as the care of family involved with the decisions and associated document.
 
        In South Carolina, a Healthcare Power of Attorney (HPOA) is one of the best ways to make enforceable end of life decisions now which can protect families from potential financial ruin (and emotional turmoil).  With the HPOA, a person can give a loved one powers over decision-making in the event the person is in a medical state in which they cannot communicate and (to a reasonable degree of medical certainty) the person will not recover.  This medical situation can be the result of an accident, or some kind of terminal illness in advanced stages.  The key is that the person is being kept alive by artificial life sustainment (respirator, etc.) of forced hydration/nutrition (forced feeding).
 
        The HPOA allows the person giving authority different decisions relevant to the end of life.  First, the decision of whether or not they wish to donate organs after death.  Next, the HPOA offers three choices with artificial life sustaining efforts (generally, this deals with pulling the plug on a respirator):  1.  They can give the choice to the person they have given power of attorney.  2.  They can demand that life sustaining efforts will end.  3.  They can demand that life sustainment will continue indefinitely.  Next, the HPOA offers the same three choices in the event of forced hydration/nutrition (forced feeding).
 
         If clients ask for my thoughts, I generally recommend clients consider the option of giving the decisions for life sustainment and forced feeding to their power of attorney. The person with power of attorney will know all the surrounding factors to make that decision, including discussions with the person who gave power of attorney before losing the ability to communicate.  That aside, this is a personal decision the person must make about the end of their life.  The good of the HPOA is it prevents the person from being kept on life support against what would be their will, and potentially destroying the family's financial security in the process.
 
       The HPOA is something people should consider when in the process of estate planning with documents like wills and Durable Power of Attorney (look to my previous articles about this Power of Attorney).  These documents will display love toward family if and when they must be used.  Not spending the time and effort to create the documents, and putting family in a much worse position in the event they are needed but not available, can be telling. Catastrophic personal injury accidents can occur at any time, so waiting for old age is not wise. Most general practice lawyers or Estate lawyers can draft and execute a HPOA at a relatively low cost. The time is now to get it done.
 
 

Call The Bill Connor Law Firm at: 803 937 9571

 After any accident, an injured party may consider bringing a lawsuit due to the damages incurred.  In a car wreck or slip and fall case, just an evaluation in the Emergency Room will run into the thousands of dollars. In addition to the hospital bills, the injured party will usually have other associated damages.  They may have lost time from work.  They may have endured a great deal of pain and suffering and might even be prescribed pain medicine.  In serious injury cases, the consideration of lost future earnings come into play due to semi-permanent or permanent disability caused by the accident.  Other incidents might not involve any medical evaluation or treatment or lost work. What factors should be considered before bringing suit?
 
         First, it is important to know that costs are always involved in actually filing suit against another party.  The filing fees are normally around $150 (potentially much more).  Service of process on another party can be costly, paying for depositions in discovery can cost a few hundred per deposition.  Filing suit and litigating cases involves costs that must be factored into whether or not to bring the suit.  That's even the case with lawyers working on contingency and not an hourly fee.
 
        In cases involving an insured party, and insurance should be involved in car wreck cases due to legal requirements, parties can sometimes work out a settlement without filing suit.  In a car wreck in which liability is not contested, for example a rear-end collision, the insurance company is usually willing to settle.  The disagreements will normally then come with the amount of settlement, with the insurance company attempting to keep the numbers low.  That's where a lawyer can be cost effective:  Even though the lawyer receives 1/3rd of the settlement, he should be able to negotiate a settlement well beyond what might be negotiated without a lawyer and more than make up for his contingency.
 
        If the medical bills are in the hundreds and no injuries were diagnosed, attempts at settlement but not lawsuit is generally the best course of action.  Even if a jury might award a bit more than a settlement, the costs would likely not be justified.  Beyond the monetary costs are the costs of time and stress of the lawsuit.  The time away from work due to the lawsuit (depositions, answering discovery, trial, etc.) can be very costly in lost income.  For a case involving substantial medical bills and injuries, the predicted jury award would likely be worth it.  For low dollar damage cases the best bet is usually a decent settlement.
 
