In South Carolina, the law is designed to protect a person who is injured in a car or truck accident due to the negligence or fault of another. It is important to consult with an attorney to determine the type of losses that you may be able to compensated for following a collision. The purpose is to compensate a victim of property damage, injuries or losses and to put the non-fault party, as near as possible, in the same position that he or she was in before the accident occurred. The ability to recover “actual damages” is what the law permits. In other words, actual damages would be the actual losses and expenses which the plaintiff has suffered because of the at-fault driver’s negligence.
This guide explains the law in South Carolina related to the compensation you are entitled to receive following a collision. The amount of the compensation is tied to the nature, extent and severity of the injuries and damages incurred, and often times an award can be increased if the driver was drunk, impaired, or other circumstances existed other than simple negligence.
Here is a description of the general types of damages that are recoverable in South Carolina if you are a victim of a motor vehicle collision:
Damages Recoverable for Personal Injuries – Medical Bills, Lost Earnings, Pain and Suffering, Loss of Enjoyment of Life, and Mental Suffering
A person injured in a motor vehicle accident that was caused by the negligence of another person can recover actual damages and expenses incurred as a result of the bodily harm. The recovery is based on two types of compensation: (1) economic damages and (2) non-economic damages. Economic damages are things like medical bills, lost wages, loss employment opportunities and non-economic damages would be related to pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.
In determining the amount of compensation for the injuries or loss suffered as a result of a negligent driver, a determination of the amount of damages should include past, present, and future damages. Actual damages for a person who has been physically injured include: medical and healthcare charges related to the injury or expenses incurred for reasonable and necessary medical treatment; pharmacy charges and related expenses; pain and suffering; mental anguish; lost wages due to absence from work, which is the loss of time and income which resulted from the impairment of the ability to work and earn a livelihood, impairment of health or physical condition, the permanency of any injury, any permanent physical scarring; and any other losses which are reflected by the character of the injury.
The recovery of damages for a person who has been physically injured include pain and suffering — both past and future — as well as mental anguish, impairment of health or physical condition, and disfigurement. Pain and suffering compensates the injured person for physical discomfort and emotional response to the sensation of pain caused by the injury itself. There is no definite standard by which to compensate the plaintiff for pain and suffering.
Similar to pain and suffering, but separate, is recovery of loss of enjoyment of life. Loss of enjoyment of life damages are designed to compensate for limitations on the ability to participate in, and derive pleasure from, the normal activities of daily life. In determining the amount of compensation for personal injuries, it is proper to consider past and present aspects of the injury. This would include physical and mental pain and suffering, expenses incurred for necessary medical treatment, loss of time and income which resulted from the impairment of the ability to work and earn a livelihood, the loss of enjoyment of life suffered as a result of the injury, and any other losses which are reflected by the character of the injury.
Very closely associated with pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life is recovery for mental anguish. Mental anguish includes: mental suffering, apprehension, shock, fright, emotional upset, stress, humiliation and anxiety, and can be properly considered as an element of damages.
The amount of damages for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and mental suffering cannot be exactly measured and is often left to the judge or jury hearing the facts of the case.
The injured party may recover for those future damages that are reasonably sure to result from the injuries. The principle underlying compensation for future damages is that only one action can be brought and, therefore, only one recovery had. It is proper to include in the estimate of future damages compensation for loss of capacity for work or attention to the plaintiff’s ordinary business, future medical expenses, and pain and suffering which will, with reasonable certainty, result.
Vehicle Property Damage – Repair or Value of Vehicle
The amount of damages to a motor vehicle is the difference between the value of the vehicle immediately before it was struck and the value of the vehicle immediately after it was struck. If repairing the vehicle would put it in as good a condition as before the accident, then the measure of damages would be the cost of repair plus any amount by which the value of the vehicle was decreased due to its involvement in a collision. This is also called depreciation.
If the vehicle cannot be repaired, the measure of damages would be the value of the vehicle immediately before it was struck, minus any salvage value. This is referred to as “fair market value.”
Fair market value is not determined by how much you paid for the car or your emotional attachment to it. Fair market value is simply the amount of money a person would pay you to take ownership of the car. Unfortunately, the money that you can receive for a totaled vehicle is not what you may owe on the vehicle or what you think the value of the vehicle should be, but based on the market value of the vehicle of similar make, model, and condition.
