Rock Hill / Fort Mill / Indian Land Workers Comp Lawyer
While there are many attorneys in York County, there are relatively few lawyers that focus their practices on workers’ compensation here in Rock Hill, Fort Mill, or Indian Land. Before deciding which law firm to hire, it is critically important to carefully compare actual credentials and experience in the area of law. We invite you to consider the firm of Reeves Aiken Hightower & Burns LLP and our workers comp lawyer Robert J. Reeves. Mr. Reeves has over 25 years workers compensation experience. He is a former Registered Nurse (RN) who understands complex injury cases. He is also a former workers compensation insurance defense attorney who knows how carriers value cases and what defenses to prepare against. We maintain offices in Baxter Village which serves our clients in Fort Mill and Indian Land. We also have an office in Rock Hill to meet with clients there by appointment.
Before choosing a workers comp lawyer here in Rock Hill, Fort Mill, or Indian Land, we believe you should expect certain qualifications from any lawyer you are considering. If they do not have these credentials, we respectfully suggest you look at hiring another firm. The following list below is what we term the Workers’ Compensation Client’s Bill of Rights:
1. You have the right to expect that your workers comp lawyer has actually read Title 42. If they don’t know what Title 42 is, move on.
2. You have the right to expect that your lawyer has actually tried cases before the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission. Hopefully, at a minimum, they have tried at least 50 cases tried to completion. If not, you should keep looking.
3. You should expect your workers comp lawyer to have argued appeals before the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Full Commission. Being able to debate workers’ compensation law makes your attorney better able to prepare cases for hearing when they can anticipate insurance company defenses.
4. You have the right to expect your lawyer will actually meet with your personally to review your case and options. Too many “mill” law firms utilize “intake” persons or paralegals to meet with clients. This is unethical behavior and not respectful to their clients. If it is not worth the lawyer’s time, they are not worth your time.
5. You should expect your workers comp lawyer to read your medical records in full. The most valuable part of any workers compensation claim is the medical treatment. Money is secondary. Getting the best possible medical care and recovery is the most important aspect and should be your lawyer’s primary concern. Of course, it helps if your lawyer has any medical training or experience to know what they are actually reading. It is also important when it is necessary to take doctor’s depositions or send letters to establish necessary medical causation.
6. You have the right to have your lawyer actually return your phone calls or emails. Paralegals are great, and they do a fine job with most workers compensation claim tasks. However, they work for the lawyer. Your lawyer works for you. That’s why when you need to get answers, you should be able to speak with your lawyer. If they won’t return your calls, you need to call another lawyer.
7. You deserve a lawyer who will actually fight for you and your family. It is always easier to settle a case than to prepare and go to trial. However, that is not always the best course. If your lawyer seems more interested in settlement or argues with you about taking the “easy money,” you should consider hiring someone else. It is “always safer in harbor, but that’s not what fighting ships are built for.”
8. You should expect your workers comp lawyer to fully answer all of your questions and give you options in your case. If a lawyer cannot answer basic workers compensation questions, you can conclude that lawyer does not really know what they are doing. If they cannot clearly articulate options with pros and cons, you should keep looking for an experienced workers compensation attorney.
9. You have the right to expect your lawyer to belong to organizations that reflect their commitment to an area of practice. Mr. Reeves has been a member and proud supporter of the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Educational Association since 1989. Workers’ compensation cases are different from regular negligence actions and have unique filing requirements and deadlines. Lawyers who only “dabble” in workers compensation cases often stumble through the process and make critical mistakes. Insurance defense firm lawyers limit their practice to workers compensation and do it everyday. Better make sure your workers comp lawyer knows what they are doing to balance the playing field.
