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.

 "To all the friends, clients, and families associated with Bill Connor Law Firm, I want you to know that our staff prays for you each day.  This is a tough time, but we approach it with assurance and faith in the goodness and sovereignty of our Lord.  
         Many clients and potential clients have reached out to the firm over the last week asking whether we can conduct certain business remotely.  A number have sought our help with Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney, and Wills.  The answer is that we can put these documents together for you based on telephonic interviews.  We can send the information and final product to clients with instructions for execution and filing.  In some cases, clients will have to have access to a Notary Public, and in our office all members of staff are Notaries.  Please call our office if you need help with these various documents, or any others (like documents related to Estates).  We will be happy to help."
          We do not plan to close down during this time, though are taking all precautions (hand sanitizers, distancing, etc.) for the safety of clients who wish to come see us in person.  We encourage using the remote option for business whenever that is feasible.  Together we will weather this storm and come out stronger on the other end.  Godspeed!


When an accident occurs, the last thing an injured party considers is the potential evidence that might be needed for a claim or lawsuit.  Usually, many things are taking place at once, whether it be a car wreck or a slip and fall.  Emergency Medical Services might be contacted and on the way to evacuate injured.  Police might be showing up to gather statements from parties and witnesses.  Loved ones may be showing up to care for injured loved ones.  The injured person is thinking about the consequences of the injury, and what must be done to handle life commitments while being treated:  Care of children, work absence, etc.  It's only when the dust settles that the injured party will usually start thinking about the issue of evidence. Unfortunately, in some cases it might be too late to gather critical evidence. It's important to consider the issue of evidence before an accident takes place, and that's what this article covers.
    Arguably, the most important bits of evidence to consider are an official memorialization of the incident, and the corresponding medical memorialization of evaluation and treatment. One should always consider having law enforcement produce at least an FR10 (done by law enforcement for use by insurance companies) about the accident for insurance purposes, and push for an accident report. In the case of a slip and fall, having the store fill out an accident report memorialization (and get a copy!) is critical. Ensure to ask that any video be preserved.  Additionally, it's important to quickly obtain medical notes and billing statements about the injuries associated with the accident. 
    Witness statements are important, as outside witnesses lend credibility to one's version of events.  Parties will be assumed to be biased, but non-party witnesses are assumed to be unbiased. They should be people who have actually witnessed the accident.  Those who have only heard from another about the accident would be barred by hearsay rules.  The exception is when a party admits to at least some liability.  The person who has heard a "party admission" can testify about that admission in court (note:  That's a reason insurance companies tell clients not to "admit" liability at the scene of an accident.  They may be wrong, but that admission will be part of the evidence, and can sink any case).  Ensure to get point of contact information for witnesses whenever feasible.
      Lastly, it's important to know about new technology which can act as evidence with high accuracy and credibility.  One example is the vehicle "black box" (vehicle recorder), which gives a precise information of almost everything associated with the vehicle.  When someone has been rear-ended, his black box will tell the speed of the rear-ending vehicle at the point of impact (and whether the vehicle being rear-ended was stationary, for how long, or speed if it was moving).  It can tell whether passengers were wearing seat belts.  It can even tell exactly who fast the rear-ended vehicle was pushed and for how far.  It can tell if the vehicle was tilted, and in what direction.  The black box can basically make or break a personal injury claim or defense with the information obtained.  It's important to get hold of the black box at the earliest, as totally vehicles could be quickly cannibalized, and the Black box lost.  Video technology has increased to where videos should be assumed to be almost ubiquitous. Stores, street corners, lights, etc. etc.  Video technology allows for accurate and critical evidence for cases.
        Think about this now, and if the worst happens you will not be caught short.