Under South Carolina law, any vehicle that has a loss of 75% or more of the fair market value must be declared a total loss. Insurance companies can choose to declare a vehicle a total loss if it has sustained less than 75% of the fair market value or if the fair market value of the vehicle was less than $2000. Vehicles declared a total loss will be marked as “salvage” unless at least one of the following is true about the vehicle: (a) it is marked “non-rebuildable”; (b) it has been damaged less than 75% and has not sustained water or fire damage; (c) the value of the vehicle is less than $2,000; or (d) it has been titled as an antique vehicle.
Loss of Use of a Motor Vehicle
A victim of a motor vehicle collision also may be entitled to recover for the loss of the use of a vehicle during the time that the plaintiff was unable to use it. Actual damages for this purpose may be measured by determining what it would have cost the plaintiff to rent a similar vehicle while the plaintiff’s own vehicle was being repaired. In some situations, damages for loss of use of a vehicle may be awarded even if the plaintiff did not rent a car and even if the plaintiff borrowed a car. However, the plaintiff is required to make all reasonable efforts to minimize the damages, which is referred to as “mitigation of damages.”
Punitive damages are sometimes available to a victim of a motor vehicle collision. Punitive damages are only reserved for cases where the negligence driver was driving recklessly, under the influence, or operating with a conscious disregard for the safety of others. Often times a court can consider awarding punitive damage if an at-fault driver violates a specific safety statute found in the South Carolina Uniform Act Regulating Traffic on Highways, as contained in S.C. Code 1976, § 56-5-10 et seq., such as running a red light or disregard of traffic signs. As discussed below, punitive damages can be the hardest to prove so this remedy is not available in most everyday collisions.
Punitive damages are different from actual damages and are not the same as pain and suffering. Punitive damages are intended to punish at-fault for extraordinary and outrageous misconduct and to prevent the at-fault driver and others from committing similar acts in the future. Punitive damages can only be awarded when conduct of the at-fault driver has been something more than mere negligence. The evidence must establish the acts or omissions giving rise to the collision were grossly negligence, reckless, or willful and wanton, meaning there was a conscious failure to exercise due care or a conscious indifference to the rights and safety of others or a reckless disregard thereof.
To support an award of punitive damages, the court requires proof by clear and convincing evidence that the conduct complained of included a consciousness of wrongdoing at the time of the conduct. Clear and convincing is more than just a preponderance, or greater weight, of the evidence, which requires only proof which persuades you that a party’s claim is more likely true than not true. On the other hand, clear and convincing proof is not as high a standard as the burden of proof in criminal cases, which is proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Clear and convincing proof leaves no substantial doubt in your mind. It means that the evidence is not ambiguous, doubtful, equivocal or contradictory. Convincing means persuading by proof or argument, causing one to believe in the truth of what is asserted. Clear and convincing proof establishes in your mind, not only that the fact is probable, but that it is highly probable. An punitive damage award imposed should take into account (1) the defendant’s degree of culpability; (2) the duration of the conduct; (3) the defendant’s awareness or concealment; (4) the existence of similar past conduct; (5) the likelihood the award will deter the defendant or others from like conduct; (6) whether the award is reasonably related to the harm likely to result from such conduct; (7) the reprehensibility of the conduct, the harm caused, (8) the defendant’s awareness of the conduct’s wrongfulness, (9) and any concealment. Thus, any penalty imposed should bear a relationship to the nature and extent of the conduct and the harm caused, including the compensatory damage award. Secondly, any penalty imposed should take into account, as a mitigating factor, any other penalty that may have been imposed or which may be imposed for the conduct involved, including any criminal or civil penalty or any other punitive damages award arising out of the same conduct.
Without a doubt the best way to fully recover financially for injuries sustained by a drunk driver is to hire the best attorney you can find and not talk with the insurance company representative or adjuster without legal representation. Our firm has the experience and reputation in South Carolina of fighting against drunk and impaired drivers. Our firm works with M.A.D.D of South Carolina (Mothers’ Against Drunk Driving) to ensure that impaired drivers, and those that enable the intoxicated motorists, are punished financially for the injuries and harm that they cause to innocent victims of these crimes.
Injuries Caused by Drunk Drivers Require an Attorney Who Can Secure the Evidence Before it Gets Destroyed.
