DUI Free Consultation | Criminal Defense Attorneys

While many criminal lawyers charge, we offer a free consultation. Why? Because we are interviewing for a job. Consequently, we meet with clients at no charge in DUI and DWI cases.

Free Consultation for DUI and DWI

Because DUI defense is serious business, we first have to convince you to hire our firm. So how do we do that? First of all, we go over our professional credentials and DUI experience. Before you can trust our advice, you must first have confidence in what we tell you. Hence we want you to know that we focus our criminal practice on DUI and DWI defense. In addition, we work hard to stay current on effective trial strategies. Of course, every case is different, and DUI defense is very complex. However, this is what we do, and we do it every day.

After we tell you about us, we turn our focus to you and what happened. Because every fact is important, we listen very carefully and make detailed notes. While we see certain patterns in every case, little things can sometimes make a big difference in outcome. As a result, we look for particular facts that favor your case. In addition, we also look for things that are bad and then find a good reason to explain. However, juries don’t seem to focus on every detail. Rather, they decide guilt based on common sense and experience. And we all know what “drunk” or “impaired” looks like and sounds like.

Video Evidence Explained

During our free consultation, we talk about lots of things. But the most important part of DUI is what video evidence is available. While South Carolina requires video evidence, North Carolina does not. However, in either State, juries look hard at how you appear and how you sound. As a result, we focus on every detail but really concentrate on things you do on video. For example, how do you walk normally? Furthermore, how do you sound and stand while on video? While the State prefers to talk about their roadside tests, we talk about your normal behavior. In the end, juries decide on what they see and hear for themselves.

Because we practice DUI defense most every day, it is second nature to our attorneys. However, it is a lot of information to hear, especially for the first time. Try not to worry. After all, that is why you would hire us. Regardless, you are going to know much more about how we do our job by the end of our meeting. Then you will be in a good place to decide who is the best DUI attorney for your case. Call us now and let’s start your defense.

Maximum Medical Improvement Determination | SC Workers Comp Attorneys

Maximum Medical Improvement Determination | SC Workers Comp Attorneys

Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) and Disability

While you are still in treatment, you cannot resolve your workers compensation claim. Rather, you must be released from care and at maximum medical improvement. Because this phrase has both medical and legal significance, we discuss it more here. The recent case of McMahan v. SCDOE shows how a court decides issues about MMI.

Case Facts

While working on a bus, McMahan seriously injured his back and had to have two surgeries. However, he continued to have ongoing back pain and other problems. Although he continued to get treatment, he did not get better. Later on, he died while still receiving medical treatment. Because his doctor wrote he had reached MMI sometime earlier in 2012, McMahan’s estate sued for permanent disability benefits after his death.

At the initial hearing, the single commissioner ruled that McMahan had reached MMI before his death. As a result, the estate could get benefits and awarded permanent and total disability. However, SCDOE appealed, and the Full Commission Appellate Panel reversed. Consequently, the Court of Appeals heard the case.

Appeal Decision

After hearing the arguments, the Court of Appeals reversed again. More specifically, they found that McMahan did not have to be at MMI to receive benefits. Rather, even though McMahan died from unrelated causes, he can still make a claim. As a result, McMahan’s estate could receive the unpaid workers’ compensation benefits. Furthermore, the court found the only evidence presented was that he had reached MMI. Thus, the Appellate Panel committed legal error. So what does this decision show? That the only evidence presented was from the claimant. Looks like hard work and good lawyering made the difference here.

Moral of the Story

While most folks think workers comp is easy, it is not. Rather, serious injury cases are strongly defended. Furthermore, little facts and hard work can make a big difference in outcome. As a result, your workers compensation attorney must prepare every case for trial. Otherwise, you might get less benefits or even lose your case altogether. And one last point about this case. Serious injury cases can take years to finally end. Better make sure your workers comp lawyer is willing to go the distance and fight for you. After all, you are counting on them to do what is best for you and your family. If you hire us, we promise you our best efforts on your behalf. And that is a promise we keep.

Nurse Case Manager | SC Workers Compensation Attorneys

Nurse Case Manager | SC Workers Compensation Attorneys

While healing from a serious injury, the workers compensation insurance carrier may hire a nurse case manager to help. However, be aware that this person works for the insurance company.

Nurse Case Manager Role

Because most people think of nurses as being care givers, they think a nurse case manager is on their side. Certainly, most nurses are awesome caring individuals. And most clearly are just that. However, be aware that a nurse case manager works for the insurance company. Rather than take care of patients, they help coordinate treatment and procedures now. Although they are still there to help, their loyalty is to the company and not you. As a result, you must be careful about what you say to them. Furthermore, some NCM go beyond their role and try to direct medical care and treatment.

Private Medical Exam

Even though the workers comp insurance company is paying, you still have the right to private medical examinations. Consequently, you or your lawyer can demand the NCM stay outside during treatment. After the exam is over, the NCM can speak with the doctor. However, also keep in mind that whatever you say to the doctor and your medical records are not private. But you should be able to talk with the doctor outside the presence of the nurse case manager.

Improper NCM Actions

While helpful in coordinating care, some NCM will attempt to interfere with treatment. In fact, some will even try to tell doctors whether a procedure or test is really necessary. Also, they attempt to return a patient to light duty work too early. Because this is improper and outside of their role, we need to know about this behavior immediately. Rather the NCM should be replaced. If not, we will request a hearing before the SC Workers Compensation Commission. Since they are there to help, we want to work with them whenever we can. However, our main focus is always on you and getting you back on your feet.