Whenever one is injured by the negligence (or intentional conduct) of another, the first priority is always to treat injuries.  Health always takes priority over concerns about potential claims against other parties.  At the same time, it's important to keep a level head about documents that will be needed later. Without documents, claims can quickly devolve into a "he said/she said", with insurance companies unwilling to resolve through settlement, and potential major evidence problems with a lawsuit.  What are the documents needed?
        For purposes of your attorney attempting to resolve a claim with the liable party's insurance company, the first key document is one evidencing the incident causing the injury.  In a vehicle wreck, this would normally be the FR10 document completed by the law enforcement officer responding to the scene (which is why it's always wise to request an officer complete an FR10 when another party is liable in a wreck).  The officer can also complete a similar document which is a formal accident report, depending on the accident. This provides the first documented evidence that something happened, and it tied to the next set of documents to obtain.
      When an accident has resulted in an injury, it is always best for a future claim to have documents evidencing evaluation and/or treatment as close to the accident as possible.  EMS will normally offer to transport to the nearby Emergency Room, and it is wise to consider accepting.  If not, it is still important to have someone drive you to the Emergency Room, and keep the resulting documentation from the Emergency Room.  Ensure the treating provider includes on the documents the basic information about the incident.  This will later show the insurance company and potentially a jury that the injury was connected to the incident:  The date of the treatment will be the same day as the incident, and the document records the incident as the cause of the injury.
       Beyond document(s) showing the incident and the resulting treatment, it's important to obtain billing information associated with the treatment. In most cases, insurance will cover the costs of evaluation/treatment (with a potential minor deductible) and will pay far less than the actual medical bill.  Regardless of what the insurance company pays, or how much you pay with the deductible, the actual medical bill will be the key document used to assess the value of the claim. The initial emergency room bills for evaluation and treatment are rarely questioned as to being necessary.  Some follow-on treatment, for example chiropractic, might be viewed differently and require more proof of necessity, but the ER bills are usually solid.  
       With the FR10 and/or accident report, medical notes about the treatment, and medical bills associated with the notes, the claim is ready to go to the liable party's insurance company.  At that point, it just becomes a question of proof of liability (which the FR10 or accident report holding the other party liable helps greatly) and the settlement amount beyond the medical bills covering pain and suffering and potentially lost wages.  Your attorney should be able to resolve the case with the insurance company or have what he needs to take it to trial.
Call The Bill Connor Law Firm Today at 803 937 5571
Or visit our office located at 1408 Russell St Orangeburg, SC 29115


 One of the most important parts of any litigation is the deposition of the parties to a lawsuit.  This will normally come after a complaint is filed and served by the Plaintiff bringing the suit, the Defendant has answered the Complaint (and potentially filed counterclaims), and interrogatories and production of documents have been exchanged between parties.  The depositions of parties and potential witnesses is normally the last stage of the litigation process (with the exception of a motion for summary judgment) before parties mediate and then go to trial. A "good" deposition could make the difference in mediation, as the other side comes on notice of how credible and sympathetic the party would be to a jury. A good plaintiff deposition would likely mean a higher offer from the other side, while a good defendant deposition would mean the opposite.  The deposition can be used at trial to impeach parties, and therefore becomes critical to advocacy in front of a jury.  What makes a good deposition?
        First, when lawyers are deposition the adversarial party, they are evaluating the person.  They want to see how the person/party will look in front of a jury.  Are they personable and sincere in effect?  Are the lawyers able to cause the other party to "lose it" with uncontrolled anger (which would be perceived negatively by the jury)?  Does the person come across as "shifty" and insincere?  Is the person Defensive?  Beyond the cosmetic aspects of the evaluation, the party is being scrutinized for inconsistencies with known facts or prior statements.  Any contradictions can and will be used for impeachment at trial.  Additionally, a party is evaluated by what they are able to testify and what is remembered.  A lack of direct knowledge or memory of critical facts becomes critical in evaluation for a mediation or trial.
       Knowing what's being evaluated allows for proper preparation for the deposition. A party facing deposition in South Carolina should normally review all prior statements and anything that will help in remembering key facts about the case. The most important thing with a deposition is telling the truth and not being caught with inconsistencies with facts or prior statements. After reviewing everything possible, it's important to practice being deposed to prepare for hard questioning.  It's perfectly acceptable to say "I don't recall", but a practice deposition will help with not being trapped with even that statement.  Additionally, one of the most important points to prepare is in answering only questions asked and nothing more.  As I tell clients "don't do the other lawyers job for him be talking beyond the question".  It's important to come across as pleasant with the other attorney, but not his friend (this goes for any discussions with the opposing attorney outside of deposition like small talk before and after:  You are not his buddy, though he is not a bitter enemy).  
      On the day of deposition, it's usually best to dress conservatively and show a controlled demeanor, remembering that the opposing counsel is constantly considering how credible you will come off to a jury. It's important to know that once a deposition starts you cannot speak with your attorney until the deposition ends.  At the same time, you have the ability to take time with thinking about and answering questions.  Additionally, any time you need a break you can ask for it.  Remember that when the deposition goes "on the record", everything spoken will be recorded by the court reporter.  You must be prepared to speak clearly and never rely on non-verbal responses (like nodding your head for yes).  Be prepared for insulting questions, like "have you ever been arrested (or seen a psychologist, etc.)", but know that much of what's answered during deposition will not get into trial.  Do not get distracted by your attorney objecting to the form of questions, as you must normally still answer the question even if it cannot be used at trial (sometimes your attorney may say: Don't answer that question as in the case of a question about attorney/client privilege information)  Assume the other side knows the truth when asking the question.  Do not get angry.
       Follow your attorney's advice and these simple guidelines and your deposition will be a success. It's never fun, but it can be something you have prepared properly and control the final product.
Bill Connor is an Attorney Practicing Law in South Carolina, The Bill Connor Law Firm is located in Orangeburg South Carolina.