       The decision of whether to sue can be a tough one and should not be made lightly.  Think about everything involved including the cost, pray about it, and make your decision.

   Planning for end of life decision-making is something most want to avoid, and yet critical for the well-being of family.  Intellectually, all know they will face the end of life and associated decisions, yet planning can make it too much of a reality. I hope to explain the importance of some end of life decisions and the way to ensure the courts will recognize and respect the decisions.  I will also argue why these decisions should be put in place now, as well as the care of family involved with the decisions and associated document.
 
        In South Carolina, a Healthcare Power of Attorney (HPOA) is one of the best ways to make enforceable end of life decisions now which can protect families from potential financial ruin (and emotional turmoil).  With the HPOA, a person can give a loved one powers over decision-making in the event the person is in a medical state in which they cannot communicate and (to a reasonable degree of medical certainty) the person will not recover.  This medical situation can be the result of an accident, or some kind of terminal illness in advanced stages.  The key is that the person is being kept alive by artificial life sustainment (respirator, etc.) of forced hydration/nutrition (forced feeding).
 
        The HPOA allows the person giving authority different decisions relevant to the end of life.  First, the decision of whether or not they wish to donate organs after death.  Next, the HPOA offers three choices with artificial life sustaining efforts (generally, this deals with pulling the plug on a respirator):  1.  They can give the choice to the person they have given power of attorney.  2.  They can demand that life sustaining efforts will end.  3.  They can demand that life sustainment will continue indefinitely.  Next, the HPOA offers the same three choices in the event of forced hydration/nutrition (forced feeding).
 
         If clients ask for my thoughts, I generally recommend clients consider option of giving the decisions for life sustainment and forced feeding to their power of attorney. The person with power of attorney will know all the surrounding factors to make that decision, including discussions with the person who gave power of attorney before losing the ability to communicate.  That aside, this is a personal decision the person must make about the end of their life.  The good of the HPOA is it prevents the person from being kept on life support against what would be their will, and potentially destroying the family's financial security in the process.
 
       The HPOA is something people should consider when in the process of estate planning with documents like wills and Durable Power of Attorney (look to my previous articles about this Power of Attorney).  These documents will display love toward family if and when they must be used.  Not spending the time and effort to create the documents, and putting family in a much worse position in the event they are needed but not available, can be telling. Catastrophic personal injury accidents can occur any time, so waiting for old age is not wise. Most general practice lawyers or Estate lawyers can draft and execute a HPOA at a relatively low cost. The time is now to get it done.
 
 


 
         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
 

The legal ability to give power of attorney to another can be extremely helpful in many cases, but also dangerous if the wrong person is given that power.  There are nuances to different types and levels of power of attorney, and those nuances help prevent a catastrophic mistake.  Power of attorney can be limited to a specific act or scope of acts, or it can deliver all financial powers.  A health care power of attorney can provide health care powers for the situation in which one is not able to communicate health care decisions.  Let's go over the considerations for each.
 
        First, A general power of attorney allows another person complete power to make all financial and administrative decisions and actions.  For example, someone with general power of attorney can go to a bank and withdraw all money from one's account.  The law allows for powers of attorney to be "durable", and therefore a durable general power of attorney will continue being mental incapacity to death.  This means that whoever has general powers can sign over real estate and clean out bank accounts among other powers.  This is a power that should only be granted to the most trusted individual, and that person should be provided detailed guidance for using that power.  It can be revoked any time, and should be revoked in the event of any question of trust that might arise.
 
        Next, the power of attorney can be limited in scope to a specific action, for example signing a real estate contract and/or deed.  This is a limited power of attorney, and only allows for what was specified by the person giving power of attorney.  This is a wise option to choose in preventing abuse.  The downside is that once the limited action is over, the person can do nothing more without another power attorney.  The power can be limited in scope, allowing for continuing powers within the same area, like handling a certain bank account.  In that event, it can also be durable within that scope. 
 
        A Healthcare power of attorney allows powers related to "pulling the plug" on life support or ending forced feeding when, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, the person will not survive without the extraordinary life sustainment and will not regain consciousness to make their own decision.  This is different from other powers of attorney, limited or general, and one that also requires a great deal of trust.  The power of attorney give three options:  1.  Allowing the person being given the powers to make the decision about life sustainment.  2.  Ending life sustainment.  3.  Continuing life sustainment.  Most will choose to give power for the other person to make the decision.  I recommend considering that option, as the person will have all the facts to make an informed decision based on the specific circumstances.
 
