A First Anniversary Celebration

August is a month to celebrate anniversaries in our office! Earlier this month, our attorney Jessica L. O’Neill Gooding celebrated her two year anniversary with us and now, our attorney Christian E. Boesl celebrates one year of working on our team at Goings Law Firm.
 

 
How did Christian end up working at our firm?
 
“Robert begged me! Robert and I have practiced together previously at another firm, and we enjoy trying cases together,” Christian said.
 
Christian is the head of our Workers’ Compensation team, which is comprised of him, Mallory, and Catherine. He has a strong workers’ compensation background, with nearly fifteen years of experience. In addition, he holds a Board of Arbitrator and Mediator Certification, approved Circuit Court Mediator for workers’ compensation.
 
Outside of work, Christian loves to spend time with his family—his wife, Emily, and their four children—and they help keep him active in our local community.
 
“Having four children keeps me pretty involved in the community from Booster Club activities to volunteering at food banks,” Christian said. He also spent time volunteering during the days and months after the 1,000 year flood that hit our city and state hard in October 2015.
 
Originally from Buffalo, New York, Christian became a South Carolinian after marrying Emily, a local of Columbia and it quickly became home for him due in part to the close-knit legal community
 
“My favorite thing about practicing in Columbia would be how cordial the Bar is and how closely connected you are to almost everyone in town,” Christian said. “It’s really almost a hometown feeling.”
 
Here in our office, we love having Christian as a part of our team.
 
“When I started my legal career, I worked at a law firm and Christian was my supervisor,” Robert Goings said. “I got to know him as an attorney and he became one of my closest friends. What I love is his honesty, his work ethic, and his passion for helping others. What has always set him apart from other people is his desire to help others. He’s a very strong advocate for his client—he believes in his clients. He never gives up. He has a zealous advocacy for people of need.”
 
Congratulations on your 1st anniversary, Christian! We hope to celebrate many more work anniversaries with you!


Do I Need to Hire a Workers’ Compensation Attorney?

If you’ve suffered a work-related injury or illness, you may be wondering whether to hire a workers’ compensation attorney. The answer depends on the severity of your injury, the overall complexity of your case, and the actions of your employer or its insurance company.  In South Carolina, the workers’ compensation system was designed to provide prompt and fair compensation to injured workers. But often times these days, the big workers compensation insurance companies have a long history of  denying claims or neglecting the injured, all to protect the profits of their insurance company.  The workers’ compensation system seems to work mostly for the benefit of employers and insurers if you are unrepresented.  You need to understand that insurance companies have teams of highly trained lawyers on their side, even when you are without representation.  If the insurance company is going to have a team of lawyers, shouldn’t you too?

As a general rule, you may be able to get by without an attorney if all of the following statements are true:

  • You suffered a minor workplace injury, such as a twisted ankle or a cut requiring a few stitches.
  • Your employer admits that the injury happened at work.
  • You missed little or no work due to your injury.
  • You don’t have a pre-existing condition that affects the same part of your body as the recent workplace injury (such as an old back injury from a car accident that was there before you slipped and hurt your back on the job).

Even in these uncomplicated and straightfoward claim, we would recommend that you contact our firm for a free consultation to make sure you are not missing something important.  An attorney at the Goings Law Firm can walk you through the process, alert you to potential pitfalls, and give you an honest appraisal of whether you can handle the case on your own, or if hiring the Goings Law Firm would be in your best interest.

When and Why– Hiring a Workers Compensation Attorney

The moment any complexity arises in your case is the moment you should hire an attorney. Here are some examples of situations that call for a lawyer’s intervention:

  • If you have had any hospitalization or surgery.  If you have undergone surgery or a hospitalization for your work related injury, most of the time an attorney needs to help you on your claim.  This is true 9.9 times out of 10!
  • Your Employer denies your claim or doesn’t pay your benefits promptly. Employers and workers’ comp insurance companies routinely reject true workers’ comp claims, with the hope that many workers will fail to file the appropriate paperwork with the South Carolina workers’ compensation commission or go through the hassle of making a contested claim.  The good thing is that hiring our firm to represent you costs nothing up front, and it gives you the best chance to receive a fair settlement or award for your injuries.
  • Your employer’s settlement offer doesn’t cover all your missed time from work or medical bills. If you’re not sure a settlement offer is good enough, don’t rely on the attorney for the workers’ compensation carrier or the adjuster to make sure that you’re getting a fair deal.  Anytime your settlement offer doesn’t cover all your missed time from work or medical bills, you need to consult with an experienced workers compensation attorney immediately.
  • Your injuries or medical condition prevent you from returning to your prior job, limit your work abilities, or keep you from performing any work at all. If you’ve suffered any degree of permanent disability—partial or total—you may be entitled to weekly payments (or a single lump sum) to indemnify you for your injuries or for your loss wages. These cases can be very expensive for insurance companies, and they’ll often stop at nothing to avoid paying you what you deserve. A knowledgeable workers’ comp attorney at the Goings Law Firm has experience to get you the compensation you desire if your case involves permanent injuries or illness.
  • Your Employer retaliates against you for filing a workers’ comp claim. If your employer has fired you, demoted you, slashed your hours, reduced your pay, or engaged in any other form of discrimination because you filed a workers’ comp claim, contact a workers’ comp attorney immediately to protect your legal rights.  In addition to a workers’ compensation claim, your employer may be civilly liable for workers’ compensation retaliation.
  • You were injured because of a third party’s actions. The workers’ comp system was designed to prevent civil lawsuits for work-related injuries. However, you are permitted to in civil court in certain situations, including when someone other than your employer contributed to your injury (such as reckless driver who hit you in your work vehicle or due to fall caused by a negligent landowner).  If your on the job injuries were caused by a person or entity other than your employer, you may be able to obtain additional recovery in a third-party civil action.  The Goings Law Firm always tries to go after any negligent third-party for additional compensation for any work related injury.

What Will Your Workers Compensation Attorney Do?

In addition to making sure you file all the necessary forms and meet the deadlines, an experienced attorney will know how to gather the evidence needed to support your case, negotiate effectively with the insurance company, and write a settlement agreement to avoid unanticipated consequences. If you can’t agree on a good settlement, an attorney can prepare for and represent you at the hearing or trial.

Don’t wait, contact us today for a free, no obligation consultation to better understand your legal rights for your on the job workers’ compensation injury.  The number is 803-350-9230, and ask to speak to one of our professionals!

 

 


Do you Need a Lawyer to Represent You in Your Workers’ Compensation Claim?

We strongly recommend that you consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to determine if you need help from a lawyer.  Not every claim requires an attorney, and we don’t think that everyone should automatically hire an attorney.  However, in our experience, you will likely need a workers’ compensation attorney if you have an injury that may keep you out of work, or an injury that should require medical treatment such as a surgery or hospitalization.  Many times hiring an attorney is the only way to ensure that the workers’ compensation carrier is treating you fairly.  It is our experience that workers’ compensation insurance company will do anything possible to deny benefits that you are entitled to recieve under the laws of the State of South Carolina.

If you become injured as the result of a job accident, you are entitled to compensation for all related medical expenses and other out-of-pocket expenses that you incur as a result of your work related injury. Fault is irrelevant when it comes to your entitlement to workers’ compensation benefits.  In many cases, you are also entitled to compensation for your reduced earning capacity resulting from your accident-related injuries. This includes any time that you are unable to work while you attempt to regain your overall health to the condition it was prior to your work related accident.  If you have a degree of permanent injury, you are entitled to an award of disability to compensate you for your injuries.

People injured on the job are often naturally and reasonably concerned that they may face some retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim after suffering a work related injury. Fortunately, your employer cannot legally retaliate against you or terminate you for filing a workers’ compensation claim. Further, it is not only in your own best interest and that of your family, but also in the best interest of your employer that you report your injury receive the appropriate treatment to restore you to your full potential. This will not only restore you to a capacity where you are better able to undergo the physical requirements of your particular job in order to provide for your family, but it will also enable you to be a better and more productive and valuable employee at your workplace.