If you or a member of your family were involved in a motor vehicle collision caused by a drunk or impaired driver, it is important to contact an experienced and respected personal injury attorney without delay. A collision that is caused by drunk or intoxicated drivers can be much more complex, both factually and legally, than an ordinary automobile collision. It is important to not delay in hiring an experienced attorney to ensure that critical evidence is obtained and a thorough investigation is performed prior to important evidence being destroyed or not preserved. In certain cases involving intoxicated drivers, our firm will obtain a full accident reconstruction and hire experts (such as private toxicologists) to prove, as required by law, that there amount of alcohol or drugs consumed would resulted in appreciable impairment of the ability to safely drive. The evidence that needs to be obtained includes evidence related to the types and amount of alcohol or drugs consumed, surveillance videos, police body camera footage, patrol car footage, social media, credit card receipts, and cell phone data. You should never rely on the police or law enforcement to correctly gather this information. Further, it is important to hire an attorney to assist the police and the prosecutor’s office in providing correct victim impact evidence that may be used to prosecute the drunk driver in criminal court.
You May be Entitled to Punitive Damages against a Drunk Driver
Another reason you need a lawyer to help recover for injuries sustained by a drunk driver is the availability of punitive damages. Punitive damages are not the same as money for pain and suffering. Punitive damages are different than pain and suffering, and can result in a high settlement or judgment in your favor. If you have been hit by a drunk driver, the insurance company will most likely attempt an early settlement with you to avoid paying the full amount of damages you are owed, including punitive damages. One of the reasons the insurance adjuster will try to act early to settle a claim involving a drunk driver is because of punitive damages. The insurance adjuster does not want you to learn about your ability to obtain extra compensation in the form of punitive damages. Our firm has as track records of pursuing and winning settlements and judgments against the drunk driver and the insurance company for punitive damages.
Punitive damages are typically available for recovery against a drunk driver if your case is handled correctly. Punitive damages are reserved for cases in which the at-fault driver’s conduct was particularly reprehensible. A court may impose punitive damages when the at-fault driver is acting recklessly or driving while intoxicated which is considered a conscious disregard for the safety of others. There are many factors that are considered in determined the amount of punitive damages, which include:
- The severity of the injuries the victim sustained;
- The degree of reprehensibility of the action which caused the injury;
- The comparative negligence of the injured party (the extent to which the injured party contributed to the accident);
- The ability of the defendant to pay punitive damages.
In order to be awarded punitive damages, an injured party must be able to prove reckless, willful, or wanton conduct by clear and convincing evidence. In South Carolina, the General Assembly as placed limits on the amount of damage awards. If a jury finds that punitive damages are appropriate, it can award an amount up to three (3) times the amount awarded during the compensatory damages determination, or $500,000, whichever is greater. However, these limits or “caps” on punitive damages will be removed entirely if “the defendant acted or failed to act while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, other than lawfully prescribed drugs administered in accordance with a prescription, or any intentionally consumed glue, aerosol, or other toxic vapor to the degree that the defendant’s judgment is substantially impaired.” This “alcohol exception” to the punitive damages cap can result in a large award of punitive damages against a drunk driver.
Drunk Drivers Kill and Severely Injury Innocent People – The Statistics Are Alarming!
Drunk drivers inflict great harm on people in our society and the statistics are alarming. In 2018, there were 10,511 deaths alone from drunk-driving crashes, and 29% of all traffic fatalities were caused directly by drunk or impaired driving as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This is an average of 1 alcohol-impaired driving death every 50 minutes. Sadly, 231 of the deaths from drunk drivers were children ages 14 and under. The rate of alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2018 was 3.4 times higher at night than during the day.n 2018 among the 10,511 alcohol-impaired- driving fatalities, 67 percent (7,051) were in crashes in which at least one driver had a BAC of .15 g/dL or higher. Also, 87 percent of alcohol related driving deaths or injuries occurred on non-interstate roads compared to 13 percent on interstate roads, and 56 percent occurred in urban areas whereas 44 percent occurred in rural areas.
The estimated economic cost of all alcohol-impaired crashes (involving alcohol-impaired drivers or alcohol-impaired non-occupants) in the United States in 2010 (the most recent year for which cost data is available) was $44 billion. Included in the economic costs are: lost productivity, workplace losses, legal and court expenses, medical costs, emergency medical services, insurance administration, congestion, and property damage. These costs represent the tangible losses that result from motor vehicle traffic crashes. However, in cases of serious injury or death, such costs fail to capture the relatively intangible value of lost quality of life that results from these injuries. When quality of life valuations are considered, the total value of societal harm from motor vehicle traffic crashes in the United States in 2010 was an estimated $836 billion, of which $201.1 billion resulted from alcohol-impaired crashes.