In my last article about South Carolina's Statute of Limitations (SOL), I outlined the general rules to know.  For example, for most negligence causes of action (which would include most cases involving car wrecks or vehicle accidents or slip-and-falls) involving a non-government liable party, the SOL is three years from when the incident occurred.  I also noted that when the liable party is a government entity the usual SOL is two years. It's also good to know some of the nuances and exceptions which might apply, and that's the purpose of this article.  Always remember to check with your attorney and understand that these laws can change based on new legislation.
        First, as I touched on in the earlier article the SOL technically begins when the party bringing the lawsuit is on "notice" of the wrong committed. In the case of a car accident or fall, it would be extremely difficult to convince the court (the judge would rule on a motion to dismiss for SOL, and not the jury) that notice was not when the accident occurred.  However, in some cases, like a medical malpractice suit, for example, the "victim" of malpractice may not be aware of the malpractice until months later. This can be "actual" notice, that the person was made objectively aware, or "constructive" notice, that the person should reasonably have been aware of the wrong done.  
        Second, in some cases, the party filing the suit may be able to argue "equitable tolling" (tolling basically means stopping the SOL clock) to go beyond the filing deadline of the SOL. Being prevented from filing the claim within the SOL for extraordinary circumstances could successfully keep the suit from being dismissed. The equitable tolling would be during the period of the extraordinary circumstances but would end when the extraordinary circumstances ended.  If the defendant has actively prevented a party from filing or misled to prevent filing, the Court could determine that justified missing the SOL deadline.  If a Defendant leaves the state for a year or more, the SOL can be tolled until the Defendant returns.
        Though a cause of action bringing damages can be barred by SOL if not filed by the deadline, it's important to note that continuing related causes of action can still fall within the SOL.  For example, in the nursing home context, the substandard care may have been ongoing for many months (or years). Though the initial substandard care may be barred by SOL, the continuing violations may fall within the SOL and suit can be filed for those acts of omissions.  This normally does not apply to the personal injury cases involving slip and falls or vehicle wrecks, it can apply to other torts.
          Know your rights and the basics of the law, including the Statute of Limitations in South Carolina, to ensure your rights are protected.   


       A personal injury accident, whether a car wreck or slip-and-fall, is usually a traumatic experience.  At the time of the accident, the last thought is the specifics of when a lawsuit can be filed to cover damages. The first order of business is with treating the injury, first in the emergency room, and later with a follow-up visit to a primary care physician or physical therapist. After the injury is at least stabilized, the injured party looks toward covering damages caused by another's liability. Those damages can include medical bills, lost wages from time away from work due to the accident, and pain and suffering associated with the accident. In some cases, the injured party may have taken a great deal of time to decide to bring suit against the liable party or even seek counsel to do so.  It's important to know when the South Carolina Statute of Limitations (SOL) will prevent bringing suit due to the amount of time after the accident.
       First, it's important to know that states have differing SOLs for different types of civil causes of action. I am licensed in South Carolina but come into cases which have aspects crossing state lines and have learned about other states' SOL.  For example, from what I have seen, Georgia has a two-year statute of limitations for most civil actions.  At least one state I am aware (Tenn) has a one year SOL for many civil actions.  
      Second, beyond stabilizing injuries, there are other reasons why a party would not want to immediately file suit and therefore must pay close attention to the SOL. Your attorney should take some time investigating the incident and researching parties so he is ethically correct in signing off on the suit being filed.  That investigation goes beyond what a non-lawyer might expect, and should include ensuring statute(s) or case law allow for the cause of action and identifying all money sources involved (sometimes referred to as looking for the "deep pockets" if the damages are substantial). Lastly, it is wise for the attorney to make attempts to negotiate a settlement of the suit before filing.  In practice, most suits are settled before bringing suit, though the facts of the case and level of damages help drive the numbers of the settlement by prediction of what a jury might do at trial.
         In South Carolina, for non-government, private entities as the liable parties, the SOL is three years for most Civil Actions. For liability involving negligence, fraud, Insurance bad faith, conversion (theft) and suits under the SC Unfair Trade Practices Act, a person in South Carolina has three years from the date of accrual (usually from the date of the incident, but in some cases it can be a later date of reasonable "notice" of the wrong) to file the suit.  If not, the suit is forever barred.  Note that SC has a two year SOL for Defamation (libel or slander), false imprisonment, or any suit based on a statutory forfeiture/penalty to SC. Note: There are some other exceptions involving as low as one year SOL and beyond 3 years, but the general rule is three years for personal injury type cases.
      - For suing governmental entities for negligence, in SC the statute of limitations is generally two years from the date of accrual.  It's important to remember this nuance, and ensure to check whether the liable party is a governmental or public entity, as failure to make the time limit bars the suit forever.
     - It's important to understand that the suit must be filed on the "last day" before the SOL runs.  Once the suit is filed, the filing party has up to 120 days to serve the lawsuit on the other party.  Once it is served, the other party has 30 days to answer and potentially make counter-claims which must be answered in 30 days.  
     - If you retain counsel, it is the lawyer's job to file before the SOL.  If you have told your lawyer you want the suit filed within the SOL period and he misses the SOL, he can be sued in malpractice.  Regardless, as lawyers have many cases it's important to conduct follow up and ensure your case is not forever barred.  