If you need help with your workers’ compensation claim, or you don’t know where to turn after an injury on the job, please contact us today for a free no obligation consultation.  Our number is 803-350-9230, and ask to speak to the Workers Compensation Team lead by Christian Boesl.  We are Real Lawyers – no cheesy TV ads, no sales pitches or gimmicks!  We get Real Results for the clients that we help everyday!   Call us today for a free consulation!

 


A Two Year Anniversary Celebration

This month, our attorney Jessica L. O’Neill Gooding celebrates her two year anniversary with Goings Law Firm. We absolutely love having her on our team! She’s a dedicated attorney who works incredibly hard for and is dedicated to each one of her clients.

 

 

“My favorite thing about working here is just working with the clients,” Jess said. “I grew up wanting to be a teacher. I actually had a couple of my favorite teachers talk me out of that but, this type of practice allows me to educate clients and take them through the legal process. I really enjoy that type of interaction with clients. Also, Robert is really hilarious to work with!”

 

She also loves the history found in the walls of the historical home that houses our firm in downtown Columbia.

 

“My favorite part of our office is the bullet in the chimney,” Jess said. “Downstairs in the conference room, in the brick chimney above the fireplace behind the finished walls, there are bullets from the Civil War. This house is one of two that was built for a pair of sisters—they’re twin homes with almost the exactly same layout. A confederate general built them for his two daughters. When Sherman was burning the south and raiding all of the homes, they came into this house. There was a portrait of the young woman’s father—the Confederate general—over the mantel of the fireplace. When the Union troops saw it, they shot through the portrait and the lead bullets lodged themselves in the brick of the chimney.”

 

Jess stays active our local legal community, and is a member of the South Carolina Bar’s Young Lawyer Division, South Carolina Women Lawyer’s Association, the South Carolina Young Lawyers Division, the Richland County Bar Association, and the American Bar Association.

 

“In Columbia, it’s really easy to get involved with the Bar Association,” Jess said. “There are always a lot of events going on, the Annual South Carolina Judicial Conference is here in town, and it’s a great hub for the legal community with the government and the non-profits that are located here. It’s cool to be a part of that and to stay involved with it.”

 

Congratulations on your 2nd anniversary, Jess! We hope to celebrate many more work anniversaries with you!

 


Supporting the USC School of Law

Meet Chris Pascal, who has been working with Goings Law Firm this summer and will continue with us into the fall as he begins his 2L year at the University of South Carolina School of Law.

 

Chris attended undergraduate at Wofford University and he graduated  in May 2017. When he arrived at Wofford as a freshman in 2014, he decided to get involved in Wofford’s Student Government and was elected as a Freshman Delegate. Chis went on to lead the Student Government as Student Body President during his time at Wofford (just like Robert Goings did!)

 

When Chris began his classes at the University of South Carolina School of Law, he didn’t immediately jump into student government. However, at the encouragement of his friends, he decided to run for a Student Body Association position and was elected to the SBA as the Class Representative for the Class of 2020. He will begin his term this fall when he begins his 2L year.

 

“I’m really happy to be working for Robert and for Goings Law Firm,” Chris said. “It’s been a great experience, and I’m blessed to have it. I love seeing what it takes to be a successful attorney. You have to be hardworking and client driven. Goings Law Firm has taught me that you can be both principled and family oriented. Yes, it can be hard work and a lot of hours, but at the end of the day you still want to have your principles, your morals, and your beliefs.”

 

Like Chris, both Robert Goings and Jess Gooding, attended the USC School of Law. Because of our firm’s close ties with the University and because of our proximity to campus, we believe in being actively involved at the USC School of Law and try to do as many things with the school as we can. We are firmly invested in the futures of the law students there and want to do what we can to help further their education and their experience.

 

 

“Everyone here is very involved,” Chris said. “They have spoken to our entire graduating class, they help put on the Alumni and Student BBQ every June, and they participate in the On Campus Interviews each year. Goings Law Firm shows that even small firms can have a big presence on campus.”