Hire an Experienced South Carolina Attorney with the Reputation and Skill of Fighting Against Drunk Drivers
At the Goings Law Firm, we stand up for victims who were injured because of a drunk or impaired driver. Let us stand up and fight for you. Making drunk drivers pay are what we are known in South Carolina, so allow us to put our experience and reputation to work for you today. We have a 5 Star rating from our clients, and our firm has been considered one of the most recognized firms in South Carolina in the fields of personal injury and wrongful death as featured in Best Lawyer, Super Lawyers, Martindale-Hubbell, and many other publications that rate attorneys. Call or text us at (803) 350-9230 for a free, no-obligation consultation about your legal rights.
Have you been searching for the top workers’ compensation attorney in South Carolina? There is no list that ranks the “best” attorney for workers’ compensation, but we believe that finding the right attorney to represent you is critical to a successful outcome.
If you have been injured in a work related accident, it is important to hire an experienced workers compensation attorney that can help you get the medical treatment, out of work checks, and settlement for your physical impairment that you are entitled to receive under the law. On the job injuries can be financially devastating if you do not have a qualified attorney protecting your best interests before the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission.
There is no list that ranks the “best” attorney for workers’ compensation, but we believe that finding the right attorney to represent you is critical to a successful outcome. When you are searching for an attorney to represent you in your workers’ compensation claim, here are some tips for you to consider so that you choose the best attorney for your case:
1. HIRE AN ATTORNEY THAT FOCUSES ON REPRESENTING INJURED WORKERS IN WORKERS’ COMPENSATION.
The laws of Workers’ Compensation in South Carolina are unique and often require specialized skill and training to fully understand. We believe it is important to hire a workers’ compensation firm that focuses its practice on representing injured workers. Many lawyers handle a variety of matters, such as real estate, divorce, wills, or traffic court, but the lawyer that you should hire for a workers’ compensation matter should make representing injured workers a top priority. The lawyers at the Goings Law Firm all are trained in workers’ compensation and have considerable experience appearing before the Workers’ Compensation Commission, which makes this firm a great pick for your work accident injury.
2. READ ONLINE REVIEWS BEFORE YOU HIRE A WORKER’S COMPENSATION ATTORNEY.
- Have you taken the time to read reviews of attorneys who handle worker’s compensation claim? We find that online reviews from former clients can be very helpful in picking the best workers’ compensation attorney for your case. You can find reviews on website such as Google, Lawyers.com, and Avvo.com, and we would recommend choosing an attorney with strong recommendations and reviews of former clients. When you read the reviews, understand that not every person can be pleased despite how hard you work or how great the result may be for their case. If you are interested in reading the 5 star and 10/10 reviews about the Goings Law Firm, check out these links: Lawyers.com Reviews, SuperLawyers Reviews, Avvo.com Reviews. The Goings Law Firm is also featured on Expertise.com as a highly ranked injury firm in South Carolina, as shown here.
3. ONE-ON-ONE ATTENTION IS IMPORTANT.
- One-on-one attention to you and your case should be a necessary factor in deciding to hire an attorney. Ask yourself, do you want to retain an attorney that accepts a “high volume” of injury claims, or do you want an attorney who will get to know you personally and doesn’t treat you as just another number? We believe that smaller caseloads make for better attorney client relationship, which often fosters a better outcome for your particular case. At the Goings Law Firm, we provide one-on-one attention to each client.
4. MAKE SURE THE WORKERS’ COMPENSATION ATTORNEY TAKES YOUR CASE ON A CONTINGENCY FEE BASIS.
- How you pay your attorney for an injury on the job is important. The best way for an injured worker to pay for an attorney is through a contingency fee basis. This allows you to hire an attorney without ever paying a penny out of pocket. The attorneys would only be compensated if they obtain financial compensation in your favor, so in essence, the attorney’s fees are only “contingent” on your attorney obtaining a monetary result for you. A contingency fee arrangement allows an injured worker to hire an attorney without costing anything on the front end and the attorney bears the risk, not you. Importantly, contingency fee incentives your attorney to get you the most money possible, because the attorneys’ fees are tied to a percentage of the overall settlement or recovery. Additionally, your attorney should advance all associated legal costs so that you do not incur any upfront charges or bills during the course of your representation. At the Goings Law Firm, we only handle workers’ compensation claims under at contingency basis and our attorney’s fees and costs are always approved by the Workers’ Compensation Commission so you know that you are being treated fairly and not being overcharged.
