What To Do If Stopped for DUI by the Police

What To Do If You’re Stopped For Drunk Driving

  1. When you see “blue lights,” activate your turn signal and safely pull over to the side of the road or nearest parking area.  Do not stop in the middle of the road or make sudden movements with your vehicle.  Stay calm.
  2. Place both hands on the steering wheel in plain view. If stopped at night, turn on your vehicle’s interior lights. Police officers need to see that you do not pose a threat to them, and your interaction will be better if you eliminate this potential issue.
  3. When asked, “how much have you had to drink,” politely and respectfully decline to answer until you have spoken with a DUI lawyer. Remember, you are NOT required to answer any incriminating questions.  But, be polite.  The police are there to do a job.
  4. When asked to get out of the vehicle, do so promptly and keep your hands visible at all times. Again, keep the police officer at relative ease.
  5. When instructed that you will be performing certain “roadside” or “field sobriety tests,” again politely and respectfully decline until you have spoken with a DUI attorney. As with all other inquiries, you are NOT required to participate in these tests. At this point, you will probably be arrested for suspicion of drunk driving, placed in handcuffs, and put in the back of the patrol car.
  6. Once put in the back of the patrol car, you will most likely be videotaped or recorded during the ride to the police station. Look outside the window and do NOT talk. Any statements made can and will be used against you later in Court.
  7. Upon arrival at the police station, you will be taken for Breathalyzer testing.  Again, politely and respectfully decline until you have spoken with a DUI lawyer.  As before, you are NOT required to take these tests. Your driving privileges will be suspended, but restricted licenses are available so that you can get to work, school, or medical appointments. Also remember that you are being videotaped at this stage, so be very careful what you say and do.
  8. Once processed and placed in jail, the next step will be a “bond hearing” at which point a monetary amount will be assessed to get out of jail. We recommend you use a “bail bondsman” so that you pay only 10% – 15% of any required bond. Do NOT pay the full bond. You’re going to need money to hire an experienced DUI attorney and get a restricted license.
  9. Most people get into trouble on weekends and holidays when it is usually very difficult to contact a lawyer. Look for firms that advertise mobile phone numbers. Also, look for DUI lawyers who have real trial experience. You don’t want inexperience here. A DUI conviction has both immediate and long-term effects on your permanent record.
  10. Always drink responsibly and have a designated driver. The goal is to get home safe and sound. But if you do make a mistake, we are not here to judge you. We are here to help. Call us and let’s get started.

At Reeves, Aiken & Hightower LLP, our attorneys have over 70 years of combined trial experience in both civil and criminal courts.  We focus our criminal practice on DUI and DWI cases in both South Carolina and North Carolina and are available by mobile phone in the evenings, on weekends, and even holidays. Our lawyers are licensed in both states and are effective criminal trial attorneys.  We are not afraid to go to Court and often do. Don’t settle for a lawyer who only wants to reduce your DUI charge to reckless driving.  Call us today for a free attorney case review of your particular situation. We are here to help.

When Do My SC Workers’ Comp Benefits Start?

I am injured on the job.  I need my benefits started? What can I do if the carrier is taking too long?

Here is what the actual law says.  At the end, I will explain what it means. Keep reading.

Section 42-17-20 (SC Code of Laws):

Hearing before Commission on compensation payable.

If the employer and the injured employee or his dependents fail to reach an agreement in regard to compensation under this Title within fourteen days after the employer has knowledge of the injury or after a death or if they have reached such an agreement which has been signed and filed with the Commission and compensation has been paid or is due in accordance therewith and the parties thereto then disagree as to the continuance of any weekly payment under such agreement, either party may make application to the Commission for a hearing in regard to the matters at issue and for a ruling thereon. Immediately after such application has been received the Commission shall set a date for a hearing, which shall be held as soon as practicable, and shall notify the parties at issue of the time and place of such hearing. The hearing shall be held in the city or county in which the injury occurred, unless otherwise agreed to by the parties and authorized by the Commission.

What this section means is that once a worker is injured on the job and reports the accident to his employer, there is a fourteen (14) day window for the insurance carrier to make a decision about accepting the claim and beginning benefits.  The carrier will investigate all new claims.  They will talk with witnesses and will probably want to take a “recorded statement” of the injured worker.  It is never a good idea to give a recorded statement without an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer present. Adjusters are there to do a job, and that job is to limit benefits if there is any doubt about a claim.  If accepted, initial benefits include medical treatment and weekly benefits, if written out of work or the employer is unable to provide work within restrictions. The treating medical provider would provide the work restrictions or limitations (no lifting over 20 pounds).  The employer and carrier are required to recognize only those out of work or work restrictions from the authorized provider.  An injured worker is not allowed to use a doctor or provider on their own.

This is the best time to consider hiring an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.  The earlier we get involved, the better we can help manage your case and medical treatment.  We want the best possible outcome for you and your family, both medically as well as financially.  If you are seriously injured, a work-related accident can affect you for years and may even change your life forever.