Texting and Driving “Drivers Mode” | SC Personal Injury Attorneys

Texting and Driving “Drivers Mode” | SC Personal Injury Attorneys

While everyone knows about texting and driving, here’s something the phone makers could do.

Texting While Driving Dangers

Because we already know the dangers, this blog won’t remind you of the obvious. And it appears older adults are actually worse than teenagers this time. However, despite new laws and harsher penalties, people still keep texting and driving. Rather, no matter what, we just can’t seem to stop ourselves. So what else is there to do? While there are many ideas out there, here is one that actually would seem to work.

Technology Solutions and “Drivers Mode”

Currently, I own two vehicles. While I still love my 12 year old Lexus, it still has a cassette player. Certainly, it is “old school” but still rides like a dream. And if I have my key on me, it unlocks the doors as I approach. For years, I thought this was pretty fancy stuff. However, I recently bought a new Chevy truck which is pretty amazing. Now, once I plug in my phone, most things are by voice command. Furthermore, the truck resets most functions including BlueTooth and streaming music. So why not set my phone to “drivers mode” that would stop any texting while in motion? After all, technology already prevents other activities in the car. Finally, we may have a solution to stop ourselves.

In addition to serious personal injury claims, our firm also defends DUI charges. As part of that practice, we have learned the many physical and mental divided tasks needed to drive. Consequently, there are studies that show texting is actually more dangerous than driving impaired. While I initially questioned those findings, I now agree. Why? Because someone knows they are not safe, they at least try to focus on driving. However, people texting think they are fine and look away for “just a few seconds.” However, at highway speeds, they can go several hundred yards down the road without looking. And that’s when very bad things can happen. Consequently, lives are changed forever in an instant. Sadly, it’s too late then.

Proper Breathalyzer Testing | How Long to Blow | Criminal Defense DUI Attorney

Proper Breathalyzer Testing | How Long to Blow | Criminal Defense DUI Attorney

While breath testing is part of every DUI arrest, most don’t know what to expect. As a result, we explain proper breath testing guidelines.

Proper Breath Testing Procedure

Because a BAC level is important to the State, proper breath testing procedure is also important to us. While we question any BAC reading, not following manufacturer’s testing guidelines can suppress the result. Here in South Carolina, we use the DataMaster DMT machine manufactured by National Patent Analytical Systems, Inc. And like most breathalyzers, it is a box containing a computer motherboard and a printer. During testing, breath somehow turns into a number. Just how it becomes a number is something of a mystery that no one can fully explain. But here is what we do know.

In order to get a valid sample, the manufacturer’s manual directs a steady blow of air. In addition, the manual states to not “blow hard.” However, that guideline has changed as being “not helpful.” So what is the proper breath testing procedure now? Rather than guess, we still go with the slow, steady blow. After all, it’s just common sense that forcing additional air under pressure will change the outcome. Furthermore, we are already dealing with very small numbers (0.01). Therefore, any significant change in input could affect output. And that can create reasonable doubt as to the result.

BAC Reading or Video Evidence

Because we trust our own eyes and ears over any machine, we rely on video evidence. In addition, we see too many cases where the client’s behavior on video does not match a high BAC. Rather than just argue the machine, we also focus on how someone looks and sounds. Hence everyone knows how people act when “drunk” or “impaired.” So at trial, we create reasonable doubt when the BAC and video conduct are different. And that’s how juries decide guilt or innocence. Call now and let’s start your defense today. You’re going to feel better after we talk.

How much truck accident liability insurance should trucking companies be required to have?

How much truck accident liability insurance should trucking companies be required to have?

Commercial Truck Accident Liability Insurance | How Much is Needed for Injuries Caused

Whether you drive a car or a big rig, tractor trailer truck, you have to carry liability insurance. It’s the law. The only question is how much. Every state has minimum limits but can vary significantly. For example, here in South Carolina, the minimum amount required is $25,000 / $50,000. In North Carolina, by comparison, the minimum insurance necessary is $30,000 / $60,000. The first figure is how much coverage is available for any one injured party. The second number is how much coverage is available in total, no matter how many individuals are involved.

Semi trucks are heavily regulated by both federal and state laws. Currently, the minimum truck accident liability insurance required for a commercial truck is $750,000. There was a bill introduced by Representative Cartwright seeking to dramatically increase that coverage. If passed, the new minimum limit would be $4.4 million. That is quite an increase which Congressman Cartwright asserts is justified as the current level has not changed in over 34 years. It is expected that such proposal will be fiercely debated by trucking companies and the trucking industry at large. There are interesting arguments on both sides of this issue. Certainly, as tractor trailer accident attorneys, we see the immense harm that an overloaded truck in conjunction with an overly tired driver can cause. In many serious accident cases, there is insufficient insurance coverage available. However, on the other hand, such a dramatic increase in premiums will have the unintended effect of forcing many small trucking companies and/or independent owner/operators out of business altogether. More disturbingly, the fear is that maintenance and other costs will have to be offset to pay for any required increase in insurance. This potential outcome could make the roads even more dangerous with overloaded trucks with less maintenance. There is never an easy answer, but this issue clearly needs to be addressed and intelligently considered. We certainly place our hope and trust in our elected officials to make the best decisions for the right reasons.