5. DOES THE WORKERS’ COMPENSATION ATTORNEY HAVE A TRACK RECORD FOR SUCCESS?
- Another consideration in choosing a worker’s compensation is whether law firm has a proven track record for success in court. Often times attorneys have no desire or interest in going to court, and instead take the easy route through opting for a settlement that is less than the value of the case. We refuse to take the “low-ball quick check” approach to helping injured workers. When the insurance company refuses to give proper medical treatment or pay you what your case is worth, we take them to court. If workers’ compensation insurance carrier knows you are willing to take your case to trial, this allows you to resolve the case more fairly and with higher compensation. The Goings Law Firm has a proven track record of winning cases for injured workers before the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission, and we look forward to the opportunity to win your case if you are faced with a serious on the job injury.
6. HIRE A WORKERS’ COMPENSATION ATTORNEY THAT OTHER ATTORNEYS TRUST.
- We recommend hiring a workers’ compensation attorney that other attorneys trust for serious injuries that occur on the job. Asking a lawyer who they would recommend is often a good way to find an experienced attorney. Many of the workers’ compensation clients of this firm are based on recommendations from other attorneys. The Goings Law Firm is a firm that other attorneys routinely trust and hire in representing their clients before the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission.
Robert F. Goings – Top Voted Personal Injury Attorney
When other attorneys believe you are at the Top, it means something! Robert F. Goings was named in the Midlands of South Carolina as the Top Voted attorney in the field of Personal Injury in the 2019 Columbia Business Monthly’s Legal Elite of the Midlands. He was voted to this distinction by other attorneys in the Columbia and Midlands area of South Carolina. It is a great honor to be considered by other attorneys as the Top Voted Personal Injury attorney, and we believe this distinction reflects our firms strong reputation for honesty, hard-work, and dedication to our clients. Robert Goings’ reputation in the legal community as a champion for those who have suffered significant injury or a wrongful death is also reflected in being named to Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers in South Carolina by the U.S. News and World Reports. Being a highly rated and well respected law firm in the field of personal injury, wrongful death, and workers compensation takes many years of excellent results for clients. From serious motor vehicle collision caused by drunk drivers to medical malpractice and nursing home neglect, Robert Goings and his team of attorneys are highly rated by other attorneys in the legal profession. To learn more about the 2019 Columbia Business Monthly’s Legal Elite of the Midlands article can be viewed by clicking here.
5 Tips in Hiring the Best Lawyer for Your Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, or Workers’ Compensation Case
We believe that hiring an attorney for your personal injury case is a very important decision. Hiring the right attorney is critical. If you are looking to hire a personal injury attorney, here are some tips for you to consider so that you choose the best attorney for your case:
1. Be Cautious Choosing your Attorney based on a Billboard or a TV Commercial.
- Be careful if you are choosing an attorney solely based on an advertisement. Many times, law firms or attorneys will plaster their names all over billboards around town or run tasteless or cheesy television commercials. Hiring an attorney should not be based on a silly commercial, gimmicky telephone numbers, or promises for a quick check. Don’t be fooled! Ask yourself, do you want an attorney that is spending time their marketing to new clients on TV with cartoon-like characters and big numbers to call, or do you want a serious lawyer that is working hard for clients in and outside of the courtroom? It is hard to be a fighter in the courtroom if your attorney is too busy filming TV commercials or picking out the next billboard to print. We have found that often times the best attorneys don’t need to advertise. And if they do advertise, the advertisement should reflect high achievements and strong ethical commitments to the representation of injured people. We recommend that you hire an attorney who will treat your case as a serious matter and provide you with the best legal representation possible. The Goings Law Firm strives to set itself apart from silly commercial, gimmicky telephone numbers, or promises for a quick check. Instead, we provide sincere, honest and aggressive representation to people and families faced with serious injury and death.
2. Read Online Reviews Before you Hire an Attorney.
- Online reviews from former clients can be very helpful in choosing the best lawyer for your case. When a former client takes the time to leave a review, it helps people searching for an attorney know what law firm would be best suited for their case based on personality, success, and traits that are important to you. You can find reviews on website such as Google, Lawyers.com, and Avvo.com, and we would recommend choosing an attorney with strong recommendations and reviews of former clients. At the same time, we all know that not everybody can be made happy despite how hard you work or how great the result may be for their case. If you are interested in reading the 5 star and 10/10 reviews about the Goings Law Firm and Robert Goings, check out these links: Google Reviews, Lawyers.com Reviews, SuperLawyers Reviews, Avvo.com Reviews. The Goings Law Firm is also featured on Expertise.com as a highly rated and reviewed personal injury firm in Columbia, South Carolina, as shown here.