 

As the summer begins to wind down and students begin making their way back to campus, we want to wish everyone at the USC School of Law a good school year. We look forward to seeing the new class and the returning students around campus!

Our thoughts and prayers are with Rep. Katie Arrington – fatal collision in Charleston

Our thoughts and prayers are with Rep. Katie Arrington, and the family of the deceased driver in a fatal collision that occurred in Charleston County on Friday night, June 22, 2018

Katie Arrington, a representative in the State House for the Lowcountry and a U.S. congressional candidate, was seriously injured in a fatal car wreck Friday night.   The driver of the vehicle that collided with Arrington’s car was killed on the scene, according to Mount Pleasant’s WCBD.  Reportedly, the collision occurred when the driver that was killed was driving on the wrong side of the road, striking Arrington.

Arrington won the Republican primary for the House of Representative (1st District) seat, defeating incumbent Mark Sanford.  She was traveling with a friend on U.S. Highway 17 when a driver traveling in the wrong lane collided with the vehicle Arrington was in.

Arrington “sustained a fracture in her back and several broken ribs, as well as injuries that required Katie to undergo major surgery including the removal of a portion of her small intestine and a portion of her colon,” according to a statement released Saturday morning via her Twitter account. She is expected to remain in the hospital for at least two weeks, according to the statement, which read:

“Last night, Katie Arrington and her friend were traveling to Hilton Head, where Katie was scheduled to receive an award from a state medical organization this morning. Katie was the passenger in the car traveling southbound on Highway 17, when a vehicle traveling in the wrong direction — northbound in the southbound lanes of Highway 17 — struck the vehicle containing Katie and her friend. Katie sustained a fracture in her back and several broken ribs, as well as injuries that required Katie to undergo major surgery including the removal of a portion of her small intestine and a portion of her colon. Additionally, the main artery in her legs has a partial collapse and will require a (stent). Additional surgeries will be required including one likely today; and it is likely that Katie will remain hospitalized for the next two weeks.  As we all know, Katie Arrington is an extremely strong woman and has tremendous faith and an incredibly supportive family. And it is from her strong faith, the support of her family, the prayers and support of our community, and the incredible doctors and staff at the hospital that she is certain she will be back to work for our state soon. As her family asked last night, Katie asks for your continued prayers for the deceased and the deceased’s family, as well as prayers for a quick recovery for Katie and her friend.”


Indiana man was tragically killed when a tractor trailer struck the construction lift he was operating on I-77 in Columbia, South Carolina

Photo of Tractor Trailer Truck

On Wednesday morning June 20, 2018, a 40-year-old Indiana man was tragically killed when a tractor trailer struck the construction lift he was operating on I-77 South in Columbia.  The crash happened just after 5 a.m. on I-77 South near the Blythewood Road exit, according to the S.C. Highway Patrol.

The collision involved a tractor-trailer and a piece of construction lift equipment, according to Lance Cpl. David Jones of the Highway Patrol. The tractor-trailer was traveling south on I-77 when it hit the construction equipment, which was moving in the southbound lanes, Jones said.  It was reported that the driver of the construction equipment was trying to cross from the median to the shoulder of the road, Jones said. When he was hit by the truck, he was thrown from the bucket of his equipment and killed.

Officials have identified the worker killed in an accident on I-77 as Nathaniel B. Deaton, 40, of Martinsburg, Indiana. Deaton was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy indicated the cause of death to be blunt force injuries suffered in the collision, says Richland County coroner Gary Watts.

I-77 South in Columbia was closed for more than 6 hours following the accident as S.C. Highway Patrol investigators reconstructed the scene. WLTX News 19 in Columbia spoke with Trooper David Jones who wants to share a reminder with drivers on the road. He says, “Make sure you limit your distractions. Slow down in construction zones, make sure you put your cell phone down and pay attention to your surroundings because again a lot of times these are active work zones.”