Practicing Law, With Christian Values 


        For those hurt on the job, workers compensation can appear confusing and marginal in covering damages.  It's important to first understand the primary reason for workers compensation law:  Protection of both the injured worker and employer under a system which the worker's injuries (and lost wages) are covered but the employer is not under threat of a lawsuit.  Under workers comp, proving liability of either the employee or employer is not required and will not effect the compensation to the employee. Workers compensation insurance, required for employers with four or more employees and not effected by liability, the employee is restricted from suing the employer and the employer must cover a worker liable for his own injuries. The problem with Workers Compensation for the injured employee comes with the lack of compensation for "all" damages (pain and suffering, punitive, etc.) that the employee could seek in a lawsuit if the employer is liable. In many cases, the employee is stuck with Workers Compensation, but in some cases, the employee might be able to bring a separate lawsuit against a liable third party.  Let me explain.
       In the usual situation with an injured employee, the only parties involved are the employer (including employers agents) and the employee. This is primarily because Workers Compensation is for injuries within the scope of work. For example, an employee is carrying a heavy load with other employees, and the employee is hurt when another falls. The falling employee may have been responsible, but the Workers Compensation insurance would be the only coverage available.  This is because the liable employee was an agent of the employer. However, if the hurt employee was using equipment to carry the load, and the equipment owned and maintained by a third party separate from the employer, and the third party was negligent in the maintenance of the equipment, the hurt employee could have a separate action he could pursue in a civil action against the third party.
      If a third party is involved with an injury and is liable in some way, the hurt employee would still pursue Workers Compensation coverage first.  The Workers Compensation claim must be resolved before the injured worker could reach a settlement or bring suit against the third party.  This is because the Workers Compensation insurance would normally have some right to a lien on money paid by the liable third party.  This is because the Workers Compensation Insurance will have paid medical costs for the injured employee and damages from the third party would include money for medical damages. The real benefit of the third party claim to the employee is the ability to demand compensation for pain and suffering involved with the accident, or even potential punitive damages if the case goes to trial.
       Most Workers Compensation attorneys should know to look for a possible third party claim, but this does require some experience and work. In many third party claim cases, the third party claim may not be immediately apparent.  An employee injured while carrying a heavy load into property owned by a third party may have some claim to make against the homeowners insurance in the event of a fault with the property.  For example, if a step gives way causing the employee to fall.  In that event, the employee would make a Workers Compensation claim against his employer, and when that claim is resolved he could then bring a suit against the homeowner seeking homeowner's insurance coverage.  If that claim resolves, the employee would have to pay some amount of the homeowner's insurance settlement to the Workers Comp carrier but would have more due to the coverage for pain and suffering.  He would then be fully compensated.
      After being injured while in the scope of employment, it's important to know and seek all available coverage.  