3. Consider if you want a “High Volume” Law Firm or an Attorney that You Will Give you One-on-One Attention.
- When you are searching for an attorney, it is important to consider if you want a law firm that accepts a “high volume” of cases or claims or if you want a smaller firm that only accepts a select number of clients. Also, do you want your case or file to be a number or would you rather be represented by an attorney who knows you personally and doesn’t treat you as just another number? Because legal matters can often times be complex and time consuming, we have found that we provide the best representation to our clients when our caseload is smaller and more manageable. When a law firm is does not accept a large number of cases, it it naturally easier to develop a relationship with your attorney and for that lawyer to provide one-on-one attention to each client. At the Goings Law Firm, we strive to provide one-on-one attention to each client. You will not be a just a number at our firm. If you want a “high volume” firm, we would not be right fit for you. We don’t operate with a “settlement mill” or “ambulance chaser” mindset, but with the focus on treating you in the same manner we would expect to be treated.
4. Is The Attorney a Real Trial Attorney with Results in Court?
- Another consideration in choosing a personal injury or wrongful death attorney is whether the attorney has a strong track record in going to court. It is important to know if your personal injury attorney has the trial experience to represent you in court. Often times attorneys have no desire or interest in trying cases even though they label themselves as “trial attorneys.” The Goings Law Firm is truly a team of trial attorney who are not scared to go to court! We refuse to take the “low-ball quick check” approach to representing victims. We go to court when necessary. We have found that if the insurance company knows your attorney is willing to take your case to trial before a judge or a jury, then the defendant or insurance company is more likely willing to resolve the case more fairly and with higher compensation. On the other hand, if the defendant or insurance company knows that the attorney has a reputation of never taking the case to trial, then the the defendant or insurance company has no real incentive to fairly compensate you. The Goings Law Firm has made its reputation in the courtroom with verdict after verdict in favor of our clients.
5. Hire an Attorney that Other Attorneys Would Hire.
- Lawyers in the community typically know which lawyers are the best to hire. Asking a lawyer who they would recommend is often a good way to find a lawyer for your case. The Goings Law Firm represents many clients on the recommendation of other attorneys. In fact, attorneys often times refer clients to the Goings Law Firm in situations where a lawsuit is required to be brought in order to get fair compensation. The Goings Law Firm is a firm that other attorneys hire to assist in representing their clients in complex litigation matter involving personal injury, wrongful death, and on the job workers compensation injuries. In fact, Robert F. Goings was named in the Midlands of South Carolina as the Top Voted attorney in the field of Personal Injury in the 2019 Columbia Business Monthly’s Legal Elite of the Midlands. His honor was based on receiving the top number of votes by other attorneys in the Columbia and Midlands area of South Carolina. We believe that you should hire an attorney that other attorney would hire!
Just 3 weeks ago the economy was booming and Americans were working more than ever. Now with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, everyone’s security in the workplace is being jeopardized. We have received inquiries from individuals who were hurt on the job prior to the pandemic but for whatever reason they delayed in giving notice of their injury. Maybe they were hoping the injury would get better on its own or maybe they were so busy with work they could not take the time off to treat. Unfortunately, we even hear of individuals that have not reported their accident because they were intimidated, they would be fired for reporting a workers’ compensation claim. Whatever the reason, injured workers find themselves in the predicament of needing to report the injury but now being temporarily laid-off due to COVID-19. The good news is you may be able to still report your accident, even if your company is shutting down for the coronavirus.
One of the essential elements of having a workers’ compensation claim in South Carolina is providing proper notice to your employer of the accident and injury. South Carolina Code Ann. § 42-15-20 provides that an employee has up to 90 days to report an injury. If you recently got hurt while working do not hesitate to report your accident. Your 90-day window runs from the date of the accident. Even if you are not at work currently you can still report your accident through virtual measures. We recommend emailing or texting your supervisor, human resource representative (HR) or owner of the company immediately. Your message or email should contain a few basic elements: date of injury, brief description, list ever body part injured and request medical treatment. Although you can still call in and speak to someone, we discourage using this reporting method by itself as employers and workers’ compensation insurance carriers often deny receiving verbal notice over the phone.
