South Carolina Personal Injury Law and Understanding Compensation

If you or someone close to you has been injured due to the negligence of another person or entity, you will likely be entitled to monetary compensation for your injuries.  The first step in determining whether you have a joe-medics after car accidentpersonal injury case is to contact an attorney who in knowledgeable about the South Carolina personal injury laws and can provide you with sound advice.  It is likely that if you were injured, and it can be found that the other party is more at fault, you may recover damages for property, medical expenses, and pain and suffering.

In order to succeed in a personal injury claim, the first thing that must be proven is that the person or entity was at fault for your injury.  If this can be established, the responsible party may have to compensate you for your injuries, property damage, and suffering.  There are three grounds on which a personal injury claim can be filed.  These are negligence, intentional wrong doing, and strict liability.  For negligence, it must be proven that someone acted or failed to act in a particular way, and as a result an accident occurred.  Next, an intentional wrong means that the party acted deliberately, such as in the case of an assault.  Here a person may also be entitled to punitive damages for willful, wanton, and reckless conduct.  The third ground is strict liability which protects consumers from being harmed by defective products.  South Carolina abides by strict products liability, and therefore the manufacturer has an absolute duty to make the product safe.

After grounds for a claim are established, you must prove that you suffered from physical, emotional, or mental harm as a result of the accident.  This can be a complicated process, and many variables factor into determining the amount of compensation one is entitled to receive.

The most common personal injury claims involve car accidents, medical malpractice, on-the-job incidents, and slip-and-fall cases.  At Reeves, Aiken & Hightower, LLP, we are equipped to assist with a plethora of personal injury issues and claims that you may be confronted with.  Examples include wrongful death, catastrophic injuries, brain injuries, spinal injuries, motorcycle accidents, defective highways, nursing home abuse, bicycle accidents, and also insurance issues that may come up.  We work first-hand with the insurance companies to settle your case as effectively as possible to ensure adequate compensation.

 

This is why it is important to seek a personal injury lawyer to help you with your legal needs.  Contact our law offices today for free a confidential consultation to see whether you have a claim, and if so what damages you should be seeking.  You can contact our Fort Mill, South Carolina office at directly at 803-548-4444 or toll-free at 877-374-5999 with questions regarding your injuries.

 

Man Charged with Felony DWI: Negligence in North and South Carolina

A 20-year-old Orangeburg man, suspected of driving under the influence, was arrested after a fatal crash in Orangeburg County.  Police report that the man was driving along Riverbank Drive at around 1:00 a.m., and while attempting to pass another vehicle, they collided with each other. The 19-year-old driver of the other car was killed in the accident, and the other two passengers were taken to the hospital.  The alleged responsible driver did nSC Car Accidentot receive any injuries in the accident.  While the man faces two counts of felony DUI, he also may face civil penalties.

In the state of South Carolina, the rule for personal injury law follows the Comparative Negligence standard.  Here, even if a plaintiff is partially negligent, that plaintiff can still recover if their negligence does not exceed the negligence of others.  The recovery will, however, be reduced in proportion to the plaintiff’s negligence. The major question in South Carolina is whether 50% or 51% passes the threshold for allowing negligence recovery.

The rule in South Carolina is that the plaintiff’s negligence must not exceed that of the defendants.  So, in a case where a jury determines that the plaintiff and the defendant split fault exactly 50-50, the plaintiff will receive 50% of damages.  If the plaintiff is the least bit more at fault than the defendant, the plaintiff is barred from recovery.  This rule is called the 51% bar.  In a multi-party lawsuit, the plaintiff’s negligence must not exceed the combined negligence of the defendants.  So, even if there is no defendant individually responsible for the 51% negligence, the plaintiff’s claim is not barred.

This is a much easier bar than North Carolina.  North Carolina adheres to the Contributory Negligence standard which states that if the plaintiff is found to be 0.00001% at fault, his claim is barred. Here, a North Carolina case may prevail on the fact that the driver was “reckless, willful, and wanton.”

If you have been injured in an accident in North or South Carolina, contact the law offices of Reeves, Aiken & Hightower, LLP for a confidential consultation toll-free at 877-347-5999.

Head-on Collision in South Carolina Results in Death of Driver

A woman was killed after a head-on Spartanburg County, South Carolina collision.  The wreck occurred at 7:55 p.m. on Peachtree Road, near the town of Chesnee.  Troopers have reported that the woman was South Carolina Personal Injury Attorneytraveling south when she ran off the right side of the road, over-corrected and came back onto the road and crossed the path of an SUV.  The woman was not wearing a seatbelt, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the SUV, and the other two passengers in the vehicle were transported to Spartanburg Regional Hospital as a result of injuries sustained.  They were wearing their seatbelts.  Here, it is likely that the driver who was killed, would be considered “at fault,” due to the fact that it was likely her negligence that caused her to cross the path of the SUV.  However, the accident is still under investigation at this point.

In South Carolina, we abide by the standard of comparative negligence, which, unlike the more stringent contributory negligence standard in North Carolina, attempts to provide you with compensation for damages even if you were partially at fault in the auto accident.

In a comparative negligence accident claim, you must show that the other driver was more than 50% liable for the car accident.  If it is determined that the other driver is more liable than you for the crash, then they, or their insurance company will be required to compensate you for that percentage of liability.

For example, if you have a claim against another driver for $40,000, and through comparative negligence it is determined that they were 70% negligence for the accident, you would receive $28,000 in compensation.