      As most personal injury lawyers in Orangeburg will tell you, the vast majority of civil cases end of settling between parties before going to a final jury verdict.  The settlements can occur at any time after one party's liability causes damages to another party.  This could be after a personal injury matter (like a car wreck or slip and fall), or could be after a breach of contract.  Settlements take all forms, from informal offers by one party after the wrong to resolve the matter all the way up to a settlement during trial between the parties before the case goes to the Jury (at which point it's too late). Though lawyers usually set up mediations, it's important for clients to understand the process and ensuring the result is a clear and permanent resolution between all parties involved.
     The earliest type of mediation within the cycle of litigation is called a "pre-suit mediation".  This is when parties have not been able to resolve an issue involving liability and damages to party(s) by offer and counter-offer between parties and/or lawyers.  In this type of mediation, a party (or parties) are ready to file suit, but making a last ditch effort to resolve the matter.  A strong benefit to this type of mediation is in parties avoiding all the expenses of filing suit and discovery.  They will normally agree to split the cost of a mediator, but that is the only expense involved (Note:  Mediators are typically $250-400 per hour in South Carolina, and that cost is usually covered equally by both parties. The length of time for mediation can vary from an hour to all day, typically).  
      The downside of a pre-suit mediation is the lack of discovery before the mediation, and therefore the challenge of parties in valuation and assessment of liability with the case.  It's critical that before or during mediation parties exchange as much information possible in order to come to a successful resolution at mediation.  The information will come out during discovery if the suit is filed, so there is little reason to hold back on providing information to the other side.  Consider suggesting a pre-suit mediation to your lawyer if he doesn't mention this alternative to filing.  It can save thousands in litigation costs and a great deal of time and stress involved with filing suit. Like all mediation, parties must agree on the mediator and location of the mediation before the event. An experience mediator can help parties with understanding what would likely happen if they do not settle, and therefore provide worth when going back and forth to reach a resolution in the interest of both parties.
     The next type of mediation comes after filing suit.  In many venues, this is actually a requirement of the court before the case can go to trial.  It is normally conducted at the conclusion of discovery (which comes after the initial pleadings of Complaint and Answer), and therefore parties have better information for assessment and valuation. This type of mediation is much more common than pre-suit mediation, and the same process with the mediator attempting to convince parties to settle their claim and resolve the matter.  Mediation can occur any time up through the impaneling of the Jury, and can even occur after a Jury verdict, but while parties are waiting for appeal. In that event, even though the Jury verdict is a higher number, parties have incentive to settle beneath that number rather than risk a successful appeal.
      When parties come to resolution and consent in the mediation, it's important that the mediator and parties "dot all the i's and cross all the t's" in ensuring the settlement is properly memorialized and the case is resolved permanently between parties. The mediator should have parties sign some kind of agreement with the substantive points at the mediation (which he may then file with the court if it is not pre-suit mediation, and file a report in a mandatory mediation venue).  The parties should come to terms that ensure the parties sign the formal settlement/release documentation (and exchange anything associated, like law firm W9) before the transfer of (usually) money for the release.  The parties should understand the tax consequences involved with settlement (for example, money given to resolve a personal injury matter are not taxed, but money for a discrimination matter would be taxed). If lawyers are involved, they are under a duty to follow the agreements about transfer of value in a settlement:  A lawyer for a client receiving money by the settlement must ensure that client signs a release/settlement to protect the other party.  
     A good Personal Injury Attorney In Orangeburg will help clients through mediation, but it's important to know the basics.    