Although COVID-19 may be impacting your life and income immediately, don’t let it impact your ability to seek medical benefits and recovery for your work injuries. Let us help you answer these questions and any other questions you may have with your work injuries. Call us today at (803) 350-9230 to find out if we can help
If you are considering hiring a lawyer to represent you for an injury that occurred in the course and scope of your job, you will need to determine who is the best workers’ compensation lawyer for you. Hiring the best attorney is important. We caution people from choosing a lawyer based on silly advertisements, paid actors on commercials, or representations that appear too good to be true. You will not find any gimmicks with our firm! When injuries on the job, you need a serious lawyer that devotes time meeting with clients and representing them in court. Experience matters in hiring a workers’ compensation attorney in South Carolina. Here are some tips on hiring a workers’ compensation attorney based on frequently asked questions:
1. Should I hire a workers’ compensation attorney?
- If you have been injured on the job, the first questions to ask yourself is “Do I need to hire an attorney?” An attorney is not required for all workers’ compensation claims. In fact, many job injuries do not require the need for an attorney if injury is not severe or your work is not limited. However, we strongly recommend that you consult with an attorney if you fall within any of these categories:
- The workers’ compensation carrier has delayed or been been slow in providing medical care.
- The worker’s compensation carrier has denied your claim.
- If your injury requires surgery.
- If your injury requires you to be out of work for over 14 days.
- If your injury requires hospitalization.
- If you have not received a workers’ compensation check for being out of work.
- If any of these situations apply to you, then we strongly recommend contacting our office today to see if we can represent you in your workers’ compensation claim.
2. Will the Insurance Company hire an attorney?
- Yes, the insurance company will have a team of attorneys to represent the interests of the insurance company and the employer regardless of you hiring an attorney. If the insurance company and the employer always has attorneys representing them, shouldn’t you have an attorney to represent you? It’s can be dangerous to represent yourself in a workers’ compensation claim. Don’t let the insurance company take advantage of you if your injury falls within any of the categories above.
3. Who should I hire to represent me in my workers’ compensation claim?
- It is important to hire the best attorney to represent injured workers in workers’ compensation claims. We believe the best representation that you can receive is to hire an attorney who only practices in the field of workers’ compensation. Not every attorney in South Carolina handles workers’ compensation claims. The workers’ compensation system is unique in South Carolina. The South Carolina worker’s compensation laws consist of thousands of pages of statutory laws and regulations, and case law from the South Carolina Court of Appeals and South Carolina Supreme Court. It is important to hire an attorney with a sole and singular focus in representing injury workers before the Workers’ Compensation Commission. The workers’ compensation team at the Goings Law Firm has the sole mission of only representing injured workers.
4. Look at Testimonials or Reviews when Hiring your Attorney.
- We believe that online testimonials and reviews are a great place to start when choosing a lawyers for your workers’ compensation claim. Testimonials and reviews allow you to hear from past clients who have dealt with the law office to determine if you are the right fit for that firm. We would recommend that you look at sites, like Facebook, Google, Avvo, Super Lawyers, Expertise, and Lawyers.com. You will find that the Goings Law Firm has received great reviewed from former clients!
5. Why Hire the Goings Law Firm as your Workers’ Compensation Attorney?
- When you hire the Goings Law Firm, you are getting a team of dedicated workers’ compensation professionals to represent you. We believe experience matters. The more experience your attorney has, the more likely they have seen similar cases in the past and know the best ways to prove your claim. Robert Goings founded the workers’ compensation practice. Year after year, Robert Goings receives honors for his commitment to fighting for the right of the injury. In 2019, Robert was recognized as Legal Elite under Personal Injury Law for the Columbia/Midlands Business Monthly publication. He received the most votes for Personal Injury Law and was nominated by his peers in Columbia as the Top Personal Injury Lawyer in the Midlands.
- The workers’ compensation team is lead by Christian Boesl. Christian has devoted his career to workers’ compensation in South Carolina. He is listed as a Super Lawyer and in the Best Lawyers in America in the field of Workers’ Compensation. Before joining the Goings Law Firm, Christian lead the workers’ compensation team at one of the state’s most respected insurance workers’ compensation defense firms for nearly 15 years. In defending workers’ compensation claims, he knows how the “other side” works in order to best represent you before the Workers’ Compensation Commission. His experience in defending workers’ compensation claims has proven invaluable in helping injured workers get the benefits and compensation that they deserve under the law. Many clients and opposing counsel refer to Christian’s efforts as “relentless”, “hard-charging”, and “aggressively confident.” We believe Christian is the go-to attorney for Workers’ Compensation based on his proven results both in and outside of the courtroom. Additionally, the paralegals that work at the Goings Law Firm on the workers’ compensation team only focus on workers’ compensation claims. These paralegals have a combined more than 20 years experience for on the job injuries to ensure that your case is properly handled and that your questions are timely answered. Just check out the reviews online about our workers’ compensation practice.