Tragic collision on the interstates are preventable if drivers are exercising care and not distracted while driving.  It’s important to slow down in construction zones and be mindful of workers that are making our roadways safer.  If you are a loved one has been injured or tragically killed in a collision in South Carolina, please contact the Goings Law Firm at (803) 350-9230 today to learn about your rights.


Goings Law Firm, LLC featured in Fig Magazine

The Goings Law Firm, LLC has been featured in the Summer 2018 issue of Fig Magazine.

Fig is a local publication that explores “shopping, dining, arts, history and community in Columbia.” The current issue focuses on food and drink.
goings law firm staffTo view the entire issue of the magazine online for free, click here.


South Carolina Workers Comp – Frequently Asked Questions

Here is a list of the frequently asked questions about workers’ compensation laws that we receive from people who have been injured on the at work.

  • How do I report an on-the-job injury?

    Report all injures at work to your employer immediately and request medical treatment, if needed. If you neglect to report the injury within 90 days of the accident you may lose your benefits. However, it is very important that the injury be reported as quickly as possible so that the employer does not claim that the injury did not occur. Although you must report the injury within 90 days, you have up to two years to file a claim for benefits. If a worker dies because of work-related injuries, the workers’ dependents, or parents if there are no dependents, must file a claim within two years of the death to claim benefits.

  • How do I file a claim?

    You may personally file a claim if your employer does not report your accident, denies your injury by accident, or if you believe you did not receive all of your benefits. To file a claim you must submit a Form 50 or Form 52 to the Commission.  When filing a claim on a Form 50 or Form 52, mark the box 13a. which states, “I am filing a claim. I am not requesting a hearing at this time.”  However, if you believe that you are not receiving the benefits that you are entitled, you should contact an attorney immediately so that you can properly request a hearing

  • What medical treatment am I entitled to receive?

    You are entitled to all necessary medical treatment that is likely to lessen your disability. Workers’ compensation generally pays for surgery, hospitalization, medical supplies, prosthetic devices, and prescriptions. Keep in mind that in most circumstances in order to receive these benefits you must go to the doctor chosen by your employer or its insurance representative.

  • How is the compensation rate determined?

    You are entitled to compensation at the rate of 66 2/3 percent of your average weekly wage based on the four quarters prior to your injury, but no more than the maximum average weekly wage determined each year by the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce. If you are working two or more jobs at the time of accident, those wages may be included as part of the average weekly wage and compensation rate.

  • Will I get compensated for missing time from work because of my injury?

    The law requires a seven-day waiting period before benefits can be paid. If you are out of work for more than seven days, payments will come from your employer’s insurance representative. If you are out of work for more than 14 days, you will receive compensation even for the first seven days. You can expect payments to be made directly to you and these should continue until the doctor releases you to return to work.

  • When are my benefits terminated?

    After the doctor releases you to return to work with or without restrictions, within 150 days of notification of the accident, you should receive two copies of Form 15 with Section II completed indicating that compensation has been stopped and for what reasons. If the insurance carrier stops your compensation, and if you disagree, complete Section III of the Form 15 and send it to the Commission’s Judicial Department. This is your way to request a hearing to be held in sixty (60) days. If the doctor releases you to return to work after the 150-day notification period, your employer or insurance representative will ask you to sign a Form 17 (receipt of compensation) after you have been back to work for 15 days.

  • What if the doctor releases me to light duty? 

    You must accept light work if it is ordered. If you do not accept, all compensation may cease as long as you refuse to return to work. You have a right to a hearing if you believe that you are not able to do the work assigned to you. If you return to light work before you are fully discharged by the doctor at a wage less than you were earning at the time of your original injury, you are entitled to weekly compensation at the rate of  66 2/3% of the difference between your average weekly wage and your new wage.

  • What if I receive an impairment rating?  

    If you receive an impairment rating, then you may be entitled to additional benefits under workers compensation.  We strongly urge anyone who is injured to contact an attorney  if their injury involves a surgery or a impairment to a body part.  Without an attorney you may be required to have a hearing against the insurance company’s doctor.  It has been our practice that insurance company never want to pay what you are entitled to receive based on the level of impairment or disability from your work related injury.

