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.

 
 
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. 

 

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.

 


Giving another person power of attorney in Orangeburg South Carolina is sometimes necessary, but should only be done after learning about the different types of power of attorney and the associated legal ramifications. In discussing this subject with clients (or those I am advising), I usually explain the importance of executing a power of attorney in certain circumstances. I also provide the options for powers of attorney, and consequences. This usually comes as I am discussing estate planning, and considerations for both usually run together. Power of attorney is given to another to give that person the ability to make critical decisions and take critical actions on one's behalf, usually due to the inability of the person giving power of attorney.

The law in South Carolina now allows for providing a power of attorney which (POA) will continue beyond the mental incapacity of the person giving POA. This is called a "durable" POA. One is not required to give a durable POA and may decide they don't want the POA to go beyond incapacity. The person giving POA can also decide what powers to give. A "general" POA gives all powers for signing financial (business, real estate, and banking) related documents. However, the POA can be tailored to offer only specific powers. For example, a POA that allows the person receiving the power of attorney to sign certain specific real estate documents. The most wide-ranging POA would be a general durable Power of Attorney, which gives all powers in survives incapacity to the point of death. A limited non-durable POA would be restrictive. The Power of Attorney Document must be signed in front of two witnesses, notarized, and registered in the County Register of Deeds before it will be accepted by businesses as authoritative. That's why it is important to execute a POA with an attorney.

The Bill Connor Law Firm wants you to know, It's important to remember that in giving another a general and durable power of attorney, that person has the power to take all financial related actions as though they were the person who provided power of attorney. Yes, that means the person must be trusted, as they can go to a bank and clear out accounts among other things. Even with a limited POA for certain business transactions, the person can do anything within the scope of the POA and will not be questioned by the respective business. This can be necessary when someone is in a position they cannot conduct business, for example when I was mobilized for over 15 months for a deployment to Afghanistan I had to allow my wife general durable POA. It can also be for when one is in the hospital in a limited state of ability.

Of course, POAs can be revoked, but that requires the same requirements of two witnesses and notary and registration with the Register of Deeds.

A general durable or more limited POA allows for handling financial matters. Another type of power of attorney allows for making health care decisions for another when incapacity prevents the person giving POA from giving his wishes. This is similar to a living will, as it deals with situations in which the person giving POA is being kept alive by either life-sustaining support or forced hydration/nutrition. The Health Care POA also allows for the decision to donate organs after death. This POA giving three options to the person providing POA: 1. Discretion to the POA holder. 2. Directive not to continue life-sustaining support or forced hydration/nutrition. 3. Directed to continue all life sustainment or forced hydration/nutrition. Most giving POA will just give the decision-making to the person receiving POA.

In all cases of giving Power of Attorney in Orangeburg SC, whether general durable, limited, or health care POA, it is critical to have trust in the person receiving Power of Attorney. It is also critical to discuss the POA with the person who will be acting on one's behalf. They will need guidance to act appropriately. This is something to prayerfully consider, and ensure it is done right.

If you are in need a Lawyer in Orangeburg SC Call The Bill Connor Law Firm at 803-937-5571

 


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!

 

ADMINISTERING AN ESTATE AS PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE (WITH OR WITHOUT AN ESTATE LAWYER)

Losing a loved one can be one of the most challenging events in life. In addition to the emotional pain of the loss, the person closest to the dearly departed is usually the one who must administer the Estate. With all the grief involved with the loss, the task of inventorying, appraising, safekeeping, and finally distributing the Estate can bring a great deal of trepidation. Personal Representatives, or those charged with Estate administration, are accountable for all the legal requirements involved, and to the beneficiaries of the Estate. Though many in Orangeburg SC will hire an Estate lawyer to handle the legal technicalities, it is still important to know the basic requirements of administration in order to ensure things are done correctly.

Within a few days after the loved one has passed, the person designated by Last Will and Testament as Personal Representative should probate the Will and request appointment as Personal Representative (PR). If there is no Will, the person closest to the dearly departed should file in intestacy and request appointment as PR. In either case, the County Probate Judge) of the residence of the dearly departed) must order the PR appointment. Other interested parties can contest that appointment, though if the PR is designated in the Will it is highly likely the Judge will appoint. In intestacy, the surviving spouse has priority, followed by children (children would have equal rights, and each may be appointed).