6. How much does the Goings Law Firm charge to represent me?
- For on the job injuries and workers’ compensation claims, the Goings Law Firm only represents clients on a no-obligation contingency fee basis. This means that we only get paid if you receive compensation. If you lose, then you owe nothing to our office. Our fee is a percentage of the recovery based on the amount permitted by the statutory laws and regulations for workers’ compensation claims in South Carolina. Our fees are fair, and reasonable, and are always approved by the Workers’ Compensation commission. Due to the complex nature of workers’ compensation laws, we believe that clients have a better chance in getting a better resolution with the aid of an experienced lawyer instead of representing yourself in court. There is a lot of value in hiring a firm like the Goings Law Firm.
7. How do I get in touch with the Goings Law Firm for my on the job injury?
- Contacting the Goings Law Firm is easy! Simply call or text us today to see if we can help you get the benefits and compensation that you deserve for your on the job injury.
As you enjoy the last day of 2019, make sure you’re being safe this is one of the most dangerous holidays of the year in South Carolina and throughout the nation. In fact, South Carolina ranks as the third most dangerous state based on highest crash rates based on the number of licensed drivers.
According to nationwide statistics from AAA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the odds of getting in a car accident on New Year’s Eve skyrockets because there are more drunk drivers on the road. New Year’s driving statistics from SafeAuto.com show that between 2008 and 2012, January 1st had the highest percentage of alcohol related deaths when compared to other days and holidays. During the holidays, more drivers are alcohol impaired because so many people are going to holiday parties, and drinking alcohol in excessive amounts.
Here are some statistics to keep this New Year’s Eve:
- The five states with the highest crash rates (most dangerous states) were: (1) Mississippi; (2) Oklahoma; (3) South Carolina; (4) Wyoming; (5) Texas
- During the Christmas and New Year’s period last year, there were 285 drunk driving-related traffic deaths in the United States.
- January 1st is the day of the year with the highest percent of deaths related to alcohol from 2008-12.
- Across the country, 36 people, on average, were killed every day in crashes involving alcohol between 2001 and 2005.
- DUI arrests peak between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.
- Between Christmas and New Year’s, 40 percent of deadly crashes involve drunk drivers.
- More pedestrians are killed on New Year’s Day than any other day of the year.
- The hours between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. are the most dangerous during the New Year’s holiday.
Five Years of Fatal Crashes on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day in South Carolina
The reported crash rates in South Carolina for the last 5 years on New Years Eve and New Year’s Day is 1.25 crashes per 100,000 licensed drivers. The statistics are as follows:
- 50 Motor Vehicle Collisions in South Carolina that involve fatalities.
- 19 Motor Vehicle Collisions in South Carolina that involve fatalities caused by drunk drivers.
Have you been injured due to a Drunk Driver on New Year’s Day?
If you or a member of your family has been injured as a result of the reckless or drunk driving of someone on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, please contact the personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at the Goings Law Firm today to learn about your rights to financial compensation. We have the experience to fight against drunk drivers to ensure that you receive full and fair compensation. We vigorously pursue legal action against the impaired drivers, and the bars, restaurants, and party hosts that over serve them. Call or text us today at (803) 350-9230 for a free, no obligation consultation.
DISCLAIMER: We are not “BILLBOARD LAWYERS” or “TV LAWYERS”. We are real lawyers that go to court to fight for truth and justice!
Summertime is here, and with it, one of our favorite things: vacation!
Our entire team loves to go on vacation with our families each summer. Some of our favorite destinations include flying up to New York City or taking a trip down to the low country for a week of relaxation at the beach. Where do you and your family enjoy vacationing over the summer?
If you’re hitting the road to travel down to the coast for a week at the beach or to road trip to visit the grandparents, you’ll want to take extra care on the roadways. Millions of Americans gas up and travel by car throughout the summer months from Memorial Day weekend all the way through Labor Day. Traffic is heavier and patience is thinner as people hurry to get to their vacation destination.
In South Carolina alone this year, 438 people have died on South Carolina roadways.
How can you make sure that you and your family stay safe on the roads as you travel to your vacation destinations this summer?
According to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, of the 438 people who have died in 2019, 292 had access to seatbelts and 143 of them were not wearing them. It’s the easiest step towards keeping your family safe: buckle up!
Plan ahead for long drives and have stops mapped out along the way for you to stretch, wake up, and refuel for the next portion of your drive. You don’t want to drive while drowsy!
Help keep everyone safe on the road this summer, and be sure to look twice for motorcycles. Be alert and be sure to share the road with all motorists including motorcyclists and bicyclists.
Here’s to a safe, fun-filled summer full of wonderful vacations with your friends and family!