10. You should demand your workers comp lawyer know and keep up with changes in the law. Somewhat surprisingly, there are regular appellate court decisions affecting workers compensation cases. Each month, there are several new opinions which further clarify and sometimes alter what is required in presenting workers compensation cases before the Commission. If critical evidence is not preserved or objections made, they are lost forever if the case is later appealed. Serious injury cases are vigorously defended and often result in an appeal to the Full Commission and sometimes further to a Circuit Court or even the South Carolina Supreme Court. Mr. Reeves has argued numerous Full Commission appeals during his 25 year career and is published in an appellate decision at the South Carolina Court of Appeals.
As you can see from the above list, you should have a number of basic expectations from the lawyer you choose to represent you in a South Carolina workers compensation case. As you consider your choices, we encourage you to take this Workers’ Compensation Client Bill of Rights with you as you interview different workers comp lawyers and ask them the “hard questions.” With these requirements in mind, you will quickly be able to separate those attorneys who know workers compensation law and those who are just “posers.” You know this is serious, and you need a serious workers comp lawyer to take care of you and your family. After you have met with others, give us a call before you decide. You can reach Mr. Reeves directly on his mobile phone 803-554-4157. Call him now for answers and options. You can also download our eBook for a basic overview of South Carolina workers’ compensation law and what to expect.
Bedsores or Decubitus Ulcers Are Always Preventable If Proper Care is Given
As a former Registerd Nurse (RN), attorney Robert J. Reeves used to treat patients in the Intensive Care Unit who were clinging to life from a Stage IV decubitus ulcer, or bedsore. This is a critical care situation where there is massive tissue, muscle,and even bone loss. After a bedsore begins, immediate and aggressive treatment must be undertaken to prevent more damage from blocked circulation and resulting infection. If the infection gets into the person’s bloodstream, they become “septic” and will die if the infection cannot be controlled and then reversed. The body suffers extremely high fevers, and the immune system is overwhelmed by infection. Blood cultures are drawn repeatedly, and massive doses of antibiotics are given to try and save the patient’s life. So how does such a life threatening condition begin? It starts when an immobile or bedridden person is not given proper hydration and nutrition and is not turned properly to prevent bedsores from forming.
In most situations, we see nursing home residents and patients with head injury or paraplegia cases. In elderly patients, inattentive care by staff can allow residents to become malnourished and dehydrated which sets up a perfect scenario for bedsores to start. They tend to become less mobile and even bedridden. If not encouraged to ambulate or left in bed or a wheelchair for several hours, skin breakdown can occur. If not detected promptly or skin care measures not employed, decubitus ulcers can quickly deteriorate, often within days. At that point, aggressive inpatient medical treatment will be required in an already immunosuppressed patient. If sepsis develops, many elderly patients simply cannot overcome the infection and will pass.
With head injury cases, these patients are being care for in hospitals and by specially trained professional staffs. They have specifically designed beds that constantly “move” in an attempt to prevent decubitus formation. The staff monitor fluid intake, usually by IV, and nutrition is supplied through a tube directly into the stomach. Many of these patients are on ventilators to breathe and are fighting to recover from a traumatic brain injury. If properly monitored and turned regularly, bedsores never get a chance to start. On reddened areas, skin integrity must be maintained by applying lotions and regular massaging to maintain proper circulation to the area.
Paraplegia and quadraplegia patients are, of course, the most vulnerable to bedsore formation and must be protected by hypervigilant care. Special care must be given at all times but especially during transport by ambulance for procedures and followup care. I have a recent case where a paraplegic patient was left on a hard stretcher for several hours waiting for an MRI scan. During that relatively brief period, the patient was not turned or repositioned. Several “reddened areas” in the usual “pressure points” were not detected, and skin breakdown started in just a few hours. People who are paralyzed already suffer from decreased circulation and are chronically under nourished and borderline dehydrated. As a result, bedsores quickly deteriorate without immediate and aggressive medical intervention. In this case, the patient died in her thirties after just a few days. How can this happen so fast? It is the deadly combination of inadequate hydration, nutrition, systemic circulation issues, and lowered immune response. No matter what the excuse given, bedsores are completely preventable in all cases. The more frail and vulnerable the patient; the more care is required. When proper care is not given, deadly results can occur quickly.