At Reeves, Aiken & Hightower LLP, our lawyers are experienced workers’ compensation attorneys.  Robert J. Reeves is a former Registered Nurse (RN) who has actually treated patients with the same type of serious injuries he now represents in workers’ compensation cases.  Both Robert J. Reeves and Arthur K. Aiken are former insurance defense attorneys who know how to anticipate and prepare for defenses and insurance company tactics.  During our twenty-two (22) years each of practicing law, we have successfully handled virtually every type of workers’ compensation injury, including neck, back, shoulder, knee accidents, closed head / brain injury, herniated disks, bulging disks, diskectomy surgery, fusion procedures, arthroscopy, automobile accidents on the job, psychological / post traumatic stress, permanent and total disability claims, and wrongful death. We welcome the opportunity to sit down and personally discuss your case. Compare our attorneys’ credentials to any other firm. Then call us for a private consultation. www.rjrlaw.com


SC Workers’ Compensation Claims – Medical Treatment

What about medical treatment when you’re hurt on the job?  Who controls?

Here is the actual law as it is written in the South Carolina Code of Laws. We explain what it all means at the end.  Keep reading.

SECTION 42-15-60. Time period medical treatment and supplies furnished; refusal to accept treatment; settled claims; total and permanent disability.

(A) The employer shall provide medical, surgical, hospital, and other treatment, including medical and surgical supplies as reasonably may be required, for a period not exceeding ten weeks from the date of an injury, to effect a cure or give relief and for an additional time as in the judgment of the commission will tend to lessen the period of disability as evidenced by expert medical evidence stated to a reasonable degree of medical certainty. In addition to it, the original artificial members as reasonably may be necessary must be provided by the employer. During any period of disability resulting from the injury, the employer, at his own option, may continue to furnish or cause to be furnished, free of charge to the employee, and the employee shall accept, an attending physician and any medical care or treatment that is considered necessary by the attending physician, unless otherwise ordered by the commission for good cause shown. The refusal of an employee to accept any medical, hospital, surgical, or other treatment or evaluation when provided by the employer or ordered by the commission bars the employee from further compensation until the refusal ceases and compensation is not paid for the period of refusal unless in the opinion of the commission the circumstances justified the refusal, in which case the commission may order a change in the medical or hospital service. If in an emergency, on account of the employer’s failure to provide the medical care as specified in this section, a physician other than provided by the employer is called to treat the employee, the reasonable cost of the service must be paid by the employer, if ordered by the commission.

(B)

(1) When a claim is settled on the commission’s Agreement for Permanent Disability/Disfigurement Compensation form, the employer is not required to provide further medical treatment or medical modalities after one year from the date of full payment of the settlement unless the form specifically provides otherwise.

(2) Each award of permanency as ordered by the single commissioner or by the commission must contain a finding as to whether or not further medical treatment or modalities must be provided to the employee. If the employee is entitled to receive such benefits, the medical treatment or modalities to be provided must be set forth with as much specificity as possible in the single commissioner’s order or the commission’s order.

(3) In no case shall an employer be required to provide medical treatment or modalities in any case where there is a lapse in treatment of the employee by an authorized physician in excess of one year unless:

(a) the settlement agreement or commission order provides otherwise; or

(b) the employee has made reasonable attempts to obtain further treatment or modality from an authorized physician, but through no fault of the employee’s own, is unable to obtain such treatment or modalities.

(C) In cases in which total and permanent disability results, reasonable and necessary nursing services, medicines, prosthetic devices, sick travel, medical, hospital, and other treatment or care shall be paid during the life of the injured employee, without regard to any limitation in this title including the maximum compensation limit. In cases of permanent partial disability, prosthetic devices shall be furnished during the life of the injured employee or for as long as such devices are necessary.

So what does all this mean? Well, it means an injured worker gets medical treatment but with fairly substantial restrictions.  For example, the employer (or their insurance carrier) chooses which doctor you see.  They get to manage and control your treatment, even if you disagree with the physician or do not believe they have your best interests in mind.  Frankly, most doctors are conservative by nature. And, it often seems they are more concerned with their insurance contract than your particular concerns.  Even before making a definitive diagnose, treatment usually starts with “conservative care” (i.e. physical therapy).  When that fails, then an MRI or CT scan is finally ordered. When it is learned that the injured worker has something more serious, surgery is scheduled. The result is delayed recovery, and sometimes, additional permanent disability.