While this does not cover the entirety of the car accident, it is far better to receive some compensation for the car accident that to bear the full cost.  A comparative negligence claim is very involved and can explore factors such as weather conditions, road hazards, other drivers, other vehicles, witness statements, and police records.

If you have been involved in a collision in North Carolina, be vigilant of the high threshold one must prove in order to recover.  This is why it is important contact an attorney with experience in the realm of  personal injury law.  For a confidential consultation, contact the law offices of Reeves, Aiken & Hightower, LLP toll free at 877-374-5999 for more information.

 

What Should I Do if I am in a Car Accident in South Carolina?

If you are in an accident the first feeling you have is usually one of panic.  It is a very nerve wracking experience and can be very disorienting.  However it is important to know what to do if you are in an accident.Personal Injury Attorney

  A good habit is to keep your insurance card and registration in your vehicle at all times.  This information will be needed should you be in an accident.  Should you find yourself in an accident try to remain calm and call 911 immediately to have an officer dispatched to your location.  The dispatcher will need to know where you are and if you don’t know what road you are on let them know any landmarks you see around you.  Most dispatchers will know where you are even if you are not sure what road you are on if you can describe some landmarks around you.

Generally you should not move you vehicle from the scene of the accident so that the responding officer can take down an accurate report of the scene of the accident.  This may vary depending on what jurisdiction you are in as some jurisdictions require small accidents such as fender benders to move to the side of the road until an officer can respond.

Once the officer has arrived you will need to give him all your information and he take a statement from you to investigate how the accident happened.  The officer will give a citation to the driver he concludes was at fault.  In some cases the officer will give a citation to both drivers involved in the accident if he is unable to determine exactly who was at fault.  He will still make a report and then leave it to the courts to decipher where fault should be assigned.  This is important to remember since just because you receive a citation does not mean you are at fault.

If you have been involved in a situation such as the one listed above, you need the help of a personal injury attorney. Contact the attorneys at Reeves Aiken & Hightower LLP toll-free at 877-374-5999 for a private, confidential consultation to review your particular case.

 

Jones v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Ins. Co. – Receipt of Cancellation Notice

State Farm Automobile Insurance provided for three of the vehicles belonging to Plaintiff Jones.  However, on November 5, 1999, State Farm sent a cancellation notice informing Mr. Jones that “effective November 24th, 1999,SC Personal Injury Attorney coverage of the 1986 Mazda would be cancelled due to nonpayment of premiums.”  Forward to December 19, 1999: Jones is seriously injured in a car wreck while driving the Mazda.  Thereafter, a State Farm agent signed a FR-10 form stating that “I hereby affirm that to the best of my knowledge the vehicle described above was insured by State Farm insurance company on the date and time of the accident.”

After settling with the carrier of the other driver, Mr. Jones attempted to seek a declaration that the Mazda was covered at the time of the collision, and that he was “entitled to the underinsured coverage and entitled to stack his other two policies.  However, the trial judge ruled in favor of State Farm and was entitled to summary judgment because the cancellation notice complied with S.C. Code Ann. 38-77-120, and the Form FR-10 did not affect the cancellation.

The case finally reached the South Carolina Appellate court where, the court affirmed, finding that the cancellation notice complied with the SC Code section.  The court agreed with State Farm that an insurer is not required to inform the insured he/she has not been ceded to the South Carolina Reinsurance Facility.  Therefore, summary judgment was granted in favor of State Farm without regard to the FR-10, because the form did not raise an issue as to the validity of the cancellation notice.

Moral of the Story:  If you receive a cancellation notice in the mail, do not expect to garner any benefits from your insurance company as a result of a collision caused thereafter.  This is regardless of fault.  If State Farm had failed to send out the cancellation notice, the Plaintiff would have likely succeeded in this scenario; however, the notice was the document that proved to be the straw that broke the camels back in this case.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a similar situation, it is important for a professional to take a look at the case.  If the cancellation notice was sent after the accident, the person is still covered and he/she may be entitled to monetary compensation from the insurance company.  Contact the law offices of Reeves, Aiken & Hightower, LLP if you have a question regarding a pending insurance issue and we will determine the likelihood of success in your situation.  For a consultation, contact our York County, South Carolina office at 803-548-4444.

What is the Difference Between a ” Personal Injury,” and “Crime” Charge?

In modern terms, a “personal injury,” is most commonly used to refer to a tort action claiming that a plaintiff has endured an injury caused by the negligence of another, called the defendant.

In the opposing side, a “crime,” is something that entirely different that arises when a person has violated either a state or federal law, and now must pay some sort of restitutionPersonal Injury Attorney to the state for their alleged crime.

A tort action is one that occurs in civil court as opposed to criminal court. To be a tort and not a crime, the plaintiff will sue the defendant personally, sometimes jointly and severally with another defendant, for damages due to the injury. The plaintiff, if found to be in the right; will recover monetary damages from the defendant for the defendant’s actions.

On the converse, when a person is charged with a crime instead of a tort, they are considered to be the defendant in the case, and the state serves as the plaintiff for all pra

The major difference is that when there is a crime charge due to injuries, there is no single person to serve as the plaintiff and earn a reward of compensation; but rather the focus is for the defendant to pay for their malfeasance either through fines to the state, serving the community, or at worst, being incarcerated.ctical purposes.

Whether you have incurred a serious personal injury through an accident such as a car collision or the like; or whether you have been charged with a crime by the state of South Carolina, contact the law offices of Reeves, Aiken, and Hightower, LLP directly at 803-548-444 or toll-free at 877-374-5999 for more information on your legal options.