Felony DUI Arrest
Being charged with any DUI offense is always serious, and a conviction will result in a permanent criminal record. But, a DUI is a misdemeanor and usually only requires payment of fines, ADSAP, SR-22 insurance, and loss of driving privileges for six (6) months, subject to a provisional license. However, if you are drinking while driving and someone is seriously injured or killed, you can be charged with a felony DUI that could result in years of time in state prison, up to 25 years. No one ever expects something really bad to happen. It is all too possible for an average, law-abiding citizen to find themselves in serious legal trouble from just one bad mistake in judgement. This is why you should never get behind the wheel if you have been drinking. A DUI can be the least of your worries if you become in an accident on the way home, even if someone else hits you. Even if it is a passenger in your car, you could be charged with felony DUI if anyone is seriously injured as a result of an alcohol related accident.
I am reminded of a real case out of Charleston, South Carolina. It involved a young woman who was just starting her life as a Registered Nurse (RN). She had recently married and was beginning her nursing career helping others. After work one afternoon, she and several fellow nurses went out for a drink before heading home. She had only consumed two (2) alcoholic beverages and had a relatively low BAC level. While driving home, she was in a hurry and made the fateful decision to try to pass another car on a curve. As she began her pass, she struck another vehicle head-on and killed several people inside, including a child. She was also very seriously injured but survived the crash. Because she had a blood level of 0.07%, she was charged and plead guilty to felony DUI. She was sentenced to ten (10) years in prison. Her life, while not completely over, was substantially put on hold. Her nursing career was over. Her marriage may not last for the ten years she will be away. All of this pain for a moment of bad judgement. She was a nice girl from a good family. She had never been in any legal trouble before in her life. Now, she will spend years in a women’s prison. She could not believe it. Her husband and family could not believe it either. But it happened to her. And it can happen to anybody. Even you.
Hot Weather and Drinking
Every summer, we notice a sharp increase in DUI arrests throughout South Carolina. While experts may ponder various reasons or scenarios for the increase, the seemingly obvious answer is it gets really hot here. Cold beer just tastes better in hot weather, and there are lots of opportunities to drink when the weather gets warmer. People enjoy going to the beach or lake for the day and getting out of the heat. Additionally, there are more social activities in the summer months, most of which will entail drinking and eating. In Charleston, you have to have beer during a low country boil. Anything less would just not be natural. In Columbia, our “famously hot” capital requires cold drinks just to survive. In Greenville, we have the downtown nightlife and bars and restaurants on the river to enjoy. And in Fort Mill / Rock Hill, we have great outdoor bars with patio areas. We are SC DUI defense attorneys, and like many of our clients, we enjoy summertime drinking activities. Just remember that the police will be out in force looking for those who drink and then get behind the wheel. If you are stopped or come up on a DUI checkpoint and have any scent of alcohol on your breath, you can expect to become the next dui arrest of the night. We are SC DUI attorneys and are here to help you if charged. But, we would rather show you how to avoid a dui arrest in the first place.
This is the best way to avoid a dui arrest after a night on the town or at the beach or lake. Simply have someone else, who has not been drinking, drive everyone home. Your safety and the safety of other drivers on the road is paramount. No one wants truly impaired drivers behind the wheel taking chances with their lives or ours. We are proponents of safe, responsible driving. Of course, most of our clients are persons who have a drink with dinner or a couple of beers with friends. They would never drive if they thought they were unsafe. They are good, hard working people with good jobs and careers. They know the risks and believe they are fine. Nevertheless, if stopped on the way home, they will be asked to perform field sobriety tests and then breath tested. Even if they “blow” below the 0.08% presumptive legal limit, they will still be arrested and spend the night in jail. The only real way to avoid a DUI arrest is to wait until you get home or not drink at all.