       Whether in business or in personal life, contracts are important. For many, giving one's word is a bond they will never break. If they tell someone they will do something, they will stick to it as an ethical obligation without the threat of legal enforcement.  Unfortunately, not all those in life have the same kind of passion about keeping their word. Particularly in business contracts, but also in personal life, having the ability to legally enforce a contract is critical. That's what this article is all about.
       The courts consider any accepted "offer" to be a legally binding contract.  The key elements are that one party communicated an offer to another party, and the other party accepted the offer at the terms given. That's it. For many contracts, parties are allowed to testify in court about what was communicated as an offer and what was communicated as they acceptance.  A party can bring an action in court and have the ability to testify as to what was said between parties in creating the contract.  As long as a "quid pro quo" existed (each party promised something of value to the other through the offer/acceptance) a party can be held to the contract and damages flowing from a breach of that contract.
      Parties attempting to enforce a contract or seek damages for a breach of contract should understand the challenges of bringing an action based on an oral contract. Though the courts will recognize the legal sufficiency of an oral offer and acceptance to form a contract, the other party can be expected to dispute those communications. If they didn't dispute the communications, parties likely wouldn't seek the court for redress.  Therefore, it's quite important to analyze the extrinsic evidence of the oral contract.  Witnesses can be a great source of evidence, particularly if the witness is not closely aligned with the party bringing the action.  A family member or close friend will be considered a biased source of testimony, for example.  Additionally, the evidence of partial performance of the contract can be great evidence the parties agreed.  Sometimes, just the course of dealing between the parties in routine contracts can help establish the existence of an enforceable contract.
       Some contracts are required to be in writing in order to bring evidence of the contract before the courts by the "Statute of Frauds".  Contracts associated with marriage, contracts dealing with real estate (land), contracts that cannot possibly be completed within one year are examples of contracts of which the court requires some writing for evidence of the contract (oral evidence is not enough). The writing used as evidence must be signed by the party against whom the action is being brought. This can be any type of writing, including even notes on a scratch piece of paper describing the contract and signed by at least the party who will be the Defendant in court. By the "Parole Evidence Rule" if parties later make an oral agreement about the contract that would contradict a term in writing, it cannot be used to help fill in any questions about the contract.  However, other non-written evidence can be used to help better explain the terms of the contract as long as the evidence does not contradict the terms of the parties in writing.   
       In Personal Injury cases, many times parties will come to a settlement. That settlement will include settlement terms and the person bringing the case releasing the liable party from future threat of a lawsuit by the party bringing the suit.  In settlements, though the agreement is a contract and "could" be oral, lawyers associated with the parties are required to obtain signatures before disbursing proceeds.  In dealings with lawyers, certain contracts are required by attorney ethics rules to be in writing.  For example, for a lawyer to take a case on "contingency" (lawyer is not paid fees during the case, but collects a percentage usually 33%), he must have the client's signature in writing to work on that basis.  He must also obtain the client's signature agreement to the disbursement of funds by their agreement.
       There are many, many other laws and evidence rules associated with contracts, but the key take-away should be the importance of getting contracts in writing, ensuring the writing is clear about the main terms of the contract, and considering legal representation for substantial contracts that involve sophisticated terms and have the potential for critical loss. 

          When you are in an accident involving personal injury, events move quickly during the incident and the immediate aftermath.  After a collision involving two vehicles, drivers and passengers in both vehicles are usually in some state of confusion. As I learned during firefights in Afghanistan, events involving potential death causes a substantial adrenaline spike with multiple physiological effects. The immediate aftermath of an accident can be confusing and emotions can run wild. It's important to learn a key evidence rule now, so that when an accident occurs you will make a wise decision about what is said in a confusing and sometimes chaotic environment.
        The first, and arguably most important, evidence rule to be aware is an exception: to the general rule against the admission of hearsay in court:  A party admission is admissible in court despite being "hearsay".  This means that if a party makes an admission to being at fault in an accident, anyone who heard the party can testify to that admission.  It doesn't have to be a direct admission like "I caused this accident".  It would be something more indirect like "I didn't see the stop sign".  Anything that can be reasonably interpreted as an admission.  Another hearsay exception is a party statement against interest.  When a party communicates a statement that goes against the interest of the party, this is allowed in court as another exception to the general hearsay rule.  Saying "I didn't realize the speed limit changed" is against interest (and/or considered an admission).  Therefore, parties must be careful after an accident not to say something admitting fault or going against the interest of the party.
        A reason it's important to understand this rule is that a party can destroy a defense or legitimate claim against the other party by saying the wrong things after an accident. In dealing with insurance carriers, a party admission generally prevents the company from settling.  It can also cause the party's own carrier to settle the claim in favor of the other party.  In the immediate aftermath of an accident, one party might be confused, and not understand what happened and "think" he is at fault.  When all the facts come out later, that party may have had less liability than the other party. As South Carolina is a modified "comparative fault" state, a party can bring a lawsuit as long as that party is not beyond 50% liable for the accident.  However, if the party makes an admission of liability, that admission will greatly harm any future defense or claim against the other party.
       This does not mean that a party cannot express sympathy for any injuries of the other party, and definitely doesn't mean a party cannot seek to help the other party.  It is just important to be careful about what is said around others after an accident, and understand that accidents are complex in the area of liability.  Just provide the facts of what happened, and let the facts speak for themselves.   
UPDATE:  With the COVID 19 pandemic, courts in South Carolina have continued (moved back) a number of hearings and filing deadlines.  Additionally, most depositions have also been continued until further notice.  It's important to gather evidence at the earliest possible point after the accident, then be prepared for delays in presenting evidence.  You should inform witnesses of these delays, and attempt to obtain affidavits where appropriate in all cases.       

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

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