At Reeves, Aiken & Hightower LLP, our lawyers are experienced workers’ compensation attorneys.  Robert J. Reeves is a former Registered Nurse (RN) who has actually treated patients with the same type of serious injuries he now represents in workers’ compensation cases.  Both Robert J. Reeves and Arthur K. Aiken are former insurance defense attorneys who know how to anticipate and prepare for defenses and insurance company tactics.  During our twenty-two (22) years each of practicing law, we have successfully handled virtually every type of workers’ compensation injury, including neck, back, shoulder, knee accidents, closed head / brain injury, herniated disks, bulging disks, diskectomy surgery, fusion procedures, arthroscopy, automobile accidents on the job, psychological / post traumatic stress, permanent and total disability claims, and wrongful death. We welcome the opportunity to sit down and personally discuss your case. Compare our attorneys’ credentials to any other firm. Then call us for a private consultation. www.rjrlaw.com


8.7% Increase in Trucking Fatalities

The recently released statistic is very disturbing. An 8.7% increase in commercial trucking crashes, according to a report released by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NITSA). Sadly, it is now documented that large truck accidents are becoming more frequent. When they do happen, they almost always result in serious injury, brain injury, and/or wrongful death.
NHTSA said in its annual report that 3,675 people died in trucking related accidents in 2010, an increase of 295 over the 3,380 fatalities in 2009. The number injured in trucking accidents increased 12% from 17,000 to 19,000. (Those number are surely rounded off.) NHTSA did not clearly identify a cause, but increased truck traffic due to gradual economic recovery is likely a major factor.
Originally Posted On: December 20, 2011 by Ken Shigley, President of Georgia Bar
At Reeves, Aiken & Hightower, LLP, all of our attorneys are seasoned trial lawyers with over 70 years combined experience. Whether it is criminal or civil, our litigators are regularly in Court fighting for our clients. Two of our firm’s partners, Art Aiken and Robert Reeves, are lifetime members of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Mr. Reeves has also been named one of the Top 100 lawyers for South Carolina in 2012 by the National Trial Lawyers Organization. Our attorneys include a former SC prosecutor, a former public defender, a former NC District Attorney intern, a former Registered Nurse (RN), and former insurance defense attorneys. As a result of their varied backgrounds, they understand the criminal, insurance defense, and medical aspects of complex cases. We welcome an opportunity to sit down and personally review your case. Call us today for a private consultation. www.rjrlaw.com

SC Workers Compensation Retainer Agreement – 25% Reduced Attorney Fee

There are many law firms which offer workers’ compensation services. Most of those firms have very little experience in this complex area of the law but still charge full 1/3 contingency fees. At Reeves, Aiken & Hightower, LLP, our attorneys are seasoned trial lawyers with over 22 years experience each.  Nevertheless, in these very difficult economic times, we offer a reduced attorney fee of 25% if a case is settled prior to requesting a hearing.  Of course, the decision to settle or go to trial is always made by the client.  The document below is our firm’s retainer agreement for your review.  It is one page and, we hope, very straightforward. When considering a law firm, make sure you can understand their agreement and ask if they offer a similar reduced fee without going to court. Also, check out their credentials and how many years they have actually been practcing workers compensation law.  Compare our attorneys to any other firm.  Then, let’s sit down and personally discuss your particular case.  After that, you will be in the best position to choose the most qualified lawyer to protect your interests.

STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA WORKERS’ COMPENSATION RETAINER AGREEMENT
COUNTY OF ______________________ Robert J. Reeves, P.C.
Reeves, Aiken & Hightower, L.L.P.

This is a contract agreement to engage professional legal services between

Robert J. Reeves, P.C. (Attorneys) and __________________________________________________

(Client) for any and all claims resulting from a work-related accident that occurred

on or about _________________, against __________________________________________(Employer).

Attorneys will develop all material evidence on Client’s behalf and prosecute all legally viable claims against all legally responsible parties. Client will be kept informed of significant developments in their case and will have sole discretion to accept or reject any final settlement offer. Attorneys will exercise their professional judgment as to what actions and/or claims to file and pursue. This Agreement covers legal representation through an initial mediation and/or hearing. Any appeals require a separate Retainer Agreement.

This Agreement is a contingency contract, meaning there are no attorney fees unless, and only if, the client receives money, either through settlement or hearing. If resolved PRIOR to filing a Request for Hearing, the attorney fee is 25% of any disputed amounts recovered, including temporary total and/or permanent disability benefits. If a Request for Hearing becomes necessary, the attorney fee increases to 33.33%. “Costs” are different from “attorney fees” and are deducted separately. Costs include such items as medical records, filing fees, expert witness charges, and deposition charges, if applicable. ALL ATTORNEY FEES ARE SUBJECT TO APPROVAL BY THE SOUTH CAROLINA WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COMMISSION (SCWCC).

No promises or guarantees have been made regarding any financial recovery. We only guarantee our best efforts and hard work on your behalf. If this Agreement ends before the case is concluded, Attorneys are entitled to costs and appropriate attorney fees as approved by the SCWCC for all work done to date.

We are honored that you have chosen our firm to represent you. We value your trust and will do everything we can to earn your loyalty now and in the future.

DATED this _________ day of ___________________________, 201_____.

Client Robert J. Reeves, P.C.

___________________________________________ ________________________________________