  • Do I get reimbursed for my travel expenses when I go to the doctor?

    Yes, if the round trip distance is more than ten miles from your home. Effective August 23, 2004, Commission approved allowance for trips to a pharmacy if the round trip distance is more than ten miles from your home. You should be reimbursed for the round trip mileage at the rate allowed state employees for mileage.

  • Can I get a second opinion if I am not happy with the doctor to whom the insurance carrier refers me?  

    Under certain circumstances you can obtain a second opinion, but the insurance carrier will likely send you to another “insurance company doctor.”  If you need a second opinion, we strongly urge you to contact our firm so that we can obtain a fair and impartial  second opinion from a trusted physician.

  • Who sends me my weekly check?

    Your employer is required to have workers’ compensation insurance if they have four or more employees and the insurance carrier will be responsible to pay compensation to you if you are out of work for more than seven days.  If the insurance company has not started you checks, or if your checks are delayed or not timely coming to your address, you need to contact our office immediately to protect your rights.

If you or a loved one has a question about any worker’s compensation issue that you are facing, please do not hesitate to contact us today.   Often times a claim for workers compensation benefits can be tricky to navigate on your own, and the insurance companies can be notorious for my protecting the injured workers so that it can save money.  Don’t put your financial benefits in the hands of a workers’ compensation insurance adjuster without first talking to a seasoned worker’s compensation attorney.  We are here to help, so call the Goings Law Firm today at (803) 350-9230.


Amtrak blames freight train company CSX for deadly South Carolina crash

Amtrak blamed a freight rail operator, CSX Corporation, for causing a crash on Sunday that killed two people and injured more than 100 others when one of its passenger trains was diverted onto a side track and slammed into a parked, unmanned freight train in South Carolina.

In the U.S. passenger rail operator’s third fatal crash in as many months, Amtrak Train 91, carrying nine crew members and 136 passengers, was traveling from New York to Miami when it hit the CSX Corp freight train that was stopped on a side track, or siding, at about 2:35 a.m.

Amtrak President and Chief Executive Richard Anderson said CSX was responsible for the tracks and signals, including one that had a lock attached to it and diverted the Amtrak train onto the side track.

“CSX had lined and padlocked the switch off the mainline to the siding, causing the collision,” he said in a statement.

CSX did not address the comments by the Amtrak CEO but said it was working with federal investigators. Both Amtrak and CSX offered their condolences to the families of the two people who died.

Robert Sumwalt, chairman of the U.S. National Transportation Board, told a news conference the section of track was operated by CSX and there was a padlock on the switch that steered train traffic onto the siding.

“Key to this investigation is learning why the switch was lined that way,” he said, calling the damage to the locomotives “catastrophic.” An NTSB investigation team was at the site.

Amtrak engineer Michael Kempf, 54, of Savannah, Georgia, and conductor Michael Cella, 36, of Orange Park, Florida, were killed, Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher told reporters. Autopsies were being conducted, she said.

Two of the 116 people injured were in critical condition after the wreck, which occurred about 5 miles (8 km) southwest of the state capital, Columbia.

“It’s a horrible thing to see, to understand what force was involved,” South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster told reporters. “The first engine of the freight train was torn up, and the single engine of the passenger train is barely recognizable.”

Anderson said the passenger train hit the tail end of the CSX train. That train had two locomotives and 34 empty auto racks used to transport cars, the NTSB said.

The passenger train’s locomotive was left lying on its side, and the first car was bent and also derailed, although it remained upright, images from the scene showed.

At least four of the freight train’s cars were crumpled, looking like crushed tinfoil, but remained on the tracks.

The passenger train was part of Amtrak’s Silver Star Service. Officials said some 5,000 gallons of fuel leaked as a result of the collision but that there was no threat to public safety.

If you or a loved one was injured in the Amtrak / CSX train collision in Columbia, South Carolina, please contact the Goings Law Firm immediately to learn about your legal rights.  Trust a South Carolina law firm with the reputation and experience of recovering millions of dollars for its injuries clients.


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