After the PR appointment, the next step is for the PR to inform heirs and devisees of the Estate (heirs are those who would take in intestacy, and devisees are those designated as beneficiaries by the Will) and to begin the Inventory and Appraisement of the Estate (which must be completed within 90 days of appointment as PR) and notice must go out to creditors. Creditors have eight months to make a claim on the Estate, or they lose the right to come back. This means the Estate must remain open for eight months from the notice to give time for the creditor period to pass.

Once the creditor period has passed, the Estate Lawyer (or PR without a lawyer) will begin to close the Estate. This is the part that can become a bit complex and must be done correctly to allow for Probate to close the Estate without liability against the PR. There must be a Deed of Distribution executed and registered with the Registry of Deeds for any Real Property of the estate. This allows for a chain of title from the dearly departed to the devisee(s) of the Real Property. The PR must account to the penny for all money and other assets that came in the Estate, and were then redistributed by the PR. The PR must also account for expenses he paid for the Estate, and up to a 5% PR fee (5% of the gross value of the Estate) that the PR can claim for himself. He must sign a proof of delivery that he has mailed the Accounting, Application for closing, Amended Inventory and Appraisement, and a Notice of Right to Hearing to all heirs and devisees of the Estate. That gives them notice they have 30 days to contest the accounting or any other closing document.

At this point, the PR or the PR lawyer takes the Estate closing packet: Application for Settlement, Deed of distribution (if applicable), Accounting, Proof of Delivery, Notice of Right to Hearing, Amended Inventory and Appraisement (normally, there will be modifications to the initial). After 30 days, assuming no request for hearing to contest the closing, the Probate Judge will sign an order closing the estate. If assets have not already been distributed, they are distributed with a Receipt and Release With Waiver. Thus closing out the Estate.

Estate Lawyers in South Carolina will be doing all the above, and they can be paid as an expense of the Estate from Estate funds. In some cases, houses and other real property may be sold during the administration, causing delays. However, it is important that the PR supervise the process and understand they are personally liable and accountable for the Estate. With the basic information, PRs should be able to understand the process and ensure their loved one's wishes are honored.
If you need an Estate Lawyer in Orangeburg South Carolina call The Bill Connor Law Firm Today!

 

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

The first priority after an accident must be safety and immediate care of those affected. The critical thing to remember during this time is, In Bamber South Carolina, any admission of fault can and will be part of the record in the event of a legal conflict. Typically, "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 to blame. However, in the emotion-filled moments after accidents parties are generally not thinking clearly or know all the facts. On an objective reflection with the facts, a person may discover they are not at all at fault or less at fault than the other people involved. If the other party admits guilt, it is important to note.

The other priority after an accident in Bamberg South Carolina is ensuring an accident report memorializes the accident. Wait for law enforcement to arrive and record the accident, and take the time to speak to the officer if at all 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 earliest opportunity. That includes in the Emergency Room if necessary.

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 cars at impact, the angle of impact, etc. In some incidents, the accident may have taken place under the observation of a surveillance camera. This could be the case if it was inside or near a business.

Use discretion in what is said, ensure the accident is correctly memorialized with your input, note and remember witnesses, know about other evidence like black boxes and videos. Be sure to secure a thorough medical exam in the immediate aftermath to note all injuries immediately after the incident (to prove the connection to the accident). All of these things should be considered before an incident to guarantee the proper actions after an accident.

Bill Connor is a Personal Injury Attorney serving Bamberg and all of South Carolina, if you have been involved in an accident contact the Bill Connor Law Firm 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.
 
 
 
 

Page 3 of 4

The Bill Connor Law Firm

1408 Russell St

Orangeburg, SC 29115

EMAIL: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

PHONE: 803 937 5571

Office Hours

SUNDAY CLOSED

MONDAY 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM

TUESDAY 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM

WEDNESDAY 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM

THURSDAY 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM

FRIDAY 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM

SATURDAY CLOSED

Go to top