       When I was deploying to Afghanistan, we advised newly married soldiers to think long and hard before giving general power of attorney.  There were horror stories of those who were "cleaned out" while deployed away, facing bankruptcy with their divorce upon return.  Those kinds of stories abound, and give pause to giving general power to all but the most proven trustworthy individuals.  In the event of a personal injury situation and claim against another party for causing the injury, lawyers may request limited power of attorney for certain actions related to the claims or lawsuits.  I believe it is wise to consider providing that limited power of attorney, particularly if the lawyer is separated by long distance and signing documents may require lengthy mail delays.  Speak to your lawyer about this question.  Always remain wise and cautious about powers of attorney.
 
Bill Connor, 
The Bill Connor Law Firm

 
       When someone is hurt on the job it's important that person understand the issues involved with being compensated for damages.  In most cases, the worker is covered by Workers Compensation insurance provide through his employer. In the event the employer did not have Worker's Compensation Insurance when required due to having 4 or more employees, the state has a fund to help such injured employees.  Workers Compensation is meant to help both the employee and employer.  It helps the employee by providing medical coverage and wage compensation without having to prove liability of the employer.  It helps the employer by preventing litigation costs as Worker's Compensation is the sole remedy for the employee against the employer.
 
      Despite the positive ends of Workers Compensation to the employee, it also brings certain drawbacks. Despite the liability of the employer in causing the injury through negligence, the employee cannot receive more than the medical costs and certain lost wage compensation.  It does not provide for damages like pain and suffering, and therefore can drastically limit what the employee would have obtained through a personal injury claim which could be filed in court.  The employee must accept Workers Compensation as the remedy against the employer, even if the employee would rather file a personal injury claim to obtain redress for damages like pain and suffering.
 
      It's important to know that Workers Compensation law in South Carolina does not restrict an injured employee from filing a personal injury claim against a third party (non-employer) with liability or some liability for the injury.  The employee must first finish the Workers Compensation coverage and settle the Workers Compensation claim before pursuing any further claims (and the Workers Compensation Insurance may hold a lien on any settlement or award from the liable third party).  However, when the Workers Compensation claim is settled, the employee can then file a claim against the third party.  That claim can involve all damages, including potentially punitive based on the nature of the case (more on punitive damages in another article).
 
      It's important to have an attorney handle work-related accidents.  Not only because Workers Compensation law is relatively complicated and involves many rules in dealing with the Workers Compensation Commission. The other reason is that an attorney will be able to properly assess the potential for the third party claim and what damages to seek. 

Call The Bill Connor Law Firm Today!

 

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.

General practice usually contains a broad variety of practice fields by a lawyer. It signifies that the lawyer does not restrict their law firm or practice to just one particular area of law. Usually, the lawyer will practice law in numerous areas including criminal law, collision and personal injury, medical malpractice, estate planning, business law, family law, and more. 
 
Many lawyers will start a “general practice” and sometimes settle into a specific area of law in which they aim to specialize. One may also see general practitioners in smaller communities such as Orangeburg SC.  In these communities clients look to "their" hometown lawyer, so an attorney must practice in various areas. Attorneys-at-law are not obliged to specialize. 
 
When a person is looking for an attorney in Orangeburg SC, they may want to find a lawyer that that has expertise in a variety of areas so that they can help them in many different types of law. At The Bill Connor Law Firm in Orangeburg SC, we can help you in several areas of law. 
 
If, a person, has regular legal issues including those that sometimes trouble small businesses, he may find that a general practitioner can better help in all areas. The lawyer will generally get to know the business better and know how it fits together. Also, keep in mind that a general practice lawyer can seek cooperation from attorneys of a particular specialty when specialization is required. A general practitioner will also be in a position to assist, manage and call in expert assistance whenever and whatever as needed.

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The Bill Connor Law Firm

138 Centre St

Orangeburg, SC 29115

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PHONE: 803 937 5571

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